Played for both: Lee Cartwright

Lee Cartwight made 478 appearances 'for North End
Lee Cartwight made 478 appearances 'for North End
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Many players have served Preston and Rochdale down the years, one of them being winger Lee Cartwright.

His service in terms of length was at opposite ends of the scale.

For 14 years he ploughed up and down North End’s right wing, winning two title medals in 1996 and 2000.

Cartwright’s stay with Rochdale was significantly shorter – just a season.

He was at Spotland for the 2005/06 campaign before dropping into non-league football with Scarborough and Hyde United.

Now 42, his boots have long since been hung up.

Born in Rawtenstall, Cartwright joined PNE as a trainee, his first-team debut coming during Les Chapman’s time as manager in 1991.

He was to pull on the North End shirt 478 times before his departure from Deepdale in January 2004 to join Stockport.

In that time Cartwright was a regular first-team pick under most of the managers he played for – Chapman, John Beck, Gary Peters, David Moyes – but his opportunities became fewer under Craig Brown, who introduced a wing-back system.

It was when the games started to dry up under Brown that the winger decided to bid farewell to PNE and seek regular football at Stockport.

Cartwright suffered a cruciate ligament injury during the 1995/96 Third Division title-winning season, that ruling him out of the run-in.

But he returned from that set-back to continue as a regular. He was a key part of the side which won promotion from the Second Division under Moyes and then went within an ace of reaching the Premier League in their first season up.

He had a benefit year in 2001 to mark 10 years’ service, which included a testimonial game against Middlesbrough.

Reflecting on his time at Preston after retirement, Cartwright admitted the era under Moyes had been special.

He said: “David Moyes did a fantastic job when he managed us.

“The promotion to what is now the Championship under him in 2000 is one of my great memories from my time there.

“And of course there was the experience of almost getting to the Premier League the following season, when we were beaten at the Millennium Stadium by Bolton in the play-off final.”

When the time came for him to pack his bags and leave Deepdale, Cartwright said it was with a heavy heart.

In an interview with the Evening Post at the time, he said: “I know I’m almost part of the furniture at Deepdale.

“ But all good things have to come to an end some day and I’ve got to make a fresh start.

“You don’t spend all your career – right from being a schoolboy – at the same club and not feel emotion when you walk out of that dressing room door for the last time,

“I’ve had some great times here and I’m going to miss the old place.

“But there comes a time when you have to move on.”

Cartwright spent 18 months at Stockport after leaving Preston, playing 38 times for County. From there he joined Rochdale in June 2005.

He played 29 games for Dale, scoring one goal, his final Football League appearance coming on April 29, 2006, against Bristol Rovers at Spotland.

From there he moved to Scarborough in the Conference, winning their last ever player of the year award before the club fell into financial problems and were liquidated.

Several of Cartwright’s Preston team-mates from down the years were also to end up playing for Rochdale.

Ian Bryson, Andy Fensome and Graeme Atkinson from the 1995/96 title-winning side did so.

Tony Ellis, whose second spell with PNE saw him play with Cartwright, is now on the Dale coaching staff.