Follow the money, they say, and at Carlisle United this is thankfully an easy task. All routes lead to Philip Day and Edinburgh Woollen Mill and it is a good thing we know this, for otherwise it would be easy to assume Brunton Park was a place of clashing agendas, overplayed hands and only half-revealed truths.

After the noise of recent weeks – an “approach” that did not get far, a statement that named no party, other “proposals” of vague origin – the land lies no differently. Day, with his firm’s loans (secured against club assets, guaranteed by club owners), has much of the power, and as ever it boils down to how, when or whether he chooses to wield it.

This has been the case since 2017 when, without any fanfare or public play, EWM agreed to establish a “loan facility” from which the Blues have drawn a seven-figure amount. That backing was immediately real, sincere and significant. They still hold no shares but, on account of that debt and the individuals subsequently installed at United, have as much clout as any “sponsor” possibly could.

This is the basic outlook which every supporter knows, but it pays to remember it when there are so many other goings-on around the fringes; nudges, whispers, shouts and – on the day a new head coach oversees his first game – still a sense of dismay from many fans towards those who are at the ultimate helm.

If matters are going to come to a head they are plainly not going to do so in the way trailed of late. That is not to say the “approach”, fronted by Chris Lumsdon and Steve Skinner, achieved nothing at all.

If it provoked a comment of more than a few words from EWM then that is more than the rest of us have so far achieved. If it shone a little more light on some of the uneven scenery, likewise.

Let us, for the purposes of painting a picture, assume that everyone involved has been telling the absolute truth on the affair. Here we have a club where, according to Lumsdon, a senior director welcomed and embraced calls regarding potential financial “help”. The same person advised the group to engage certain people speaking for Day.

Such dialogue, when it happened, was also said to be cordial. A while later, though, a joint statement from United and their sponsors emerged, citing pointedly the need for approaches to be made through “formal channels.”

This does not give the impression of everyone acting as one. It says there was one message from some behind the curtains but a different one from others in the formal seats.

All this also occurs without the supporters’ trust – who own a significant stake and provide the club with two directors – knowing the first detail about it, having also lost their chairman to a resignation over a separate, earlier “proposal”, via the club's influential Holdings board, with whose urgency he did not agree.

This, too, is before anyone had the chance to explore the more recent “approach” itself. Those behind it said they needed information and views on United’s structure and debts before presenting a plan and revealing their backers. That meant all supporters had on it from its first to last day, in the public eye at least, was the involvement of a popular ex-midfielder, another player who was also chairman of a club that no longer exists, claims of credible and substantial support and a little informed speculation about who and what that might mean.

The clouds are considerable, the questions lingering. Chiefly: who, exactly, did the group speak to at United, and why was the friendly guidance received at odds with what the official statement said? Why were “answers” easy to get in some circumstances but not when push came to shove?

Why was this the presumed route in, rather than the more formal tack? Why not go again, as they say in football, from the angle recommended, by way of a second attempt?

And why – above all – considering the club have never had more lines of communication with fans (see CUSG and other strands which led to a positive score in a fan engagement survey this week) yet so many still feel isolated from it, can all those who say they want the same thing not sit around a table somewhere in an organised fashion and find some sort of positive way forward?

Anyone who would not do that, whatever their side, would deserve to be questioned, and when all is considered it must seem an interesting climate indeed for any new boss seeking wins and trying to re-engage those on the terraces.

Anyone involved at the sharp end must hope the ground underfoot continues to be reliable, rather than the way it has been made to look by some. United, fourth bottom in a poor league, are on the book-balancing path directors have often described, having not now drawn on EWM funds (according to CUOSC) for six months and taken deliberate decisions in the areas of recruitment, contracts and youth.

While those funds remain available, and that presence exists, there will be an undeniable level of reassurance, and also the basis for something greater. But what, exactly?

When the Lumsdon group nudged at that door – or the wrong one – they found mixed signals, but that makes you come to the conclusion that should have been there all along: that we will not know what is to become of this club until it is done and decided by the people who have the actual power, not those who lurk around it or pull this way or that.

The future, as ever, is what the guys with the money say it is.