It’s always the fear – spoken or unspoken – when the released list is published. Will any of these players come back to haunt Carlisle United?

Will, for instance, Jordan Gibson return to hurt the Blues now he’s moved on to Doncaster Rovers? Will others let go by Paul Simpson do the same? Or will they drift away, never to darken United’s doors, or level, again?

How often do players really come back to bite Carlisle after being declined a new deal? Here’s a look at the last 13 years of end-of-season released lists to see how often – or rarely – it happens.


Lewis Bell, Jamie Devitt, Brennan Dickenson, Josh Dixon, Sam Fishburn, Michael Kelly, Joel Senior, Tobi Sho-Silva, Scott Simons.

No particular cases of a player ramming a decision down United’s throat here. Of the nine let go last summer, Senior and Kelly did the best, moving on to League Two clubs (Morecambe and MK Dons) and playing regularly. Dickenson and Sho-Silva went to the National League (with Oldham and Maidenhead respectively) and while Fishburn move to League One, he spent last term in Fleetwood’s development side before a loan switch to the National League. There was a non-league move for Simons (Carlisle City), a switch to Scottish League One for Dixon (Annan Athletic), a transfer to the Lowland League (Gretna 2008) for Bell and an eventual move into player-coaching for Devitt in the Northern Premier League Premier Division (Workington Reds). In no case, to date, can United be accused of dropping a clanger.

News and Star: Brennan DickensonBrennan Dickenson


Lewis Alessandra, Danny Devine, Mark Howard, Jamie Devitt, Manasse Mampala, Rod McDonald, Kelvin Mellor and Gime Toure.

One or two made sideways moves, league-wise, while others drifted down the pyramid. In keeper Howard’s case, he joined Wrexham in the National League but, two years on, is now a division above Carlisle (although he is not first-choice these days with the Red Dragons). McDonald has had two League Two clubs since United (Crewe, Harrogate) and will face them next season, while so has Mellor, who is a free agent again this summer. Alessandra, Devine and Mampala took their careers into non-league after United, while Toure has veered from the National League to the Scottish Championship to Cyprus. Devitt, technically released that summer, returned for pre-season and earned another United deal.

News and Star: Mark HowardMark Howard (Image: Ben Holmes)


Jamie Armstrong, Charlie Barnes, Charlie Birch, Dean Furman, Liam Lightfoot, Cedwyn Scott, Tom Wilson.

This year’s retained list was largely comprised of young players who came through the academy but were not retained after a first year in the professional ranks. Armstrong, Barnes, Birch and Lightfoot all played in non-league after leaving United, Wilson moved abroad and in the case of Furman and Scott, it was a case of dropping down the pyramid. Scott, after a spell at Gateshead, has moved back up the leagues with Notts County, who’ll face United next season. Furman is in the NPL Premier with Warrington Rylands, having joined Altrincham after leaving the Blues.

News and Star: Cedwyn ScottCedwyn Scott (Image: News & Star)


Adam Collin, Kelvin Etuhu, Louis Gray, Jack Iredale, Mike Jones, Keighran Kerr, Nathaniel Knight-Percival, Harry McKirdy, Mo Sagaf, Stefan Scougall.

A couple of notable names on this list. McKirdy certainly did return to hurt Carlisle with Swindon in 2022, although given that triggered events leading to Paul Simpson’s return, many fans are grateful to the little scamp, who’s now with Hibernian. Iredale moved on to Cambridge before earning a move to Bolton, where he now plays in League One. Jones went to Barrow before helping Chesterfield return to the EFL, with a League Two reunion with Carlisle due next season. Etuhu retired, while others – Collin, Gray, Kerr, Knight-Percival, Sagaf – took their careers into non-league. All still reside there other than Collin, who’s now a coach with League One new boys Mansfield Town. Scougall is in Scottish League One with Alloa.

News and Star: Harry McKirdyHarry McKirdy (Image: Stuart Walker)


Richie Bennett, Anthony Gerrard, George Glendon, Arthur Gnahoua, Peter Grant, Jason Kennedy, Gary Liddle and Gary Miller.

No case can be made for many of 2019’s released group coming back to haunt the Blues. Striker Bennett has veered from League Two to non-league, while Gnahoua has retained an EFL career, most recently with Grimsby. Glendon is in National League North with Chester, veteran Liddle is in NPL Premier as player/assistant manager with Whitby and fellow old stager Kennedy is with Marske, via Hartlepool and Spennymoor. Defender Grant returned to Scotland after Carlisle, with Morton, Queens Park and Clyde, while Miller spent his next three years at Falkirk before playing at lower levels at East Kilbride and St Cadoc’s.

News and Star: Richie BennettRichie Bennett (Image: Barbara Abbott)


Morgan Bacon, Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Reggie Lambe, Shaun Miller, Tom Miller, Samir Nabi, John O’Sullivan and Cameron Salkeld.

A mixed bunch here. O’Sullivan scored against United in a future incarnation as a Morecambe player, before a spell at Accrington and then a move back to Ireland, where he currently plays for Shelbourne. Lambe also netted against Carlisle for Cambridge before journeying to non-league, lately firing Braintree into the National League. Miller (S) also punished United whilst with Crewe, ahead of spells at Morecambe and Bolton before winding his career down in non-league. Miller (T) enjoyed promotion but also endured the collapse of Bury as he drifted down to Fylde, Radcliffe and Stalybridge. Nabi has had a string of non-league clubs since his release, most recently Sutton Coldfield, while Salkeld is a key man for National League North club Darlington. Campbell-Ryce had stints with Stevenage and Colchester before going into coaching, where he has worked at Peterborough, in the USA and with the England youth set-up, while keeper Bacon headed into non-league.

News and Star: Samir NabiSamir Nabi (Image: Barbara Abbott)


Patrick Brough, Max Crocombe and Ben Tomlinson.

A couple of cases here where players have patiently worked their way back – and now operate above the Blues. Cumbrian defender Brough is now in League One with Northampton Town, having rebuilt his career at clubs such as Morecambe, Falkirk and Barrow. In keeper Crocombe’s case, a campaign as second-choice at Carlisle has been followed by some solid spells both here and in Australia, and after time at Salford City, Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory, he returned to help Grimsby back into the Football League, while he’s now first-choice at third-tier Burton. Tomlinson, meanwhile, moved to non-league with Halifax, Alfreton, Frickley and Worksop.

News and Star: Max CrocombeMax Crocombe (Image: Stuart Walker)


Derek Asamoah, Troy Archibald-Henville, Angelo Balanta, Arron Bradbury, Dan Hanford, Bastien Hery, Louis Pedro, Steven Rigg, Antony Sweeney and Joe Thompson.

A real mixed bag here – but none who’ve particularly come back to hurt United. Asamoah is still going strong in non-league at 43, while Archibald-Henville returned to Exeter before going into coaching. Balanta has been a National League player since leaving Brunton Park, while former youth team star Bradbury did not make it back to the pro game. Hanford played in non-league before a spell back at Carlisle as goalkeeping coach, with French midfielder Hery on the latest of a string of Irish clubs at Longford Town. Step-over merchant Pedro has been in Dutch or Slovakian football since Carlisle, latterly with part-time Netherlands club CSV Zwarte Pijl. Rigg, after a spell at Dover, is a stalwart performer for Workington Reds, while Sweeney, after a spell with Gateshead, retired and returned to Hartlepool for a long coaching stint.

News and Star: Louis PedroLouis Pedro (Image: Stuart Walker)


David Amoo, Stephen Elliott, Josh Gillies, Sean O’Hanlon, Matty Robson and David Symington.

Nobody here who particularly came back to haunt Carlisle, although Amoo did score against the Blues whilst with Port Vale in 2022, on a multi-club path since 2015’s release (he was most recently with Ebbsfleet). Symington, after a spell with Barrow and a period out of the game, is captain and star goalscorer for Workington. Elliott had a spell back in Ireland, then a move back to England with Morpeth, before his post-playing days led him to a coaching position with St Patrick’s Athletic. Gillies returned to Gateshead before moves to Darlington, South Shields, Blyth Spartans and West Auckland Town, while defender O’Hanlon was with Stockport for a spell after Carlisle, before his retirement years have included a role as Marine’s Under-23 team coach. Robson ventured into non-league with Shildon and recently Brandon United.

News and Star: Matty RobsonMatty Robson (Image: David Hollins)


Chris Chantler, Danny Livesey, Prince Buaben, Liam Noble, Lee Miller, Mike Edwards, Greg Fleming, Jack Lynch, Lewis Guy, Nacho Novo and Pascal Chimbonda.

The post-relegation clear-out a decade ago sent a diverse cast of characters to different corners of the game, though none came back to damage or overtake United. Livesey continued his admired career at clubs such as Barrow, Salford and Chester, while striker Miller moved back to Scotland with Kilmarnock, Falkirk and Livingston, also managing Falkirk, and now running a barber’s business. Buaben also headed north, with Hearts, Partick and Falkirk before a switch to Romania. Noble ventured to Notts County, Forest Green and Hartlepool before making his home in non-league with Morpeth and Hebburn. Chantler moved to Kilmarnock before a weaving run through English non-league, latterly with Colne. Edwards returned to Notts County before coaching at the club, Fleming is Annan’s experienced No1, Lynch moved to Chorley, Colne, Clitheroe, Bury and Darwen in non-league, Guy went to Gateshead, Barrow, Chorley and Annan, while Novo played in the USA and Ireland before managing American side Lexington until recently. Chimbonda wound down his long career in non-league while last season took an eventful step into management with Skelmersdale.

News and Star: Nacho NovoNacho Novo (Image: Jonathan Becker)


Adam Collin, Rory Loy, Mathieu Manset, Jon-Paul McGovern, Peter Murphy, Frank Simek and Andy Welsh.

Keeper Collin had good times after leaving the Blues – among them, helping Rotherham to the Championship, before returning for a second United spell in 2018. Loy went on to have a good goalscoring career back in Scotland, while McGovern moved through the Scottish leagues after a short stint with the ill-fated Celtic Nation. Manset’s nomadic journey since the Blues included English moves (Coventry, Walsall, Cheltenham), and times in Belgium, France, Malta and Italy, while Welsh followed a spell at Scunthorpe with non-league moves and then a managerial career with Ossett, Bury and most recently Guiseley. Simek returned to the USA after Carlisle – while Murphy, the Blues’ record outfield appearance holder, played in Scotland with Ayr before going into management at Annan and, after seven years and promotion, now Queen of the South.

News and Star: Mathieu MansetMathieu Manset (Image: Louise Porter)


Craig Curran.

The hard-working striker, after a subsequent pell at Rochdale, had spells in non-league, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, playing in Champions League preliminary rounds with Connah’s Quay Nomads before retiring following a spell at Vauxhall Motors.

News and Star: Craig CurranCraig Curran (Image: Stuart Walker)


Ryan Bowman, Nahki Wells, Kevan Hurst, Jason Price, Marco Gbarssin.

The elephant in the released list room when it comes to United is Wells, the Bermudan striker who was brought to England under Greg Abbott’s Blues tenure, but released amid budget and squad considerations. Bradford took a chance on him...and Wells flourished, becoming an adept goalscorer in the second tier throughout his career, where he currently remains, with Bristol City. Bowman rebuilt a good goalscoring career, working his way from non-league to Motherwell, Exeter and Shrewsbury. Hurst had other EFL clubs in Walsall, Southend and Mansfield before winding down in non-league, while Price, after a latter-day journey through non-league and the Welsh league, became a plumber. One-game wonder Gbarssin had spells in Belgium and France as his obscure time with the Blues soon faded.

News and Star: Marco GbarssinMarco Gbarssin (Image: Barbara Abbott)