There was a little criticism of Carlisle United when, the day they announced John Sheridan’s appointment, he was pictured not in a suit, brandishing a scarf in front of one of Brunton Park’s stands, but t-shirt clad, shaking hands with the chairman in front of a hedge.

The scarf pic came a while later, and everyone was happy. Hindsight now tells us the Blues got it right first time.

This was not, despite the sell and the guff that always comes with managerial hirings, one for the long term. Sheridan’s reputation as a here-today, gone-tomorrow kind of boss is not entirely fair when you look at some of his spells, at Oldham, Plymouth and – yes – Chesterfield.

Nor, though, is it completely at odds. At Newport, he was a hired gun, blasting the Welsh club in the direction of safety in 2015/16 before, three months later, accepting a better offer from Oldham.

Other jobs have ended abruptly, with the sack, while never has the temporary nature of management seemed more cold than at Fleetwood last season, where Sheridan delivered some highly impressive work yet was still eased out in May – the plan all along – to make room for the untried but higher-profile Joey Barton.

As an industry football uses up and spits out managers of all ages and shapes. Why should someone like Sheridan feel confident in laying roots anywhere? Why should he not rock up as though he is dressed for an afternoon at the Dog and Duck, rather than formal business?

The likelihood is that Chesterfield, whose owner, Dave Allen, is known to pay managers well, offered a short-term improvement on his immediate circumstances. On that basis, the exit door has swung.

That, and geography, are the only reasons on the surface why he should trade a play-off chasing League Two team for one beset by troubles and facing the real threat of National League North life come May.

(That is provided Sheridan is still there by then, of course. Five months is a long time in football)

The instinct among many fans will be to examine the picture at Brunton Park for the root-level problems that have led Sheridan to the door after just 32 games in charge. No doubt United is not a place of prosperity or vibrancy at certain levels, the top especially. Although change is afoot, influenced by Edinburgh Woollen Mill, too much still drags, too much scepticism is easily invited in.

There is not a budget you could describe as attractive, or a squad of players that looks permanent. Sheridan, though, knew this in the summer and has known it since. Although it must have brought frustration - perhaps more than he anticipated, once he got down into the detail - it may be wrong to think it a tipping point.

“There are challenges for the club, yes, but I’m going to face them head-on,” he said upon getting the job. “I’m not going to skirt around issues.” Often his take on Carlisle’s money limitations has been to stress that, because there is nothing he can do about them, he won’t be referring to them - and in any case, United are still capable of competing.

That is indeed how it has looked these last few weeks, when a volatile, unpredictable campaign has gathered refreshing momentum. Sheridan leaves the Blues on the brink of their best winning run for more than a decade.

League Two’s 2018/19 collection of sides is far from vintage. There is no reason why United, guided correctly, could not sustain some sort of challenge. Five consecutive victories have allowed them to cut a path to the play-off places. Sheridan’s work, and his strengths, appeared perfectly suited to their situation: spending cut, a need to rely on loans and half-season deals, a position where every drop of a manager’s experience needed to be squeezed, a focus on positive possibilities at all turns.

United in summer 2018 did not look a place for a rookie. Sheridan was their Mister Right Now. One now has, of course, to examine afresh his Boxing Day tirade, when a 6-0 win was accompanied by what some nearby fans have described as a highly disparaging outburst towards captain Danny Grainger (not the first heated exchange between boss and players, it is believed) followed by an alarming threat to quit if people could not live with his “demanding nature”.

That press conference, some sources say, was a telling moment as the Chesterfield chatter began (the man himself claimed three days later that he had not heard of any interest from the Spireites).

Even so, the idea he will find a more robust and weathered dressing room in Derbyshire is bogus.

They are a club in a tailspin, struggling to appear competent in non-league – a level one may have thought was beneath someone of Sheridan’s reputation and attributes. Supporter protests have recently taken place there and opinions about certain directors make the bedsheet banner directed at United’s Nigel Clibbens on New Year’s Day resemble a Christmas card.

There have been times, when listening to Sheridan at his most perturbed, when one wondered if he was seeking a portal back to the 1980s, when managers and players could eff and jeff at one another – sometimes worse – and it be regarded not as inappropriate but an essential part of the working environment.

No doubt some who felt his brunt will breathe a little this afternoon. Again, though, it's surely not the reason he’s gone. There is no Tardis for those lost, rougher times and he will not find one at the Proact Stadium, where a long-standing former Football League side now struggles to stay upright against Solihull Moors, Maidenhead, Dover and Eastleigh.

That was the fate some had marked out for Carlisle when they were stumbling through the immediate post-Keith Curle days. It says something about Sheridan’s work that he has lifted them a fair distance above such fears.

Those worries will quickly return – although probably not this season, given they have 42 points already – if they are as indecisive this time. There can be no limping towards an appointment now, given their predicament: loan players leaving, a key player close to Sheridan (Anthony Gerrard) yet to commit, reinforcements needed and others reaching the final months of deals and, beyond doubt, weighing up their options as January unfolds.

In United’s favour is a genuine play-off chance. It will need great skill to stay on that tightrope but a manager worth his salt should be able to set about the task without fear.

The one thing not to expect from the next incumbent – from anyone, really – is a dynasty. United are far from trigger-happy compared with other clubs but the game has long made its bed for the profession of management and John Sheridan, 54, is the nomadic figure it deserves.

“Carlisle is a club that I have watched and admired from afar,” he said in June. “I admire the club’s history and heritage. I want to show fans that I’m committed. I have ambition, vision, and want to establish a strong DNA within the football club.”

Next time all concerned would be better off dropping those high words. Too often they mean next to nothing. And we all know it.