Carlisle United co-owner Steven Pattison last night described the appointment of the club’s former director of football as a move aimed at “appeasing” would-be owners.

David Holdsworth was at the club from the summer of 2018 until February this year.

His involvement was the subject of questions from supporters at the Blues’ latest fans’ forum.

United owners and directors were quizzed on how Holdsworth – who is close to Edinburgh Woollen Mill businessman Philip Day – came to join the club.

It happened at a time EWM were giving United financial support in the form of loans, with the Blues hoping they would eventually take the club over.

Responding to questions about the appointment of a DoF, Pattison said: “It was suggested by EWM that’s what we needed.

READ MORE: Carlisle United directors fans' forum - as it happened!

“We went along with it to appease the future owners of the club. That’s the short answer.”

Asked further if Holdsworth was, then, put forward by EWM, Pattison said: “Initially, yes.”

EWM's planned takeover of United did not ultimately go through.

Holdsworth left the club in February along with manager Keith Millen on the day Paul Simpson returned to Brunton Park.

His involvement at United, and the circumstances of his departure, were the subjects of further comments from fans and directors at the supporters’ group-hosted forum at Brunton Park.

Pattison’s fellow owner John Nixon, along with chief executive Nigel Clibbens, attempted to paint a balanced picture of Holdsworth’s performance.

Nixon said Holdsworth had played an important role in helping Carlisle United stem some of the spending which had got them into financial difficulty.

“David came in and helped us negotiate prices of players coming in, lower, and helped with that turnaround, definitely, in making a more positive cashflow,” Nixon said.

“He also helped considerably on negotiations when youth players went out, the likes of [Jarrad] Branthwaite and others.

“He did some really good stuff as well. He contributed towards that. We can’t take that away from him. He helped us in turning that negative cash thing round, so fair dos.

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“But we needed to move on from there. We were sitting in February [near the] bottom of the table thinking, ‘This is not going right again, we’ve committed to a bigger budget, we haven’t got bigger and better players, something’s gone wrong’.

“We had to make that change, it was a collective change. But we cannot take everything away.

“He was put in for what some people believed to be the right reasons. I’m not going to go into all the background and discussions, but initially it paid off.

“Life’s a bit like that. Not everybody is all good and all bad. There’s a bit of each in all of us. We all do things for the right reasons, I think.”

Clibbens, meanwhile, said it was important not to “rewrite history” over Holdsworth’s time at the club, and stressed the ex-DoF had not been responsible for identifying signings.

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“David made it clear all along that his role was to do the financial deals in respect of the football side,” Clibbens said.

“A key role of David was to come in and ensure the club didn’t overspend.

“If you go back to John Sheridan’s time, when David first arrived [in 2018], John said ‘I identify the players’ – and that continued from day one.

“Even in February [this year], in one of David’s last interviews, he said he had little involvement in identifying players. His role was doing the deals.”

Billy Atkinson, from supporters’ trust CUOSC, said that board-manager discussions were now easier since the February changes.

Amid a discussion on Simpson’s interaction with directors, the trust man said: “You’ve got to remember it’s been more difficult because we’ve had a middle man for some considerable time.

News and Star: Nigel Clibbens said Paul Simpson, pictured below right with chairman Andrew Jenkins, is "relaxed" about conversations about managerial performance (photo: Amy Nixon)Nigel Clibbens said Paul Simpson, pictured below right with chairman Andrew Jenkins, is "relaxed" about conversations about managerial performance (photo: Amy Nixon)

“That’s out of the equation now so there’s direct access.”

Clibbens went on to describe Simpson as the “most relaxed and comfortable” in his life and role as any manager he had come across.

It came as he discussed how managers’ performances were reviewed.

“Most managers you speak to can be very nervous about conversations like that,” he said.

“Paul’s a completely different character. He is so comfortable with where he is, he’s relaxed about it, so you can have these conversations.

“He doesn’t see them as threats. He genuinely is club-first.”