South Asian Heritage Month: The Bangladeshi curry house fuelling Carlisle United players

Footballing methods are increasingly influenced by science. Gone are the days of the infamous 'Tuesday Club' drinking sessions of Arsenal in the 1990s.

The modern footballer must think carefully about everything that goes into their body, from the minute they step off the pitch.

Enter The Viceroy restaurant in Carlisle. Shortly after the curry house was established by Sukur Ali in 1991, they began supporting the local football team, Carlisle United.

Sukur Ali (second left) and his family, including Alamgir (far right) Credit: Alamgir Ali

With Mr Ali's son Alamgir in charge, the relationship has developed into an agreement whereby The Viceroy provides takeaway meals for Blues' players to consume following their matches at Brunton Park.

After The Viceroy was flooded in 2005, Paul Simpson, in his first stint in charge of the club, reopened the restaurant. It's a visit the Carlisle boss remembers fondly.

He said: "I don't know whether he's still got the plaque on the wall when I opened the Viceroy after the flood. But I went down and opened it and had a lovely meal there that night."

The players love his support because at the end of games their recovery food after a game is one of his curries in a little takeaway pot so his support is absolutely brilliant.

The plaque marking the re-opening of the restaurant following the 2005 floods Credit: ITV Border

The plaque does indeed still take pride of place at the restaurant. Carlisle United also celebrate their link with the Viceroy every week by posting a photo online of their Man of the Match with their takeaway curry in hand.

The tradition gained much wider attention on social media in February 2021 after a disappointing home defeat for the Blues against Forest Green Rovers.

Alamgir explains: "All the players were down and they grabbed one of the players, Joe Riley. He was distraught because they'd just lost a big game. And because of the look on his face, that picture just went viral everywhere."

The Ali's approach to serving curry seems to be similarly infectious, whether you're a footballer or a first time diner.