When it comes to pre-season fans’ forums, a few golden rules normally apply.

Firstly, the manager is usually deemed to have “spoken well”.

Secondly, appeals for optimism are routinely tabled.

These aspects are easily put into a play at a time in June or July when the league standings say Played None, Lost None. Few people object. Most go away with at least some sense of good intentions.

At Carlisle United over recent years, alas, such sound and comfortable thoughts have often been submerged. The constructive talk from the top table in the Sunset Suite has been quickly forgotten by the time the Blues have got down to the unfortunate business of getting beaten far too often.

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

As such, drawing too much juice from a fans’ forum is usually a bad idea. However, the first six paragraphs of this article are a long-winded build-up to us doing exactly that anyway.

The reason? Paul Simpson.

We already knew Simpson was a credible speaker. We already had confidence he would talk in an entirely convincing manner about the work being undertaken right now as well as the aims ahead.

We knew, from the recent uplift since he returned to Brunton Park in February, that he has a proper handle on what’s right and what’s not at Carlisle United here in 2022.

We sensed long ago that he would be entirely the correct person to place his hand on the tiller at a club in sore need of improvement and success.

All the same. That feeling of reassurance spreading through the room and across internet connections last night was all these things being underlined afresh, in a new training top.

Simmo’s at the wheel. And thank goodness for that.

What the Blues have here - and this cannot be understated - is their most popular manager for years; a huge selling point, in fact, for everything they are going to attempt in the name of making Carlisle United better.

There was, at the forum, talk of businesses making a positive return to Brunton Park. This is the Simmo effect in action.

There was then the finer detail when the manager’s judgement on trialists, signings, tactics, training and coaches came into play.

Each answer came with a calm but also gently ruthless bearing. An air of maximum commitment and dedication was present. The sense was very much that Simpson, as he has said, is inserting himself lock-stock back into the club of his home city with the intention of raising its sights and standards.

READ MORE: Carlisle United boss Paul Simpson spells out key transfer priority

There were, crucially, no airy promises, no pledges that United would be gallivanting at the top of League Two without doing the hard bit first, no cosy projection of flawless management all the time. There was an admission that this is a certain moment in terms of squad rebuilding. A number of windows will be needed to set things straight.

Often an attempt to rebrand pre-season as a time of transition in this way can be a swerve. Yet if anyone has earned the right for that attitude to be met with faith, and a mature patience, it is Simpson.

Truly, you need to listen to him only for a few minutes to realise why Carlisle United’s directors leapt upon this opportunity as quickly as they did – and rightly so – placing the club’s future in this 55-year-old’s hands, asking him to show them the way, instead of being buffeted by various events, influences and a curiously changing climate over recent years.

Simpson’s appeal (echoed by chief executive Nigel Clibbens) for people’s focus to be firmly trained on football, rather than “politics”, at Brunton Park also deserves a sympathetic hearing.

The man is too wise to expect all the debate and questions about debt, Purepay and so on to fade into the ether. They won’t stop being asked by the News & Star and nor, on the evidence of the forum, will fans be content to sit back and allow events to unfold without them being probed regularly and prominently.

READ MORE: The quality Carlisle United boss Paul Simpson will surely still look to add to his evolving squad

That is right and proper. Not every question, headline or debating point can be about matters on the green grass. The very shape of Carlisle United remains tightly linked to that debt business. No modern fanbase lets that stuff slip into the shadows; it won’t happen here.

Simpson, though, still deserves to be followed when he touched on the good vibes and good feelings present just now. This is still, as Clibbens has said, an opportunity for United to grasp.

It is a perfect storm of popularity, uplift, boosted community spirits and the sense that Carlisle, with the outstanding backing they got in the closing months of last season, have the ability to rediscover some lost vibrancy.

Which is another way of saying: if we can’t all launch ourselves alongside Paul Simpson, and make 2022/23 a lively Cumbrian pageant around League Two’s many outposts, we may live to regret letting quite the most superb bandwagon rattle on by.

So yes – the man did speak well. He did call for optimism. With Simmo, though, these were not cheap things to throw into the air in an average summer. They were grounds, once more in these pivotal days, for hope.