10 Days In Europe – 50 Years On From European Magic For Carlisle United

The 50th Anniversary of when Carlisle United almost won European silverware.

On June, 1 1972 Carlisle United of the Second Division, now Championship, faced AS Roma in the Stadio Olimpico in what has so far been their only European campaign to date.

The now defunct Anglo-Italian Cup had six teams from England face six teams from Italy in three groups before the best from England faced the best of Italy.

This was decided by points plus goals scored at this time it was two points for a win and one for a draw.

Joining Carlisle in Europe were Birmingham City, Blackpool and Sunderland of the Second Division along with Leicester City and Stoke City of the First Division, now Premier League.

While AS Roma were joined by Atlanta, Cagliari, Sampdoria, Catanzaro and Lanerossi Vicenza all of Seria A.

Group A had Carlisle and Roma joined by Stoke City and Catanzaro, Group B featured Atlanta and Cagliari facing Leicester City and Sunderland and Group C had Birmingham City and Blackpool taking on Sampdoria and Lanerossi Vicenza.

Traveling to Italy for the opening two games of the competition Carlisle would face Roma first then Catanzaro three days later.

Carlisle United had been mainstays of the Second Division and under Ian MacFarlane finished tenth in 1971/72 season before leaving on June 1 1972 to be replaced by Alan Ashman, who was returning to the club for his second spell as manager but it was Dick Young who was in charge for this campaign.

On a magical night in Rome Carlisle United went on to beat AS Roma 2-3.

The first time an English team beat them and 29 years before Liverpool and 30 years before Arsenal.

In the match Roma took the lead through Renato Capellini before Chris Balderstone equalised from the penalty spot.

Capellini gave Roma the lead again and that’s how it stayed until the last twelve minutes when Dennis Martin equalised and then Graham Winstanley scored the winner.

Carlisle would leave Italy unbeaten with a 1-0 win against Catanzaro.

The returning fixtures at Brunton Park ended as a 3-3 draw with Roma and a 4-1 win over Catanzaro.

In the ranking of the English teams Carlisle finished second behind Blackpool who had won all four matches including a 10-0 thumping of Lanerossi Vicenza.

In the Italian rankings Roma and Atalanta finished with two wins and a draw with Roma advancing having score 1 goal more.

In the final Roma ran out 3-1 winners, Carlisle the only team to beat them.

The competition was brought about due to UFEA rules not allowing Third Division teams to enter the Fairs Cup after QPR and Swindon won the League Cup and the popularity of Swindon – AS Roma that was arranged, the Angelo-Italian Cup was launched with Gigi Peronace the driving force behind it.

The 1970 final had Swindon facing Napoli with the English side winning 3-0 after an hour the Italian home fans had enough and the match was abandoned due to the rioting and Swindon awarded the inaugural trophy.

Blackpool would win the second in 1971 before losing the third to Roma, the fourth and final one would be won by Newcastle United in 1973.

The tournament in this form would only be held for four years with the competition racked by violent scuffles between fans, the Anglo-Italian idea would carry on in many forms as a semi-professional or professional team competition.

The Anglo-Italian tournament would then go through various formats until in 1996 when Genoa and Port Vale played the last game with the Italian side winning 5-2.

The Carlisle United team that made history in the Stadio Olimpico on June 1 1972.

Frank Barton
Chris Balderstone
Stanley Bowles
Joseph Davis
John Gorman
Dennis Martin
Robert Owen
Alan Ross
Stanley Ternent
Raymond Train
Graham Winstanley