The most recent confirmation statement filed with Companies House showed there to be 383 individual shareholdings in Carlisle United Association Football Club (1921) Limited.

In simple terms: that’s how many people, groups or companies have some sort of stake in the Blues as a business entity.

How many of those were represented at the club’s AGM on Thursday night? About 20.

A couple of them asked robust questions of those representing the club on the top table – one tackling directors about a perceived “downward spiral” – but the meeting did not last long. The presentation was completed, notes were filed away, thanks for coming, same time next year.

If the annual general meeting is supposed to be where the financial conscience of Carlisle United comes into play, Thursday was not exactly full of promise.

Now, there are doubtless good reasons why some shareholders do not attend. Many will not live locally, others may have found the time and place inconvenient for different reasons, while several will be passive participants, their stake in the club historic.

Some may have passed away over the course of the last 12 months. Others can perhaps think of better ways to spend a midweek night than helping the nod-through of exciting procedures such as “authorising the directors to appoint auditors for the year ended 30th June 2019 and to fix their remuneration”.

One or two shareholders appointed proxies, but the majority did not bother with that, either. A five per cent turnout gives the impression that many simply saw no point in turning up.

Is this a problem? Probably not, for those steering Carlisle’s affairs, who are unlikely to complain at getting a fairly gentle ride on the club’s finances.

For United more broadly? Not if you view an AGM as an incidental happening, another little talking shop without much consequence.

What, though, if this is the wrong way of looking at things, and Thursday was evidence of apathy seeping into another area of Carlisle United?

Can it be the healthiest thing if the state of the Blues’ numbers pulls in a smaller crowd than, for instance, the Newport Folk Club, whose recent AGM lured 26 people, or Tamworth Bowls Club, whose 2017 event attracted 25?

No slight intended on either, or similar, bodies. But it can be assumed that they do not preside over an organisation with a £4m turnover and the emotions of a few thousand anxious supporters each week.

It can also be confidently stated they are not in £1.3m debt to a firm who, in the words of chief executive Nigel Clibbens, continue to “keep their counsel” about what such loans might ultimately mean.

They presumably, too, did not pull in 10,000 people for a recent event, and whether any of their directors provided £112,000 to get the business through the year is also moot.

Yet still more members were there than went to Brunton Park to examine the whys and wherefores of a season when the Blues spent nearly £1m more than they could afford.

Some clubs at or below Carlisle’s level fill bigger rooms with their AGMs. Chesterfield, in January, drew 114 people, and more than 200 the year before. Lincoln bolt a fans’ forum onto the end of theirs, no doubt helping ensure a decent showing.

Those are, admittedly, clubs who have been through, respectively, crisis and a surge. Extremes of fortune tend to bring people out of their houses, less so clubs existing on a more average line.

Carlisle’s four-and-a-half years in the fourth tier, featuring one relegation scrape, one play-off effort and the remainder around the middle, with ownership constant and problems long-established, perhaps does not send out a message of urgency, or celebration, to those who officially hold a small part of it.

It might also be that a forum for all supporters is where the real conscience exists: those paying loyally most weeks, enjoying or putting up with the fare. In the recent past United have drawn better numbers to these functions.

It may also be that CUOSC, the supporters’ trust that provides two directors to United, had nothing to say or ask at the AGM that they had not already broached in board meetings. Again, though: nor was their 1921 board representative, Jim Mitchell, questioned on a night when the very business of the club was being laid out for scrutiny.

EWM’s involvement – central to the club’s ownership fate, CUOSC said this week – would barely have been raised at all had the News & Star not piped up towards the end. The same with John Nixon’s £112k loan, the co-owner's first of significance to the club since 2012/3, made despite the recent arrival of an extra backer (EWM) and the continued financial presence of Andrew Jenkins.

Even then, the surface of such things was scratched at best.

We were, as the short meeting unfolded, told about Carlisle’s recent challenges, their change of spending focus, some laudable initiatives and the hard work of staff. Suzanne Kidd, the finance director, set out the figures and explained the approach.

Clibbens, meanwhile, sought to clarify “speculation” about budgets, also pledging that the manager situation wouldn’t drag on as it did last summer.

All important and essential stuff. The empty seats in Foxy’s, though, gave the rather deflating sense that it all didn’t matter very much. Even if the meatier examination of the club happens elsewhere, any time you leave Brunton Park thinking that way it cannot be a cause for celebration.