You Don't Know Me, But ...: A Footballer's Life
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In the summer of 2012, Clarke Carlisle, after 15 years as a professional footballer, was without a contract and wondering if he still had a future in the game. With a growing media profile, thanks to his appearances on Question Timeand an acclaimed documentary on racism in football, there were plenty of other opportunities, but he was determined to give it another go. Initially signing for York City before moving to Northampton Town, Carlisle was soon back in the thick of the action, with a date at Wembley awaiting him at the end of the season. As the events of the year unfolded, Carlisle looked back at his career, from his early days playing for England Under-21s, through career-threatening injuries and a battle with alcohol problems, to a late arrival in the Premier League with Burnley. As chairman of the PFA, Carlisle is a much-respected figure in the game; his raw honesty and penetrating insights will make readers view the game, and those who play it, in a whole new light.
difficult to tell a manager that you have decided to leave and, to add insult to injury, for another club in the same division. I felt like I was confessing to an adulterous affair. He asked if Aidy would be willing to do something straight away because, if I had definitely decided to leave, he ‘has big decisions to make’. I knew already that Aidy wanted to get me down there as soon as possible, so I was honest. ‘Right, then, you know I won’t question your commitment and I respect you, but . .
had some kind of injury to his leg. He limped up the corridor and tried to hush the group. At this point in the evening, there was no reason in the minds of the lads and the guard was sent packing down to reception amid drunken comments and slurred attempts at banter. When he returned ten minutes later he was far more assertive. ‘You have to calm down and go to your rooms or I will call the police,’ he said. ‘You had better go back downstairs before we set the dog on you,’ replied one of the
am running,’ I replied. ‘You need to do as I say. You fucking owe me. I saved your career!’ ‘You what? You didn’t save anything.’ ‘I saved you bringing you here, if you don’t like it then fuck off.’ So I did. I walked straight back to the dressing rooms. He shouted something to me from across the pitch but I didn’t turn around, I just threw him the bird, high over my head, and carried on walking. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not a man for confrontation, and do anything to avoid
three days. How the hell has it come to this? It’s funny, we walked into the Trafford Centre last week for the first time in months (oh, how we miss that place) and I said to Gem: ‘Do you remember when we used to be here every week, shopping with reckless abandon? How times change, and how I wish I wasn’t a feckless waster of money!’ It is generally the same at most clubs that I’ve been at: Wednesdays and Sundays are your days off, giving you a chance to relax with the family, enjoy your other
reassessed and get myself goggled up. I went to an optician in Northampton and they told me that I need to wear glasses for ‘any periods of concentration’. Surely that means all the time, then? I thought they were just trying to siphon a bit more money out of my pocket, until I put the glasses on. Wow, it was like life, but in HD! I could not believe the difference that glasses made to my general eyesight. I had been noticing in recent months that my facial recognition at around half a pitch was