Defender Michael Raynes left Brunton Park to sign for Crewe Alexandra on Friday afternoon with nothing but good words to say about his two year spell in Cumbria.
Speaking shortly after putting pen-to-paper on his new deal with The Alex, he said: “The two years with Carlisle have absolutely flown by. It’s actually amazing when I think of everything I’ve been through and that’s why it feels like I’ve been there a lot longer.
“Just off the top of my head we had the Liverpool game, the floods, the run to the play-offs and some fantastic games along the way, and there have been a lot more good days than bad. It’s the sign of a good club and a good place when you come away from it saying that.”
“Overall the best bit about my time there is that it’s just the fact that I’ve been part of a team that’s tried to play good football. The gaffer and his staff brought that in from day one and they showed a lot of faith in me to be part of it.
“If I’m being honest, it made me change my game and the way I play and I do feel that I’ve left Carlisle as a better player than when I walked through the door. I have to give a big thank you to Keith and the coaching staff for that, as well as to all of the boys I’ve played with.
“Thinking and talking about it all now, it’s been emotional. I remember one of the first things the manager said to me was that he was going to change the way I played and I thought – right, let’s give this a good go. The way he had us going about it was that it was about expressing yourself, and we had a very expansive approach.
“There was a real focus on attacking football and that meant the back four had to be involved in getting the team pushing forward. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I learned a lot.”
On his ‘no holds barred’ approach to his performances, he said: “I don’t think too many will argue that with the type of character I am I’ve put the shirt on every week and I’ve given it everything.
“If the supporters feel that was good enough then that makes me happy. I genuinely want to thank everybody for making me feel so welcome. We had some great times while I was there and it was a huge shame that we fell short at the end of the season.
“These things happen and you sometimes don’t always get the end result you feel you deserve in this game. The club is moving on now and I think it’s on the right path. The gaffer won’t waste time in making his changes because he’ll want to go one better, particularly with the position we were in through the first half of the season.
“It’s going in the right direction and there’s a positive feel about the place, so I wish everybody every success for the future.”
Having enjoyed his time in Carlisle so much, we wondered what the thinking was behind his now confirmed move to join David Artell and the Railwaymen.
“There are quite a few factors behind it,” he said. “I came down to speak to Crewe and it’s another manager who has said the right things. Mostly I’ve had to think about what I want from my career and from my personal life, and that’s played a massive part in why I’ve made the decision.
“I’ve been with my partner for ten years come October and I’ve been living away from home for five of those years. We’ve got a young family now and living away does become a consideration.
“I didn’t feel that it was fair on my partner to be away again, so when the opportunity to talk to Crewe came up I knew I had to at least go along and listen to what they had to say. Once I did that it was a case of counting my blessings that a great club like that, so close to home, was interested in taking me. That’s why I want to take the bull by the horns and make a real success of it.”
“The length of the deal was different to the one offered by Carlisle as well, and that had to be taken into consideration,” he added. “Obviously the move means I’ll be playing against United next season and it’ll be nice to see the people again who I’ve become friends with, on and off the field.
“Some of the lads I met there have influenced my life massively and there are people like Jason Kennedy, Luke Joyce, Charlie Wyke and Joe Thompson who I now class as friends for life. The lads who came into the club this year have been added to that. They’re people you never forget and will always keep in touch with.
“The bond right through the group was up there with the strongest I’ve ever experienced and I go away with some really strong life memories. Having said all of that, sometimes you’ve got to know in this game when it’s the right time to move on. With everything that’s fallen into place for me this is definitely that time for me.
“I can only leave by thanking the gaffer for everything he did for me – I genuinely think that man will get the club where it needs to be – and the fans for the memories they’ve helped me to build. I leave with a huge smile on my face and nothing but good to say about the place.”