Last night our group took the decision to end our approach to Carlisle United.

We were told that one of the people on Edinburgh Woollen Mill's side of things would call us yesterday, having expressed that we just needed a couple of answers on things to progress our plan.

When that call was made we weren’t given the definitive yes or no on what we were asking, but we were told that it was unlikely we would get the answers any time soon.

So we decided, instead of continuing to work away at it and pour our energies into it, keeping supporters wondering and hanging on for news – whether they liked the idea of what was happening or not – to walk away.

We have, though, said that if we are ever approached by the club and EWM in the future, we would still be happy to talk.

They know where we are. They have asked for help for a while in terms of support from businesses, and although we have not publicly named any of the business people in our group, I’m pretty sure senior people at the club know the calibre of some of them.

We feel confident that we have a hell of a lot to offer in terms of business nous, commercially and in terms of the direction of the club. We have people with us who have been involved successfully in football before, and people who know how to run businesses well.

Whatever was said in last week’s statement about operating through the right protocols, we walk away confident that we did what we were told and advised to do – by a director of the club, and those connected to Philip Day – when we first made our approach.

I still maintain there looks to have been some degree of crossed wires regarding who knew about that statement and who didn’t.

It’s a shame to have come to this point, but we wish Carlisle all the best with the current manager situation and hope they can go from strength to strength in the future.


Saturday’s game wasn’t great in terms of entertainment levels and I totally agreed with Gavin Skelton’s assessment of it.

The caretaker manager thought, in the last 20 minutes, you might normally see a side really go hard in pursuit of that winner, but Carlisle weren’t able to do that.

After recent results, and the general atmosphere, you can understand a player in that position who thinks, ‘I just don’t want to lose this game’.

If United had gone into that game on the back of a few wins, I’m sure they would have gone hell-for-leather for the win.

When, instead, it is a case of trying to get any points on the board, it is a different mindset. There is a nervousness around the place and the mentality seemed to shift towards it being imperative they didn’t lose.

Although it wasn’t a great performance, there were a couple of plus points. I thought Jon Mellish looked strong at centre-half. He didn’t constantly pass it around the back, which I liked; at times he did, but was also happy to get it forward.

Carlisle were largely solid and can take some credit for that.

Recently their forward players have been the shining lights but here they didn’t set things alight as they can. Nathan Thomas had the ball a few times and came close to making something happen. Harry McKirdy saw a bit more of it but out of a poor spectacle Carlisle only had a couple of moments that could have gone their way.

The ball flashed across goal once or twice, and the Cambridge keeper made a great save from Olufela Olomola, who had also missed a great chance in the first half.

It was one of those games where you always felt the first goal would win it, but it wasn’t to be.

I felt Carlisle, as a unit, at least looked a little bit stronger and more comfortable in their own skin. Another player who I don’t feel gets the praise he deserves is Gethin Jones.

He is a steady-away right-back, doesn’t let anyone down and you rarely see players taking on and beating him with any regularity. He also uses the ball well.

So even though some people have said it was not just a dour game but one of the worst they have watched, you can take certain things from it, and I feel we should give the players a bit of a break here.

A new manager or head coach will be coming in and there will be some nerves around. Players will be wondering if the new man is watching. There will be a degree of insecurity among some who have been first on the team sheet recently.

I feel the club are doing the right thing in taking their time with it. No, they can’t take too long, but they have to do the interview procedure right and make sure they are thorough.

Hopefully we will hear something this week. But, with the next game being in the FA Cup at Forest Green, it might just give them a little more time, if they feel they need it, just to really hit home what and who they exactly want.

There will have been preliminary talks done and a final list of candidates. As it did last time, it will probably come down to a vote amongst the directors at the top of the club.

In terms of the team, it is unrealistic to expect a new person to come in and immediately get Carlisle playing expansive football.

We have to be brutally honest about these players. Some are good enough, some are not, some are still learning their trade, one of the better players (Kelvin Etuhu) is injured, some of the loanees are doing ok and some are not.

The new person would have to come in, lift spirits initially in the run-up to the January window, and ensure first and foremost that Carlisle stay up, which should be well within their capabilities.

Getting to that 40-42 point stage as quickly as possible must be the aim and then you start thinking about next year, and what else needs to change.

I’ve said with the last couple of appointments that it has to be more than just a managerial appointment. It has to be go beyond that.

If Carlisle are going down the head coach route, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the candidate with the most experience. Yes, if an older head proves the best contender in the process, so be it.

But if the club feel a younger man, a fresh face, is the right choice then there are plenty of examples to follow. People like Eddie Howe, Alex Neil and even Joey Barton have had to start somewhere.

Fresh ideas could be the way forward given how the game has changed. I was speaking to a couple of experienced managers during the week and they were saying how different things are today.

It is not the same game in terms of the mentality of modern players and sometimes you have to get away from those bosses on the merry-go-round.

It might be a time to think differently and choose someone who can tap into that modern mindset.

The cup is next and you would never turn down a run in the competition. I feel, though, that the main benefits this season would be financial.

I’m not sure I see it clicking this particular team into regular winning form. It looks like being a more stop-start campaign – one where a new man in charge can hopefully get them across that line.