After starting at Crystal Palace, and later playing for Bristol Rovers and Leyton Orient, Northern Ireland under-21 international Wayne Carlisle was part of the Exeter City squad that returned to the Football League in 2008. Later achieving a similar promotion with Torquay United, Wayne ultimately returned to Exeter City and was assistant manager during the Grecians 2021/22 promotion campaign.
Wayne joined Crystal Palace as a trainee in 1996 and, after turning professional, progressed to feature in 46 league matches with the Selhurst Park club scoring three times along the way. After a loan spell with Swindon Town, Wayne moved on a free transfer to Bristol Rovers in March 2002 where his two-year stay produced 14 goals in 71 league matches. Leaving the Memorial Ground in June 2005, Wayne joined Leyton Orient in a less-successful move before dropping to the Conference by agreeing terms with Exeter City in January 2006.
Making his first appearance for the Grecians at Morecambe on 21 January 2006, Wayne suffered a broken leg at Tamworth on 28 March and was released when his short-term contract expired at the end of the season.
With Paul Tisdale now City’s manager, Wayne was given another chance when he rejoined the club in October and, after his re-introduction against Dagenham and Redbridge on 9 December 2006, went on to make 28 appearances in all competitions including the three play-off games against Oxford United and Morecambe.
Continuing into 2007/08, Wayne appeared 38 times in all competitions and famously scored in both legs of the play-off semi-final against Torquay United. Unknown at the time his appearance at Plainmoor proved to be Wayne’s last in the colours of Exeter City as, remaining on the bench during the final and declining a new contract, he moved down the A380 to sign for Torquay United and Paul Buckle in June 2008.
Providing the cross to set up one of the goals in Torquay’s own play-off final success in May 2009, Wayne scored ten times in around 70 league starts for the Gulls ahead of his release in July 2010 and almost immediate reinstatement the following month. But, after a patchy few months in a promotion-chasing team, he moved to Truro City in December 2010 where - after only a brief association as a player - he was later to become assistant manager to Steve Tully.
In March 2017 Wayne rejoined Exeter City as head of coaching and gradually took on more of a role with the first-team alongside Matt Taylor and was assistant manager by the time City won promotion in 2021/22. When Matt moved to Rotherham in October 2022, it was no great surprise that Wayne became his number two in South Yorkshire.
Subsequently, after the termination of Matt Taylor's contract in November 2023, Wayne was put in temporary charge of Rotherham along with Scott Brown and Dan Green, both former colleagues at Exeter City.
League 68 (5 play-offs); Cups 5 (73)