Keeper coach Simon Tracey left United to take up a post closer to home with fellow League Two club Chesterfield today and he admitted that it was with a ‘heavy heart’ that he left Brunton Park following the Yeovil game on Saturday night.
Speaking to the official website this afternoon, he said: “I’ve had a fantastic two-and-a-half years up in Carlisle. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time and we’ve been through some amazing highs and lows, when you think about it.
“I have to say that I was made very welcome by everyone connected with the club, and by the people of Cumbria, from the moment I arrived. Before I go any further I’d like to thank the chairman for his support and for allowing me to be part of his fantastic football club.
“He’s always been great with me and my family, both at home and away games, and everyone I’ve introduced him to has had nothing but good things to say about him. He gave me his backing from the moment he heard I needed a bit of help. That’s just the type of man he is as far as I’m concerned.”
On the reasons behind the move, he explained: “I spoke to the manager a couple of weeks ago and I asked him if he could make something happen for me, because of a change in my family situation at home in Sheffield.
“I explained my situation and he couldn’t have been more sympathetic and understanding, which is a testament to him as a manager, a person and a friend.
“I’ve lived in the staff house for the time I’ve been at the club, because I think that’s the right way to do things, but I wasn’t going to be able to do that as much because of what I need to be doing at home.
“I need to be closer to my family at the moment, especially at this time and, like I say, he had no hesitation in giving me the help I needed. When I told him that an opportunity had come up for me at Chesterfield he pulled out all the stops, because he knew it was for the sake of my family.”
“There’s no hiding from the fact that this was done with a heavy heart from me,” he commented. “In terms of Carlisle United I know it’s the wrong timing for them, because we have two keepers who are still establishing themselves and we’re already well into the season, but absolutely everybody has shown unbelievable understanding of the reasons why I’ve had to move closer to home.
“I don’t mind saying it again, I can’t thank the chairman and Keith enough for the backing and support they’ve given me. It reinforces for me just how much this club looks after people when they need it most. I appreciate what they’ve done for me a lot and that’s why I was quite emotional when it came to saying goodbye to everybody on Saturday.”
His 30 months have brought the usual range of highs and lows associated with the beautiful game, but there’s no surprise that the trip Anfield in the Capital One Cup two seasons ago is one of the fonder memories he takes away.
“The way we played at Liverpool will always stand out for me,” he said. “We left there with heads held high and to see 6,000 Carlisle fans behind the goal was amazing stuff. We got our goal by playing football through the middle of the park and it’s one of those nights you’ll always remember.
“The near full house when we played Everton here at Brunton Park was another high point. We didn’t perform as well as we would have liked on the day, but it was good for us to have brought a club like that up here.
“I’d also say that being part of a coaching team which helped to pick the club up from a relegation battle, and take it into a play-off campaign, is something to feel proud about. We’ve progressed each season and even though we’ve had a slower start this time round, I know there’s momentum building at this football club. You can see and feel it.
“There’s enough quality in that dressing room to take the club into the play-off places again, I have no doubt about that. With one or two additions in January, which I know Keith is working on, I expect Carlisle to achieve that as a minimum.”
And on the players he’s worked with, he said: “I feel I helped Mark Gillespie to develop and he’s pushing on with his career now. I enjoyed working with him and it’s good to see him doing so well for himself now that he’s in a higher division.
“As for more recently, I think I’m leaving the club in a healthy state with the two we have in place because they’re competing for the starting shirt every week. Jack [Bonham] has it at the moment because he’s showing improvement with every game he plays. He’s a keeper who should go on to play at a higher level because he has the attributes and the ability.
“Shamal [George] is itching to play his part and he’s another young keeper who I think will push on to be whatever he wants to be. He’s keen and eager to be involved and he has all of the skillsets in place.
“I got a bit of time after the game on Saturday to speak to them both and I explained that I’d kept my departure quiet because I didn’t want anything to impact on their match day routine. I told them that it has genuinely been a pleasure to work with them and that they’re both a credit to their respective clubs.
“They’ve learned a lot this past few months and they’ve taken the loan spell in their stride. They’ve made sure that any mistakes they’ve made have been worked on and I know they’ll keep pushing each other to get better and better. The pleasing thing is that they’ve picked up very quickly on how the manager wants to play and that’s why they are both in his thoughts.”
Having now joined the Spireites, we wondered if he’d be casting an eye towards Cumbria come full time on a Saturday afternoon.
“I’ve been well looked after by the club and I won’t forget that,” he insisted. “I want Carlisle United to go on and get promoted. I think everybody from the chairman through to the football department and the fans deserve some success. When you talk to the chairman you realise he’s also a massive fan, and I think that sometimes gets forgotten.
“The momentum really is building, and the management group are geared up to take the club on even further. I’ll be extremely happy if that turns out to be the case.
“It’s definitely the first result I’ll be looking for because I’m hoping the club will get the success I’ve just been talking about.”