I’m glad we’ve finally got a date for next season to start: September 12, six weeks tomorrow.

This is the most important part of the season. It’s important in terms of the quality of the squad you assemble. And also because it fires fans up for the months ahead… or it doesn’t.

Going to matches is a way of life for older fans. But there will be some fans who are in two minds. This is why it’s important to put together a good squad, to make the supporters’ minds up.

The fixture list will be out soon. So will news of pre-season friendlies. These things help to rekindle fans’ interest. But signings are the thing that really gets fans fired up.

They’re looking for some now.

Chris Beech will have a list. I think he’s capable of taking us up to the next level. Hopefully he’ll be allowed to sign who he’s got in mind. I hope we don’t end up in the situation we did last year, when we’re left with what’s left.

A lot of work needs to be done quickly. No disrespect to the young players on Carlisle’s books. Some of them will get their chance. But you need experience in the bottom league.

We all understand it’s been a difficult situation with no money coming in. The Jarrad Branthwaite deal has been a godsend. We never hear the ins and outs of these things. But as well as the initial fee, it would be a surprise if there wasn’t a clause where we get something when he makes his Everton debut, which he has in the last few weeks.

Jack Bridge, Gethin Jones and Byron Webster have turned down new contracts from Carlisle. At this level I don’t think lads will be on big contracts.

I wouldn’t expect them to take less than they were on. That might not be what’s happened, but it makes you wonder why they’re not signing. Of those lads, I’m sad to see Gethin Jones go. I would have him in the side every week. He got about the park and his head never went down.

On the plus side, there’s probably a bigger surplus of players available than ever this year. Clubs have let players go that they normally would have kept. It’s just the finances of having months with no money coming in.

Coronavirus means there’ll be no fans in stadiums before October, and even then they won’t be allowed to have anything like their full capacity.

With an 18,000 capacity and average crowds down to about 4,000, I don’t think it will be an issue at Brunton Park.

This Sunday it’s the National League play-off final between Harrogate and Notts County. Geographically it’s quite good either way with Harrogate being in North Yorkshire, and there are a lot of clubs further away than Nottingham. I probably lean towards Notts County, with their history and having been a league club until last season.

About half the clubs in League Two next season will be northern. It’s a nice change after years of it being dominated by southern clubs. There’s some good fixtures, especially Barrow and Bolton. I just hope fans will be able to watch them.