One of the first victims of bad times at football clubs is communication. As such Reading fans are marching against, rather than hearing from, Dai Yongge.

At Sheffield Wednesday, similar frustrations. BBC Radio Sheffield were, according to their presenter, this week offered an elusive interview with Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri, but only if they could source a Thai interpreter in a four-hour window.

Why such a short timeframe was presented for a such an evident logistical challenge is not clear. Either way, it’s hardly evidence of a totally open book in terms of dialogue and disclosure.

And this, really, is among the acid tests of ownership. It’s easy to be friendly and charming on day one, or when things are motoring smoothly. It’s when reality bites that you get a real measure of who’s in charge.

One sacking. That’s how far it got before Michael Knighton’s halo started slipping at Carlisle. After the removal of Mervyn Day in September 1997, the sense was of an illusion popped.

From there it was a gradual and eventually steep decline into controversy and rancour. Knighton did not stop talking as such, but what he said was no longer laced with the glittering and innocent promises of old.

It became an embattled situation and the second half of his reign was crisis-ridden. Differing scenarios have played out since, from the boisterous John Courtenay tenure to the more grounded progress of Fred Story’s ownership, followed by the current regime which, after 15 variable years, is not long for this world.

The present owners started with a certain inclination towards openness via the short-lived chief executive David Allen in 2008, but since then they have spoken less, incrementally. John Nixon, for instance, used to give semi-regular media interviews but has not done for years now.

News and Star: The Piatak family - including Alice, Tom II and Jenna Piatak and Nick DeMasi - have played the PR game well so farThe Piatak family - including Alice, Tom II and Jenna Piatak and Nick DeMasi - have played the PR game well so far (Image: Barbara Abbott)

While Nigel Clibbens, the chief executive, has made it his business to share with supporters, the owners remain just about the last people left for us to hear from about the Piatak takeover. On some level they are restricted by the EFL’s guidance for clubs not to trumpet change-of-control news until things are resolved.

At the same time, that didn’t stop Clibbens giving decent disclosure to the London Branch a couple of weeks ago. At some stage it would be welcome to hear from those selling United why they are selling it to whom they’re selling it.

Until then, the Piataks can continue to present themselves as a point of difference in various ways. This far into a process which is approaching its endgame, it is hard to think of an episode where they’ve put a foot wrong.

The Americans did not instantly court cheap publicity for their plans, as others in the past have done. They set about negotiations with the club privately, which is generally the best way.

Their initial public presence was not completely confidential, given the family’s social media activity and their presence in directors’ boxes. Yet there remained tact in their talks – and, from such time that they were ready to divulge with the rest of us, their methods have been impeccable.

The tone of their statements, via Castle Sports Group, has been positive with an initial sidecar of caution. It is hard to think of a more thorough presentation on the state and future of United than Tom Piatak snr gave to CUOSC’s members’ meeting in September.

Through semi-regular updates on X, the Piataks also know how to tease, how to tickle fans’ taste-buds, how to build anticipation. They have even shown a sensitivity towards English terminology, switching from 11/25 to 25/11 in the space of two tweets pointing towards the date when things could be done. Their attendance at United games is now accompanied by photographers' lenses which they embrace, not shy from.

All these things reflect a certain smartness as the glare grows. Their popularity, before even getting through the door, is high. Amid the talk of ‘quick wins’ – ideas sought by the supporters' trust to improve Brunton Park – the Piataks have led the way with a series of PR victories.

And should they run Carlisle like this, with the same savvy, the same transparency, the same accessibility, then the prospects are genuinely exciting. It will come down to the doing, of course, but the saying plays a fundamental part too.

In an era of aloof football club owners, there is the chance for the Florida family to be exceptions, something fans elsewhere have reason to envy. Yet this will have to be tested not just in the initial, celebratory days, but when the newness has gone too.

A good question asked at the London Branch meeting with Clibbens was what the first 100 days under the Piataks might look like. A deeper question is what the first three years, say, might resemble.

Ideally the Jacksonville dollars and business acumen will seriously propel Carlisle. At some stage, though, the Piataks will have to handle a relegation, a managerial sacking and the accompanying questions as to their competence. It comes to all owners and only then will we gauge the firmness of their hold.

News and Star: Wrexham's American owners leaned on Shaun Harvey, centre, for guidance in English footballWrexham's American owners leaned on Shaun Harvey, centre, for guidance in English football (Image: PA)

Among the other fascinations, meanwhile, is who they listen to, who they trust most closely in their virgin days on English football’s soil. They have made it clear they are not for turfing out staff, while some present directors will remain.

Yet hard judgement on these areas, once they are in charge, will still be engrossing. Carlisle, Paul Simpson repeated this week, have “stood still” for many recent years. So who will the Piataks back to get the wheels moving, and who will they conclude have applied too many brakes? Who will they take knowledge from – in the way Wrexham’s American owners have leaned on Shaun Harvey, of all people – and whose views will be deemed dispensable?

In the name of making all this a success, one struggles to imagine a lax approach on the above. It is also easy, given the apparent credibility and transparency accompanying their vision, to envisage good and major new times for the Blues just around the next bend.

If we’re saying many of the same things later as we are at this tantalising moment, then so very much the better.