Clarke James Carlisle (born 14 October 1979) is an English former professional footballer who played as a defender and was chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association.
Born in Preston, he began playing football at a young age, taking inspiration from his father who played semi-professionally. Carlisle represented his home county of Lancashire at youth level. The start of his professional career was his Football League debut for Blackpool in September 1997. He moved to Queens Park Rangers in May 2000. In the same year, Carlisle won three caps for the England under-21 national team. He missed a number of matches for Queens Park Rangers due to a posterior cruciate ligament injury which at one stage led doctors to believe that his career was over. He then missed one month of the 2003–04 season because of an alcohol-related problem, and left Queens Park Rangers at the end of that season. In the summer of 2004, he joined Leeds United on a free transfer.
Carlisle spent just one season with Leeds United before signing for Championship club Watford in August 2005. In the 2005–06 season, his first with Watford, the team finished third in the division and achieved promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs. However, a thigh injury caused Carlisle to miss the majority of the team's inaugural top-flight season. In March 2007 he had a one-month loan spell at Luton Town. In August 2007, Burnley manager Steve Cotterill bought Carlisle from Watford for a transfer fee of £200,000. In the 2008–09 season he played over 40 matches as Burnley reached the semi-finals of the League Cup and finished fifth in the league, earning a place in the play-offs. Carlisle was named man of the match for his performance in the play-off final as Burnley beat Sheffield United 1–0 to return to the top tier of English football for the first time in 33 years.
An imposing figure in the centre of defence thanks to his stature, Carlisle also provided an attacking threat from set pieces. He is a practising Christian and regularly attends church. He attended Balshaw's Church of England High School where he attained 10 A-grades at GCSE and studied mathematics and politics at A-level, and in 2002 was awarded the title of "Britain's Brainiest Footballer" in a TV game show. He has been an ambassador for the Kick It Out campaign and is a former Chairman of the Management Committee of the Professional Footballers' Association.Close