Chief executive Nigel Clibbens says Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s club director is not attending tonight’s fans’ forum because others can “provide all the answers” instead.

John Jackson, EWM’s group financial controller who sits on United’s holdings board, has never appeared on a club forum or given interviews.

He will not be on tonight’s panel, likewise chairman and co-owner Andrew Jenkins.

It means that, while two owners will be on the panel, in John Nixon and Steven Pattison, along with Clibbens and CUOSC’s Billy Atkinson, two of the most influential figures or bodies at Brunton Park will not face fans’ questions.

United were asked why this was the case by fans through the Carlisle United Supporters’ Groups, via a Q&A from users of forum.

Asked why Jackson would not be attending, Clibbens said that, on club matters, “other attendees have the same info and can provide all answers”.

Regarding EWM, who have loaned United a seven-figure sum since 2017 and have long been linked with deeper involvement, Clibbens said: “There is no new comment or information to add to what has already been said, at this time.”

Clibbens also insisted Jackson was not heavily involved at Brunton Park, despite EWM’s strong financial hand in their affairs.

He said: “In terms of running the club, [Jackson] does not attend games or the club, he is not involved in operational matters or football.

“His involvement is remote, with a very light touch.

“His role is not involved in running the club, it’s focused mainly on simply monitoring our finances – like forecast cash requirements and monthly accounts and budgets and, if required, to consider material contracts we enter into.

“This allows him to be the link with EWM on the commercial funding agreement, and things of interest to EWM when required.”

Media requests to interview Jackson have previously been turned down, a similar response meeting requests to speak to businessman Kevin Dobinson, the latter close to EWM' billionaire boss Philip Day and who the club say "helps with advice, and commercially".

In another answer to fans, Clibbens said Jackson worked alongside Jenkins and director of football David Holdsworth "to agree spending and funding to support" Chris Beech, to improve the squad and football department.

On Jenkins’ absence tonight, meanwhile, Clibbens said the chairman had instead issued an “open invitation” to meet fans face-to-face.

The veteran co-owner has traditionally attended forums but will not do so this evening.

“He [Jenkins] feels that is the most productive way for him to engage with fans,” Clibbens added.

This follows recent programme notes in which Jenkins said he preferred to speak to supporters in smaller groups than large forums.

Clibbens, meanwhile, said that five CUSG meetings in six months had seen the club answer more than “125 questions” from fans – “far more than any forum”.

Tonight's forum, hosted by CUSG, gets under way at 7pm in the Sunset Suite at Brunton Park. Tickets must be booked in advance via

The News & Star will be reporting from the forum.

Clibbens, meanwhile, has also explained why the club are no longer holding regular press conferences with directors – despite a pledge in the club’s charter.

The Blues’ charter for 2019/20 says that directors of the club’s 1921 operational board – comprised of Clibbens, Nixon, Suzanne Kidd and CUOSC’s Jim Mitchell – “will hold open media briefings on an ongoing basis” and would “aim to do this every six weeks”.

It has, though, been many months since the last such event was organised for the media to question directors face-to-face at the club.

Clibbens today said that answering questions directly from fans, through the Carlisle United Supporters’ Groups, have been preferred to “traditional” media sessions.

In response to a question via, chief executive Clibbens said: “The success of these direct club-to-fan questions have been so strong they have simply taken over.

“Club/fan engagement has changed and continues to change very quickly. This is a simple example where issues that matter to fans can be put direct to the club.

“Media report forums and Q&A but it’s fans who drive the agenda on what matters to them. Which is surely a good thing?

“That doesn’t mean traditional interaction goes entirely, but media channels are changing very quickly.”

Clibbens also claimed that at press conferences with the club’s manager/head coach, which used to be “well attended” by various media outlets, only the News & Star can now be "guaranteed" to turn up every time.

“Again, this is due to the way the needs and working practices of other agencies have changed,” he added.

“We all have to adapt to that and try new things…and when they take off really use them.”