Clarke Carlisle may have been born in Preston, but he only joined North End back in 2011.
The defender was a former Leyland schoolboy, but ended up starting his career with Blackpool; or, to Preston fans, the wrong end of the M55.
Carlisle impressed with Blackpool, turning out more than 100 times for them before heading on to QPR. Spells with QPR, Leeds United and Watford followed, before Carlisle returned to Lancashire.
Yet once again, it wasn’t with Preston. Carlisle joined Burnley in 2007, helping them win promotion in 2009. After a stint in the Premier League and one more Championship campaign with the Clarets, it finally happened; Carlisle joined North End.
Phil Brown struck a season-long loan deal for Carlisle, bringing him to Deepdale after relegation to League One. An experienced head and a fine leader, Carlisle was seen as a superb signing for a reeling North End side.
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It didn’t really go to plan though, with Carlisle making 27 appearances before being sent back to Burnley by Graham Westley. Now retired, Carlisle has reflected on his career with Undr The Cosh, and spoke about his long-standing hatred of North End.
Carlisle noted that when he left Leeds for Watford, he had to sign a clause meaning he couldn’t face the Whites. That season’s playoff final just happened to be Leeds against Watford, which the Hornets won 3-0, and Carlisle was forced to miss out.
Carlisle noted that the Preston v Leeds semi-final was the first time he had ever been rooting for Preston, because he wanted to play in the final rather than miss out against Leeds.
The former defender did add that he ‘absolutely hated’ North End for his whole life as they not only ignored him but also his father, and he even celebrated getting four man of the match awards for Blackpool against Preston, before joking about how he then joined North End and claimed it was a lifelong dream; a funny old game, isn’t it?
“Even though I’d made a permanent transfer, Kevin Blackwell put in the contract that I couldn’t play against Leeds that subsequent season,” said Carlisle. “He put it in there, and I wasn’t allowed to transfer until we agreed for that clause to be in, and that meant I couldn’t play in the playoff final. Brutal isn’t it?”
“Leeds against Preston; first time in my life I’m rooting for Preston – you know I’m from Preston, but I’m a donkey lasher aren’t I. I hated Preston all my life, absolutely hated North End. They didn’t take my old man on when he went for a trial there, and they totally ignored me from 11 to 16, didn’t even give me a look in, so I had to go to Blackpool didn’t I? I totally despised them ever since; being rejected by them really hurt me, so much so that I got four man of the matches at Blackpool, and they were all against Preston,” he added.
Episode One and Two of Clarke Carlisle on Undr The Cosh – featuring ex-Preston strikers Chris Brown and Jon Parkin – can be found on YouTube, and we would as always recommend watching all of their interviews.