Philip Day is not one for commenting. His last interview of note was given to the Sunday Times in 2017; since then, pretty much nothing.

This, say those who know him, is firmly his style and we should not expect anything different. If you are looking for a businessman to air dirty laundry in public, you do not turn to Day. Clean laundry, the same. Even those whose attitude to laundry is to turn the garment inside out and wear it again tend to be spotted nearer the washing line.

So the next 19 paragraphs are probably an exercise in futility. But still. The football club Day has been closely associated with for the last few years is in a form of serious peril. If there’s ever a time to make a few things clearer to a few thousand concerned people, is it not now?

Nobody in the Carlisle United fanbase sifting through the semi-updates and non-news connected to the interminable “succession” talks needs a long primer on the situation. So we’ll set it out briefly.

United, come 2017, felt they were spending dangerously beyond their means. Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill firm agreed to establish a “loan facility” to help the club plug gaps and reset. This, over time, amounted to more than £2m. One of Day’s associates took a place on United’s Holdings board, another became director of football, a third became involved with commercial operations.

Come 2019, there was serious talk of a takeover involving EWM. Discussions stalled and Covid then changed the picture. EWM’s retail business went into administration and, as it was sold, United’s seven-figure debt was transferred to a connected company, Purepay Retail Limited.

Since then, United bosses have maintained that “succession” is still alive, with an “interested individual” remaining at the table. These discussions are said, in some form (although clearly not a speedy one), to be continuing. 

Come this 2021/22 season, and Carlisle, having managed precariously along their tighter bottom line, are now tumbling into the eye of a perfect storm. Their summer recruitment was badly flawed, they’ve sacked another manager, the football has often been dreadful, the ownership is being exposed anew and many are fearing a vanish into non-league in six months’ time without any confidence of a return.

The club is logjammed between a tired, success-free past and an unknowable future. Those owners put up personal guarantees to the Purepay debt, which is also secured against club assets. They are on the hook until an agreement says they aren’t. 

All of which really begs a question: who is going to sort this, and when? And another: what does Philip Day, chiefly among the parties interested in this community club, see as the way out of this perilous and potentially dire path the Blues may be on? 

We do not know to what extent he would like to own or otherwise influence the club from here. We do not know if another way would involve that debt being up for grabs to a different party amid talks that would pass United into alternative hands. 

We do not, so far, see evidence of Purepay calling in those arrears. We do not know what any sort of “succession” plan actually looks like. We do not know what is going to bring all this to a head, how the present regime will be taken by the elbow and guided away, and how Carlisle United will one day go forward with more confidence in its step - and how shattered they could be before that happens.

What do we know? That they are in a mess: second bottom in League Two, crowds starting to dwindle and people increasingly irritated and indeed aghast at suggestions such as that made this week by fans’ trust CUOSC; that Holdings directors (who have not responded to this claim) still do not have an “agreed position” on the big picture. 

This, in the absence of anything more substantial, shapes what people see. The vision is of United skidding to a historically serious reckoning and not enough urgency, force or clear communal thinking applied in the name of sorting things once and for all.

If this is not the case, let us be told – or, better, shown. 

Philip Day, to be clear, is not an owner or shareholder. Carlisle’s struggles under this regime since 2008 are very much not on him. The various aspects of failed acumen and initiatives which have led the Blues from the verge of the Championship to the National League trapdoor must be pinned elsewhere.

Those long-serving owners have also been an increasingly closed book, media-wise. This season they have declined to give "a running commentary" on "succession" and have turned down interview requests, because to speak is not deemed “in the club’s interests” (one such figure, meanwhile, pursues “external affairs” and is openly feted by the EFL). The News & Star, so far in 2021/22, has interviewed Michael Knighton more often than any current owners: a surreal sentence to write. 

In other words: there’s one heck of a void here, a chasm where some reassurance and insight should be; a big hole filled with ever-growing worries, theories and – you can be sure the longer all this continues – anger at what is becoming of Carlisle United. 

People are saying they are sick of the silent dance that is going on. The logical next step after that is for them to give up. Again: only a fool would assume the Blues cannot be further diminished from what we see today. It would be blasé in the extreme to think all the loyalty out there is hard and fast.

So. How about, from someone up near the top of things, some words. What's going on? What's the hold up? If United’s owners are not for talking, then the other side – the side where Philip Day sits – would be extra fascinating.

This space is available should he, or anyone acting for him and/or his interests, wish to consider doing something exceptional to their usual nature, and address Carlisle United’s public at the height of their anxiety.

Not a "running commentary", necessarily. Business is still business. But a little comfort would go a long way.