If points were awarded for not being taken over, Carlisle United would be top of their division, not peering over their shoulders at the National League.

So far, since 2008, the Blues have managed not to be taken over by: a group of local businessmen, a further group of local businessmen aligned with the supporters’ trust, a Syrian/Canadian “billionaire” (he wasn’t really) and now - drumroll - an actual billionaire.

The party or parties that can get through the door at Brunton Park and stay there are yet to show themselves. Do they even exist?

This, I’m afraid, will go down as another of those deeply dissatisfying sagas that take forever to generate nothing (other than debt). The difference this time is that the Blues are in greater peril on the pitch than they have been for many years.

Hence: it would be unwise for anyone in power to expect today’s announcements to be tucked into the bottom drawer and then left there with a shrug. Carlisle United are too near the precipice for people to accept this as just the latest deal that didn’t come off.

The mood will be at best underwhelmed, at worst more scathing still, as a result of today’s Holdings board statement and the response from supporters’ trust CUOSC. It will not lift without the “substantive” news the owners say will be delivered when the time is right (which decade this might be is not stated).

After all, this latest news – like me, you may have fallen clean off your chair at reading so many words from the board of CUFC Holdings all of a sudden – leaves the same question dangling as it has since 2008, when these owners moved into office: what on earth happens next?

Cut through all the words, all the explanations, all the apportioning of blame and handling of responsibility, and this is Carlisle United: stuck in time, stuck in debt, a better future still stubbornly out of reach.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill, once they set up a “loan facility” to help the club in 2017, have been the only tale in town regarding “succession” since then. More than four years on, via a couple of proposals, the installation of associates of Day into the club and great swathes of silence, and United are back where they started: in considerable debt to a party who won’t be running the show, with no immediate sense of who’s going to take the Blues forward and deal with the overdue voids there: the stadium issue, the lack of vision, the deep scepticism many fans have about so much that occurs behind those three triangles on Warwick Road.

As one traces back through semi-recent events which have led us here it is very hard not to headbutt the nearest table hard. United, in 2015, were in seemingly positive investment talks with a group fronted by Andrew Lapping, former owner Fred Story having written off considerable debts to help facilitate a new start.

That was ditched at the last amid some heated allegations. Then we had the Yahya Kirdi farce - the right word - when hundreds of days were required to discover that the former pizza tycoon was not, after all, the right man to steer the Blues.

Then came the more substantial figures of Day and EWM, bailing the Blues out after a period of heavy spending which had failed to achieve promotion and swell crowds. Swiftly came the broader, deeper EWM influences: their finance man on the board (John Jackson), a friend of Day (David Holdsworth) installed as director of football, another business associate (Kevin Dobinson) arriving into a commercial role, and a cold eye applied to United’s finances.

This was more than just friendly help. It had the appearance of new foundations on which a new United could eventually rise. Yet somewhere in the mechanism, the prospect of takeover stalled. EFL requirements appear to be one flashing light which, for some reason, halted the car.

The notion of superficial change, rather than outright transfer of control, also put CUOSC off this May according to their statement. What Philip Day makes of the unfolded situation is a question many have been asking since 2017 – and, if the approach of those years remains consistent, may well stay unanswered.

Day, speaking to the Sunday Times several years back, suggested that United “might not exist” without his sponsorship. That implied a level of care about a community institution. This did not extend to widely communicating with that community about what wider plans for Carlisle United might look like – something that, reading between the lines, didn’t appeal to the supporters’ trust, and would not have found much favour with the principles on ownership promoted by the recent Crouch Review.

As ever, the floor is clear for those hitherto silent to explain what’s what. As for the future, every last thing hinges on one or two dominant matters. The first is the debt: how is it dealt with? Can the Blues expect benevolence from Purepay Retail Limited? What is now in it for them to make United’s life as simple as possible? What if a more challenging, longer-term route is set on this?

And then: who out there is ready (and also acceptable to a fans' trust with its own power/clout issues) to take control of this flagging football club, consign these years of “custodianship” to history and deliver credible plans, fresh finance and new ambition to a place that, if it’s not careful, is going to need more than a reset come the summer of 2022.

The Holdings board say the club is financially stable and directors are focused on helping Keith Millen and his team. Today’s announcements, though, cannot be the end of something. They simply have to be the starting pistol on a further, focused series of discussions that sort out Carlisle United once and for all.

These, after all, are pivotal times in this football club’s history. If the Blues stay stuck in the past much longer they might find they’re there for good.