Former Carlisle United star Nicky Adams has claimed his contract situation was handled “terribly” at Brunton Park before his departure to Bury.

The winger has spoken about his exit from United in the summer after two seasons with the Blues.

Adams has criticised some of the circumstances of his final months with the club, which saw him fight back from a cruciate knee ligament injury before he eventually rejected a new deal in favour of returning to Gigg Lane.

The 32-year-old made the comments in an interview on the D3D4 football podcast on Sunday.

Adams, who made 69 appearances for the Cumbrians, said: “It was a difficult decision because I wasn’t leaving a club where it hadn’t worked out.

“I’d played some of my best football there, and we’d just missed out on getting promoted the season before.

“If I was going to leave, I wouldn’t have just left for [any] other club. I went somewhere I’ve got a strong affiliation with.

“The one disappointment for me was the way it was handled.

“I went in [to speak to the club in] January and said, ‘I’ve been injured, what do you plan on doing with me? I’ve got a family, I need to know where I’m at’.

"It got left and left and left, the manager [Keith Curle] was leaving, I went to see them three or four times, and said, ‘You must know what you want to do with me, you know I’ll be fit at the end of the season, and I’ll be back ready to train in pre-season - do you want to keep me or not?'

“In all honesty, it was handled terribly.

“Keith was leaving, he was up in arms, he was saying, ‘I think they’re gonna keep you but I honestly can’t tell you.’ I’m thinking, this is no good for me.

“It was hard, because the chairman [Andrew Jenkins] there is a lovely guy. When I got injured, him and Keith were two of the first people to phone me.

“I don’t want to go into too much detail because it’s a great club and I wish them success – there are some great people there. But it wasn’t handled right.

“In the end I stopped going in [to talk about the contract situation]. I went in a few games before the end of the season and said, ‘I’m not coming to ask you again, I’m not begging for a contract, I believe in my ability, I’ve worked hard, I’ll be back ready to go pre-season - if you don’t want me, there’s plenty of other clubs that do, the ball’s in your court’.

“You can’t do any more. It was after the last game [when we] sat down. Usually you have your meeting and if you’ve got a contract, you just have a quick chat about the season. If you don’t, you [find out] whether you’re getting kept or not.

“They said. ‘Yeah, we’re offering you a contract, we’ll send it you in the post.’ I was like, ‘What are the terms, what’s going on, what is it?' They couldn’t tell me.

“I’d spoken to the gaffer [Ryan Lowe] at Bury, who I have a great relationship with. I’m wanted by someone else, and if someone wants you, I don’t want to let them down. It’s nice to be wanted.

“I drove home and spoke to Ryan, who said he was getting announced [as manager] in the next couple of days…I told him in respect for Carlisle I would wait to see what the offer is and we can take it from there.

“I got the offer [from Carlisle] a week later. I’d been injured for six months but I know what I can do on a football pitch, and I’ve got a family to support.

“I said, ‘It’s not acceptable what you’ve offered me’. It was embarrassing. There was no negotiation on it.

“Another thing was, who’s the manager gonna be? I could sign, a new guy could come in and think, ‘You’re not for me’, and I’m back to square one.

“I spoke with my dad about it. When I signed for Northampton and Carlisle I gave the managers my word I’d sign and I did the same with Ryan.

“When I give someone my word I won’t go back on it.

“It was difficult, because I’d had a good time there, but I was going to a place I knew and where everything felt right, and the decision’s paid off well.”

Adams also said he turned down a move to a League One club before he injured his knee in a game against Yeovil last November.

“I was enjoying my football so much, and the level between League One and League Two is so similar, I didn’t want to leave somewhere I was enjoying my football just [for the sake of leaving]," he said.

Adams' latest comments come despite the winger having said, in an interview on the United website in the summer regarding his decision to leave, that he had had “a good chat” with chief executive Nigel Clibbens and felt he had been “made a really fair offer” by the Blues.

He also said in May that United had indicated they were “willing to tweak things more" in the offer.

Adams also told The Cumberland News at the time that United had offered him “a decent deal and they were very fair with me.”

In response to Adams’ latest interview, a United spokesman said today: “We have nothing new to add, from previous discussions about players who departed in the summer.

“We had some fantastic times with Nicky and we wish him all the very best in the future.”

Adams faced United when John Sheridan's side won 1-0 at Bury in September, and is due to return to Brunton Park on April 6.