There could now do with being a transfer window of ownership “succession” at Carlisle United; a ticking clock which leads us to the end of this period of coping and onto something brighter.

This has been a summer when the Blues’ present reality has dominated supporters’ more ambitious future thoughts. United’s squad is not much different numbers-wise but has lost key players to transfer fees and bigger wages.

No shame in that, on the surface. When a Hollywood-backed club comes for your centre-half with an ample fee and increased remuneration, it falls to you to deal with that realistically, not ideally.

When a Championship club turns the head of your young right-back – again, it’s always going to be hard to force that genie back in its bottle.

If Carlisle have banked the other side of £500,000 with add-ons for two players (Aaron Hayden and George Tanner) who were out of contract next summer and wanted to leave, then they’ve done what most League Two clubs must, in the circumstances.

Other than the more modest fee paid out for Jordan Gibson, and the terms required to secure other signings, that six-figure income has not flowed back out of Brunton Park.

Carlisle did not, come 11pm last night, make the emphatic signing – a centre-forward was on many fans’ wishlists – that would have given the impression of serious reinvestment.

This naturally leads those fans to bring back up the A-word – ambition – and conclude that the bottom line continues to override the desire for the Blues to act more boldly with their latest wad of “football fortune”.

So, the window having now closed, it would be a good time for those at the very top of the club – at Holdings board level, certainly, and also those associated with backers Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Purepay Retail Limited – to articulate what the broader financial future actually looks like.

On the most recent activities, they wouldn't be saying things we don’t already know. Carlisle’s financial path under these influences has long been laid out and an ethos of trying to get more from less – a Chris Beech quote – is down in black and white.

Indeed, when the head coach was appointed it was stated by chairman Andrew Jenkins that “he [Beech] was known at Rochdale for strengthening the squad under budget to replace those players sold at a premium.”

Unless some of the available funds have for some reason gone unspent - in which case, some elaboration would help - it has looked like a window executed by a club focused on living this way. At centre-half, Hayden’s exit was followed late in the day by the entry of a young Arsenal loanee, Jonathan Dinzeyi. At right-back, the £300,000 Tanner is replaced by the experienced free-transfer Kelvin Mellor, who does at least know course and distance at this level; more than most in the Carlisle squad, in fact.

Rhys Bennett’s departure from defence leaves United lighter on central experience, though the hope is that Corey Whelan and Morgan Feeney will continue to emerge as bright, younger options. In goal, the Blues also pin their hopes on the youngish pair of Magnus Norman and Lukas Jensen after Paul Farman went to Barrow.

Midfield is the most stable area in personnel, Carlisle surviving a bout of speculation surrounding Callum Guy and Wrexham, with Sligo Rovers' Gibson hopefully adding extra dynamism. The strikeforce, shorn of Offrande Zanzala, Omari Patrick and JJ Kayode, now leans on Zach Clough and Tristan Abrahams, supported by Manny Mampala and Brad Young. Brennan Dickenson and Lewis Alessandra are still there, though Gime Toure, omitted even from a Papa John’s Trophy 18 yesterday, appears further from the reckoning.

United’s emerging players and first-year pros, like Lewis Bell and Sam Fishburn, look to have better prospects than those released in the summer. Giving such individuals professional contracts as early as United have is responsible and realistic. Allowing them the space to grow around the first-team, another often-cited part of the club’s philosophy, must bear fruit.

Carlisle are clearly focused on developing more players, as they have with Hayden and Tanner, rather than shopping for lots of finished articles. Whether they have behaved like a club dead-set on promotion this window is another question.

They have reasonable depth in numbers now but it will be a surprise to many that they have not added at least one more striker of stature and experience to their ranks, to help them across a demanding campaign and support the hopefuls behind and around that front line.

Free agent opportunities remain, but that is not a market that can be approached with quite the same sense of calculation. The risk-reward balance is more precarious there.

So what are the next steps, financially? Some might feel it rum if a club is now being criticised for prudence after attracting praise for the same quality during the worst of the Covid pandemic.

Not many, though, are demanding reckless spending. They are simply asking when Carlisle will be a club on its front foot again; one that can really give fans some meat for their season-ticket money.

It comes down to the twin hopes for succession and for the people involved in that process to join in the “fan engagement” approach which has earned the Blues praise operationally. Short, vague updates about “meetings” on ownership change have accompanied these recent weeks of selling playing assets, with supporters left waiting for someone to tell us when United’s future will have a big, clear, new, strategic, positive picture to be excited by (and, at the same time, what happens to that Purepay debt, both as a result of this window and down the line).

The challenge on the pitch now is for Beech to harness the solidity the team has shown at its best, early in 2021/22, and chase the dire offerings of last Saturday at Hartlepool as far from the building as possible.

Those feeling a tad underwhelmed today must still remember that there are good, rising players at Brunton Park. No squad with such as Guy, Jack Armer and Joe Riley can be described as missing a positive core. Clough's undoubted star quality is also waiting to be brought fully out. Making the most of those men, in a team encouraged to play a more progressive passing game, must surely be the way to make Carlisle competitive this season.

Making this group the tightest, most purposeful collective possible – one which allows youth to thrive and sees tactical judgement absolutely on the money – is also how United can outperform their budget expectations.

Supporters, seeing what the Blues have recouped, can be forgiven their short-term scepticism. The longer-term, we have to hope, will be served by United's summer of 2021, but the next spell on the grass will govern the prevailing mood. Taking down Salford, quite the opposite club to Carlisle in the current landscape, would be an good way to start.