At last count, fans at the Carlisle United Supporters’ Groups meetings are represented, in no particular order, by: the London Branch, a supporter liaison officer, the supporters’ trust, away travel fans, the disabled group, Scottish supporters and an LGBTQ+ representative.

It gives the impression of a useful roundtable. It gains United marks for “fan engagement”. With club officials in attendance, constructive discussions no doubt ensue.

The trust, CUOSC, also retains 25.4 per cent of voting rights on the club’s Holdings board, and sends two directors to the Blues’ top tables. Various avenues, then, exist for fans to express themselves on Carlisle United matters.

Why, then, does the widespread frustration with the ongoing picture, and the emphatic, communal wish for change, still feel like it lacks a natural home?

It feels, just now, there is a body of people out there with passionate views but no obvious outlet, other than their social media accounts. The result is lots of emotional energy expended without direct effect.

One wonders how the picture would look were that different – and whether a broader, fresher, more encompassing supporters’ movement could ever fill that void.

One wonders, instead of all the groups who represent committed portions of the support base, if there could be a greater fan entity that United’s controllers did not just embrace but, when necessary, feared.

The team’s struggles, and the ambiguity over “succession”, seem to be hardening opinion among many. The demand for clarity and progress appears a universal wish.

Thus far, fans are being served with either no updates or very thin ones. CUOSC, from their place inside the tent, feel themselves limited in what they can share, and are regarded by many outside it as having meagre clout.

The trust, along with others, will no doubt say they have a voice and that it is heeded. But how loud, in reality, is that voice – and how much healthier would things be if that voice was more emphatic, more collective, and expressed to those in charge at Brunton Park what’s what, what’s right and what we won’t stand for, en masse?

It has been seen in the recent past how some clubs at the very top of football’s chain have been rolled into reversing bad decisions at the insistence of a powerful, seriously focused supporter association.

One should not overstate fan power in real terms, all the time. But imagine if United had, on their smaller level, something with the heft and gravitas of the Spirit of Shankly group, which holds Liverpool’s leaders to account under the banner of “unity is strength”.

Imagine if something could be seeded here in Cumbria that took in all the people who don’t feel especially represented, who don’t feel current fan groups speak for them.

News and Star: An Oldham fans' group are proactively protesting against their club's regimeAn Oldham fans' group are proactively protesting against their club's regime

Imagine the new force in the world of Carlisle United support. Imagine if people were mobilised and led in such a detailed, driven manner. Oldham Athletic’s Push The Boundary group, who are currently campaigning against owner Abdallah Lemsagam on a proactive footing, are a good example.

It would not have to operate on an anti-owner agenda in all circumstances. It could take in all points on the chart and speak truth to power even if that power is largely accepted or popular. Its approval could be as potent as its criticism.

The beginnings of such a thing at Carlisle may not be obvious or even likely, but the potential is clearly out there. The closest thing recently to a strong new arm of representation has been in the fundraising for flags and a mural at Brunton Park, which occurred during last season’s Covid lockout.

That took off dramatically on (who recently quit CUSG) and the Facebook forum Be Just And Fear Not. The latter has about 2,500 members and is an excellent, dedicated resource for Blues fans.

News and Star: Fundraising for flags last season hinted at a broader power among United's wider fanbaseFundraising for flags last season hinted at a broader power among United's wider fanbase

It showed, in a short time, a clear collective power. It brought people together in a swifter and more universal way than, it must be said, the current supporters’ trust has managed for some time.

Consider if that power was brought together again for wider aims. How would any set of United owners adjust their mindset if there was a group out there that spoke, much more readily, for the fan on the Paddock, the person in the Pioneer Stand, the iFollow devotee from further afield, swathes of support rather than distinct portions of it?

Imagine if there was not just a diverse talking shop, but a larger organism about which you could more easily say: yes, they stand for us fans, and they have to be heeded.

Accountability, surely, would be more in the open and less at the mercy of anyone’s wish to say nothing, share nothing, and issue updates so vague they serve little purpose other than to irritate.

This idea might not be on any sort of horizon right now. The urgent situation Carlisle are facing is going to unfold in the current climate, not an imagined one.

You look, though, at the current malaise and wonder how a future United could be better and more vigorous – and have to conclude that, were there something that owners knew would make emphatic noise at any glimpse of bad work or iffy decision-making, then that’s what it would look like.