The inevitable sacrificing of Chris Beech comes with a highly dangerous assumption. It is that one decision alone can turn Carlisle United – that all their problems and structural drawbacks can be sorted by a different bloke in a tracksuit.

That kind of thinking is just a different colour ticket to the National League and further damaging obscurity. It won’t do.

Yes, a journey to third bottom in the EFL has to rest to some large degree at the manager’s door. If a boss is blameless, powerless, his hands tied, his wishes at the mercy of every last financial decision, why bother appointing one at all?

It would be too much to cast Beech as a victim, considering the basis on which he was hired has played out here to the letter: developing players, selling them on, replacing them with less, taking the risk that you can keep regenerating this way without calamity.

He knew that was the ballpark as much as those doing the appointing. This was a shared journey from minute one. And whatever the circumstances, United on the pitch these last few weeks have been an insipid sight. Their attacking has been a blustering gesture, their defending a disorganised joke, their attempts to look credible in the key footballing areas far below the level even of a moderate League Two.

So yes, put much of this on the head coach. Put the shape, the selection, the tactical stuff his way. But not every last shred of accountability.

Reserve plenty for those up the chain: those with the hands-on power, and the remote controllers. Those who have failed to move United into more prosperous hands since 2008, and those who keep it hanging on a string.

News and Star: United directors look on at Bristol RoversUnited directors look on at Bristol Rovers

Those whose job it is to keep all parts connected, fluid, collective and harmonious. Those whose task it is to represent fans and speak cold, hard truth to the top table. Those who believe talking to the media isn’t in the club’s interests. Those who don’t wish to give a “running commentary” on high-level events (how about a walking commentary, at least, lads?)
Those who are now inspecting another failed decision yet may expect praise for acting today. Those who we must trust, despite ourselves, to get the next appointment right, after the disaster of Steven Pressley and the slower-burn fail of Beech.

Those who have tried to game the system, shred United’s spending, “get more from less” (a Beech saying, as it happens) but found themselves getting less from less, whilst totting up the debt to a silent party as a result of misguided past outgoings and seeing clubs like Morecambe, with respect, tear past them and vanish over the horizon.

Those on the pitch, too. Careers will be in peril if Carlisle continue showing up as badly as they did at Sutton, at other venues and again on Saturday at Bristol Rovers, where their good points were fleeting and their bad points eventually endemic.

News and Star: Beech and United's players at full-time at Bristol RoversBeech and United's players at full-time at Bristol Rovers

You watched this latest unravelling and, a few hours later, thought: good luck to Gavin Skelton and Eric Kinder in getting a tune out of this group. The loss of key men to bigger wages elsewhere and transfer fees more recently has stripped the strength from United.

Last season’s better players are exposed and going backwards. New additions are paddling against the tide. Others are either out of position, out of form or plainly not good enough. A new and ever-shifting back four is as steady as jelly. They lack heft in attack, authority in defence.

Another supposedly anxious team in Bristol Rovers discovered all this in due course. Carlisle had a light flurry when Zach Clough and Brennan Dickenson could have scored, but then a right-to-left move from the hosts opened them up, Antony Evans easing past Danny Devine before rasping a shot past Lukas Jensen.

United’s body language when behind is troubling, while an attacking method leading to crosses for Clough to leap for against big defenders, as seen at times here, is fit only for landfill.

News and Star: Time up: Beech's reign ended after the 3-0 defeatTime up: Beech's reign ended after the 3-0 defeat

What faint hope there was at Bristol lay in the movement of an 18-year-old loan striker, Brad Young, and the brief substitute’s vim of Jordan Gibson. The rest was ghostly. Even basic passes went astray, and there was an unusual but telling irritability even in Lewis Alessandra, whose dissent made him one of 10 players booked by the card-happy Charles Breakspear.

Joey Barton’s changes worked better. Luke Thomas set up Sam Nicholson for a second, before Harvey Saunders cruised clear for a third: the last, knifing act of the Chris Beech era.

If it is not to be one of many cuts that lead to further demise, some serious acumen and urgent new strategy is going to be needed at Carlisle. Otherwise a club praised of late for “fan engagement” will be known only for lasting and quite bitter fan estrangement.