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Address: Warwick Road,
Capacity: 17,949 (Around 10,000 Seated)
What a life this football ground has had. Fires, floods, sell-out crowds and reduced capacities. This is the largest ground in England not to be an all-seater venue, and it’s a Cumbrian landmark that any devoted football fan needs to come and check out.
Built in 1909, it has been the home of Carlisle United Football Club ever since.
The Cumbrians, who were known as Shaddongate United until 1904, had originally played at Millholme Bank in west Carlisle. That ground was deemed too small for purposes and the Rugby Ground adjacent to Brunton Park was sometimes used instead.
The club moved to Devonshire Park in 1905 but were evicted four years later, moving eastwards across the city to their current home.
Location and Getting There
Brunton Park is situated on Warwick Road, around one mile east of Carlisle City Centre. The River Petteril sweeps around the ground’s northern and eastern sides, and you can find the larger River Eden further to the north. Carlisle Rugby Park is right next to the West Stand, and heading due west eventually brings you to Carlisle Castle.
Brunton Park's location on low ground has left it very susceptible to flooding, with two famous cases coming in 2005 and 2015.
The first occurred in January 2005 when three rivers burst their banks and badly affected both the ground and Warwick Road. Carlisle United were forced to play their home games at Christie Park, Morecambe’s old home, for the next six weeks.
In 2015, Storm Desmond severely flooded the stadium again, and Carlisle rotated their home fixtures between Preston North End’s Deepdale, Blackburn Rovers’ Ewood Park and Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road.
None of these stadiums can be considered close to Carlisle and it was a major inconvenience for both the Cumbrian club’s players and loyal supporters.
Parking for free around Brunton Park can be a bit of a challenge as Warwick Road nearby is one of the major roads in the city.
My advice would be to head south and look for available space in the nearby residential estates, but be sure to check for any restriction signs that could be in place.
Coming by rail is a much more suitable option.
Carlisle Station is close to the City Centre and it’s a simple 20-minute-or-so walk along Warwick Road to the ground, where like the majority of fans you'll arrive outside the South Stand.
Outside the Ground
The South Stand is better known as the Armstrong Watson Warwick Road End through sponsorship.
Its exterior has a brickwork base with grey corrugated iron in its upper parts, but you cannot walk right along the back of it as there are a row of houses in the way. Fans instead have to turn back onto Warwick Road and walk a short way down, turning briefly onto Thirlwell Gardens which will then allow them to go along the east side of the football ground.
Turnstiles into the Armstrong Watson Warwick Road End can be found in the southeast and southwest corners.
You can find the Carlisle United Blues Store and Main Ticket Office in a building along Warwick Road, and outside of this is a statue of Hugh Mcllmoyle.
Born in Port Glasgow on 29th January 1940, Mcllmoyle played as a centre forward for clubs in Scotland and England. He had three spells in total at Carlisle United between 1962 and 1975, making 174 league appearances and scoring 76 league goals. He would score more than 250 goals across his whole career.
Continuing round in a clockwise direction brings you to the Main Stand.
Its exterior is equally split between brickwork at the base and blue corrugated iron at the top, and there are a number of blue brickwork buildings protruding out of it that hold areas including the Main Reception, Murphy's Bar, The Glass Bar, the Matchday Ticket Office, Sponsor's Lounge and Foxy's Restaurant.
A triangular shaped entrance near to the ground’s northwest corner leads into Foxy’s Restaurant.
There is a row of parking spaces out beyond the Main Stand’s exterior, and through the trees you can see the very close by Carlisle Rugby Club Ground.
The North Stand is known as the Petteril End after the river which runs out beyond it, but is also known as the Waterworks End.
It is clearly the smallest of the four stands at Brunton Park and the back wall is made up almost entirely of blue corrugated iron with the turnstiles based at either end.
A large building next to a section of the turnstiles holds the Neil Sports Centre, and fans have to walk around this to get over to the east side of the stadium.
At the top of the bank out beyond the Petteril End is a full-sized grass pitch that is often used for training sessions and reserve matches. You can often find people having a kick around on here, regardless of whether there is a game taking place at Brunton Park or not.
The East Stand, known as the Pioneer Stand, is easily the best-looking part of Brunton Park.
It has a very nice exterior design, with brown brickwork at the base and bright blue corrugated iron up towards the top.
You can find the East and South Stands Ticket Office on this side of Brunton Park, as well as the Main Office Entrance and the Entrance to the Family Zone. The away turnstiles are up in the northeast corner by the Neil Sports Centre building, and the home turnstiles are down by the southeast corner, just off Thirlwell Gardens. The Away Ticket Office is just around the corner from the away turnstiles.
There’s a steep bank out beyond the East Stand, with a couple of staircases and a tunnel allowing people to get up it.
Inside the Ground
The Armstrong Watson Warwick Road End is perhaps the most recognisable part of Brunton Park.
It is made up of a single tier of standing terrace but is best known for its roof which is divided into three triangular parts, the central one being the largest. There are several rows of metal bars inside the terracing area which fans can lean on, and large pillars come down at the point where one triangular roof section connects to another.
Your view from inside here is generally good if you can avoid these pillared sections, and with windshields at either end, fans are very well protected from the elements when inside.
The Main Stand is divided into two tiers; a lower paddock made up entirely of standing terrace that is almost completely uncovered, and a higher up seating area that is split into five stands.
The outer stands in this upper tier are coloured blue whilst the central stands are coloured black. From north to south they are named:
-EWM Stand (Edinburgh Woollen Mill)
-Pirelli Stand D
-The Cumberland Community Stand A
In addition, the roof of the central stands is a different shape to the outer stands as it is an older part of the ground.
The two outer stands have very clear views from them, whilst there is a large pillar at either end of the central three stands, and this can restrict your view slightly.
The uncovered Paddock is not somewhere I recommend going during the winter months, best to pick the Warwick Road End behind the goal instead!
Brunton Park's Control Box is situated in the northwest corner, and there is an electronic scoreboard attached to it. What I am not a fan of are the abundance of wires hanging across both the Control Box and the northern wall of the Main Stand. They seem a serious safety hazard and an accident waiting to happen.
The Petteril End is made up of a single tier of standing terrace.
With just small windshields in place and no roof overhead, it is the worst part of Brunton Park that you can be in, regardless of what time of year you visit.
This area tends to be closed on a matchday and is only in use when very large crowds are expected at the stadium.
The Pioneer Stand wouldn’t look out of place in any modern football ground.
It consists of a single tier of blue seating with the letters CUFC spelt out in white across the blocks. A sliver of black seating is additionally used to give each letter a 3D effect. There is a row of executive boxes right up on the back wall, and the stand’s executive seating blocks are based in the very centre.
With no supporting pillars coming down from the roof, your view of the pitch from any seat is perfectly clear.
Windshields are also in place at either end of the Pioneer Stand, though these do only go half-way down, with small walls in place to protect the front row seats.
Brunton Park's East Stand is very nice, but there's one small flaw with it. The stand isn't properly in line with the pitch, instead being located off-centre with the northernmost blocks out beyond the northeast corner flag. The reason for this is believed to because the whole of Brunton Park was supposed to be rebuilt and repositioned in line with the new East Stand, but financial problems meant that this hasn't happened as of yet. It can be quite odd to look at if you're based on the other side of the football ground, but that doesn't prevent fans in there from getting a clear view of the pitch.
The location of away fans depends on the size of the travelling crowds.
Traditionally, they are kept in the Pioneer Stand in blocks next to the northeast corner. Carlisle uses a combination of stewards and large sheets to segregate this away section from any home fans present in the rest of the Pioneer Stand. The Pioneer Stand is very nice and modern, but rather unusually is located off-centre and this means that a number of the away seating blocks are actually behind the northeast corner flag rather than directly in line with the pitch. Views are still very good from here though.
Only on occasions where very large away crowds are expected would you find the Petteril End opened as well, and this is given to those away fans.
You’ll have no roof over your head and just a metal bar to lean on, so if you are travelling as part of a big away following I strongly recommend wrapping up warm!
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include:
-301 Miles From London (Platform 4, Citadel Station, CA1 1QZ) (Home and Away Supporters) (Located within Carlisle Station)
-The Beehive (228 Warwick Road, CA1 1LH) (Away Supporters Normally Welcome for Lower Profile Games) (Located very close to Brunton Park itself)
-Carlisle Rugby Club (Rugby Ground, Warwick Road, CA1 1LW) (Away Supporters Welcome) (Located west of Brunton Park itself)
-The Howard Arms Carlisle (107 Lowther Street, CA3 8ED) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)
-The Lakeland Gate Brewers Fayre (Walkmill Crescent, CA1 2WF) (Home and Away Supporters)
-The Magpie (28 Victoria Road, CA1 2UE) (Home and Away Supporters)
-The William Rufus (10-16 Botchergate, CA1 1QS) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located very close to Carlisle Station)
For a lot of football fans, the trip to Carlisle is one of the longest of the season, but it is worth coming to check Brunton Park out.
Its East Stand is top quality and its well-known Warwick Road End is perfectly adequate for housing thousands of home supporters. The Main Stand has seen redevelopment that makes its seating area perfectly suitable for watching football as well.
Brunton Park is certainly worth making that long trek up north for.
It’s a unique and worthy part of the 92, with a brilliant, loyal fanbase to boot.
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