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Club History

It was in 1970 that Northbank FC – now one of Carlisle’s biggest and most successful amateur football clubs – was formed at a meeting in a city pub.

Back then, Everton were the Football League champions while Chelsea won the FA Cup. But they were knocked out of the League Cup by Carlisle United as the Cumbrians, who finished half-way up the Second Division, went on to reach the semi-finals before being beaten West Bromwich Albion.
But Arsenal is the team that has always been linked with Northbank due to their traditional kits being the same – red shirts with white sleeves. The home end at The Gunners’ Highbury stadium is also called the North Bank and both clubs have a cannon on their crest.The formation of Northbank in Carlisle came about following a succession of pre-season friendly matches which culminated in a desire to play in a league.

A name had to be chosen and a committee formed, which was done in the Malt Shovel Inn following an evening friendly match.

Ged Crooks, who went on to become a well-known nightclub entrepreneur in Carlisle, was voted in as chairman, with Joss Jackson as team captain and vice-chairman. George Routledge became vice-captain and Bill Martin was given the task of finding a league for the team to play in after being voted in as secretary/treasurer and team manager.
Three names were suggested and Northbank came out on top, so an Arsenal strip was purchased from Chivers Sports and the numbers sewn on by a young lady named Irene Dunk.
Northbank were then accepted into The Border City and District League and matches were played on Sunday afternoons.

The first match was against Norgas on the Sheepmount and it ended with a 3-2 victory, goals coming from Alan Paisley and Kenny Robinson [twice]. Norgas were also the opponents in the League Cup semi-final played on Dalston’s recreation field where Northbank won 2-1with goals from John Walker and Ian Graham.
Walker, who is now a funeral director, scored 42 goals that season including one in the cup final when Northbank were beaten 4-1 by Pheasant.

Two seasons later, Northbank reached the final again but they were again beaten finalists, this time losing 3-0 to Boscombe Exiles.
Northbank joined the Carlisle and District League in 1975 and gained promotion from the second to the first division in 1977 when they were runners-up to Wigton Reserves.
The following season the team played at Brunton Park in the Charity Shield final but lost 2-0 to Gretna.
The team continued to play in the district league and in 1987 appointed Kenny Brown to take charge of the team. He signed Mally Dickinson, who as a youngster had been on Sheffield United’s books, and the team were narrowly beaten by Carlisle United Reserves in extra-time in a County Cup tie.
John Holliday headed United’s winning goal after Ian Taylor had saved a Northbank penalty kick.
Dickinson became manager and in 1991-92 they won the League Cup, beating Whitehaven Miners 3-0, and were runners-up in the Stan Pape Trophy when they lost to Abbeytown on penalties.
Youth teams were introduced with Ian Hodgson in charge and in 1996-97 his Under 12s were unbeaten, winning the County Cup, both the Carlisle and Penrith League and League Cup and Penrith’s Joe Fisher Cup. Playing for the team that season was Lewis Guy, who is presently at Doncaster Rovers having represented England at Youth level and been an apprentice at Newcastle United.
Bob Lancaster joined Northbank from Pirelli in 1992 and was an influential member as secretary, sponser and joint first team manager.
In 1992, an Under-18 Youth League was started up and Northbank were one of the six founder members. Lancaster, formerly with Pirelli Under-16s, took charge and in his first three seasons they won the County Cup, League Cup and Nichol Signs Cup twice.
They were also league champions in three consecutive seasons while he also took charge of the under-21s, who won the County Shield on three consecutive occasions. Carlisle United physio Neil Dalton played in the County Shield, scoring in all three finals.
Northbank joined the Alliance League in 1995 and in their second season won the Second Division. They gained promotion to the Premier League in 1997-98 when runners-up to Shankhouse in the league and cup.
In the County Cup, Northbank beat UniBond League Gretna 2-1 in the third round and reached the final the following season only to lose 2-0 to Penrith.
But their greatest triumph arrived two years later when they beat Carlisle United 4-0 at Brunton Park to win the trophy. It was a personal triumph for striker Richard Ridley, who netted a hat-trick against the defensive partnership of Billy Barr and Lee Andrews.
Northbank represented Cumberland in the Northern Counties Cup in four consecutive seasons, winning it twice and finishing runners- up once.
Ian Monkhouse has scored more goals than any other Northbank senior player, with 227 in 273 games, whilst brothers Chris and Ian Grainger have been great servants to the club. Chris, Derek Townsley and Graeme Wilson were all YTS players with Carlisle United, whose former players Tony Hopper and Steve Finney have also played for Northbank.
Ally Lang has played for Northbank since the age of 16 and he made national headlines in 1998-99 when he scored with a header from his own half at Spittall.
Northbank has been blessed with willing and talented helpers, with Phil Robinson, Kenny Dixon and David Scott all involved with team management. Phil also played for the club and is presently kit man and physio. They and their wives have worked tirelessly in the constant fundraising effort.
The senior section of the club were competing in the local Carlisle & District league. Northbank had ambitions to play at a higher level so we applied to join the Northern Alliance league which is based in Newcastle and is part of the pyramid sysytem in football. We were accepted into the league and our progress throught the divisions, to reach the Premier division, was rapid. We have been well established in this division for the last seven seasons with our highest league position being 3rd.

The junior section of the club continued to grow and success followed. We look forward to many of the players progressing throught he age groups to senior level. Three senior players who achieved this feat, of playing every age-group for Northbank up to Northern Alliance, are Ian Grainger, Gareth Hodgson & Aaron Roberts.

Undoubtedly, the early years of the new millennium for Northbank Football Club at senior level have been fantastic. The Northern Counties championship was won for two successive seasons in 2001/2 and 2002/3. The high point of the club's history to date probably occurred on 5th May 2003 when Northbank won the Cumberland Senior Cup for the first time by defeating Carlisle United 4-0 at Brunton Park.