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Friday, September 07, 2007

Lancashire Telegraph - Carlisle makes Clarets vow By Suzanne Geldard
PACY defender Clarke Carlisle has dedicated himself to Burnley's promotion push, and revealed the dark days of his alcohol addiction are well and truly behind him.
The 27-year-old almost compromised his career as a result of his battle with drink while at Queens Park Rangers in 2003.
He missed a portion of the 2003-04 season as he underwent treatment for alcohol-related problems at the Sporting Chance clinic set up by former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams, himself a reformed alcoholic.
But Carlisle has since rebuilt his reputation as a solid stopper, and on the back of winning promotion with Watford and spending a season in the Premiership, he is hoping to cement himself as the Clarets' first-choice centre half and help the club achieve their own top flight ambitions.
He faces competition from captain Steven Caldwell, Michael Duff and David Unsworth, with specialist fullback Stephen Jordan also capable of playing a central role.
However, the former Watford defender believes he is well prepared to play his part after revealing the torment of his alcohol addiction, and the recovery from it, has made him a stronger character and footballer.
"My wake-up call was when the gaffer (Ian Holloway) wouldn't let me travel on the team bus because I was so drunk, and then he made me train with the youth team the next day and I didn't even turn up for that," he explained.
"And then on the Saturday afternoon I was in a pub watching the results hoping that the lads won and thought 'what's that all about?' "I was sat there with 50 other guys who would chop their right arm off to have the job that I was doing, and yet I was doing everything within my power to lose my job; to not play football. It's bizarre when I've loved it all my life.
"I'd neglected my family for no good reason. So there it was, and that weekend was a very big weekend for me."
Discovering a self-confidence and self-belief has also been crucial in the former England Under 21 international turning his life, and his career, around.
"One of the most important days for me of my life was the day when I was prepared to not play football any more. I was prepared to give it up if it would have been better for me and my family to live a happier life, a more content life, because the strain of playing football was that great," explained Carlisle.
"That was such a ground-breaking day for me. It kind of released me from the stress and strain of that, the worry of constantly wondering what people thought of me and freed me to just go and play and be a footballer instead of just worrying about being a footballer.
"I don't know if that makes any sense, but it was a big turning point in how I live my life."
Carlisle is clear about the goals he wants to achieve at Burnley following his cut-price £200,000 move from Vicarage Road, and they include cementing a place in Steve Cotterill's starting line-up, and helping to lead the club to promotion.
He added: "I believe that I'm definitely a first-choice centre half and that's what I'm here to prove.
"The gaffer's made his case clear to not just myself but the whole squad that (promotion) is his goal. That's where his bus is going and if you're on it, you're on it, and if you're not then go away."Lancashire Telegraph

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