The call from Sir Alex came after James Chester had completed a loan spell at Brunton Park which actually led to a permanent move to Hull City. As a mark of their gratitude, United quickly loaned Carlisle their defender Joe Dudgeon as a replacement, but the United boss's personal acknowledgement was just as important.
Abbott told the Daily Mail: "Sir Alex rang me after James left to thank me for the way we had looked after him. It was fantastic for me and the club to receive that level of credibility. I always felt we were doing things the right way, and that proved it to me.
"James is one of the best pros I have ever worked with. Everything about him was class, even his digs were immaculate, which was tremendous for our young lads to see and learn from.
"His dad rang me after he'd left to say how grateful James and his family were, and it was one of the nicest phone calls I have ever had. Things like that make the job worthwhile."