Tributes paid to former Carlisle United manager Clive Middlemass who's died aged 77

Clive Middlemass managed the Club between 1987-1991 but even after he left Brunton park he remained close with the Club and its players. Credit: Carlisle United

Tributes have been paid to former Carlisle United manager Clive Middlemass following his death at the age of 77.

Middlemass managed the club between 1987 to 1991 having previously been a scout, chief scout and assistant manager for a number of clubs, including Bristol Rovers, Bristol City, Burnley, Preston, Derby and Everton.

Carlisle United chairman Andrew Jenkins said: “This is such sad news. Clive was a friend, we kept in touch, and he would often ring me before games to wish us luck.

“That was as well as the annual phone call in the summer to talk about the season ahead and, again, for him to pass on his best wishes for the squad and the club."

Middlemass' stint with Brunton Park saw him take over from the struggling Harry Gregg, steadying the ship and even getting Carlisle United to the play-offs at the end of the 1989/90 campaign.

The team missed out on the final day after being defeated by Maidstone.

Middlemass parted with the Blues in March 1991 as his team struggled in Division Four.

Mr Jenkins continued: “When we dismissed him in 1991 he was completely understanding, and he commented at the time that it was a place that would always have a special place in his heart.

“He was so well respected, and the number of people who would phone to ask for his number, just so they could get some advice off him, was incredible."

John Halpin played at Carlisle United under Middlemass and is now the CIub's Community Sports Trust manager.

He said: "The best way to describe Clive is that he was a total gentleman.

“I really can’t speak highly enough of him. His knowledge of the game was second to none, he knew players from every level, and I know that David Moyes thought the world of him for the expertise he brought to the role he filled at Everton.

“After he left us he would phone me and other players regularly to make sure we were ok, and I think that’s a measure of the type of person he was."

Mr Halpin added: “He was well known around football because he was so highly regarded and respected, and it’s really sad to hear this news.”

Head of academy coaching Dave Wilkes said: "Clive was a lovely, lovely man. You always knew where you stood with him and his love of the game shone through.

"I know he'll be missed by everyone who knew him."

Prior to becoming a manager, Sheffield-born Middlemass was a player for Leeds before moving to fellow Cumbrian club Workington where he played over 170 matches.

Carlisle United says its thoughts are with Clive’s family and friends at this time.

Listen to ITV News' What You Need To Know podcast: