As well as being an eerie sign of what was to come, the picture inside Carlisle United's reception was, to Keith Curle, an emblem of a club whose priorities were badly askew.

Nobody would wish to downplay the significance of the 2005 floods on Carlisle - nor 2015's equivalent - but the new manager took issue with the image of a submerged Brunton Park so close to the stadium's main entrance.

As visitors walked through the glass doors, there it was on the left: a framed, aerial shot of United's old ground awash with gallons of brown water.

Curle did not like what this said about his new employer. The manager has changed a good deal about Cumbria's only professional football club in his two years in charge - and has now got his way with the photograph.

"It's two years now, but it doesn’t even seem like a week since I walked into the building and got met with [that] picture of the flood," Curle says.

"That is something else that is changing. It's not going to be the welcome now in the football club.

"Yes, it's a talking point inside the corridors, but we don't want it in reception. There's more to this football club than devastation."

When Curle was hired in September 2014, he would have done well to try that last line on any fan without hearing a bark of laughter. While United had travelled nearly a decade from the flood by the time he replaced Graham Kavanagh, there was a sense of the Blues having been wrecked in other, footballing senses.

On the pitch, a slow decline had hit a steep trajectory: relegated from League One, and then a winless shambles at the bottom of League Two. Behind the scenes, Curle observed a club set in its ways and in urgent need of fumigation.

Bad decisions had taken a painful toll, yet old conventions remained. This is the landscape Curle paints when asked to sum up his two-year anniversary - a time which has seen initial periods of turbulence followed by a more optimistic feel generally, and a better season last term.

This current one is still awaiting its catalyst, Carlisle drawing games they should be winning, but a lack of defeats in 2016/17 is perhaps the best indication of progress over the last 24 eventful months.

Was it, then, a poisoned chalice that he received in 2014? It is a phrase Curle accepts, "with a little bit of sarcasm" - nobody forced him to take the job - but with a longer explanation on what he initially found at Brunton Park.

"It was a difficult football club to manage when I first came in, because there was a lot of talk within the city and club about what was going on behind the scenes," he says.

"There were lot of disgruntled people. I've got to say, there's now a lot of people enjoying the football club, enjoying the working environment we've created, and the work we're trying to produce.

"That's pleasing. It doesn’t happen overnight and you don’t turn heads just from pointing and shouting and screaming at other people, to pointing, cheering, celebrating and applauding your team.

"It's taken us two years to get people focused on what we're trying to do on and off the field."

Curle is a rapid talker, who can breeze his way along a subject before you have had the chance to inspect his words for fact or flannel. His verbal quirks are well-known - asking himself a question and then answering it is a routine feature of his press conferences - but he also has an entirely approachable demeanour when it comes to media duties.

This is different to some predecessors, who would appear ready to take a bite out of a hack who asked a question that went near to the bone. Curle's style is to meet them all with an even temper and often a light-hearted flourish. When his tactics were repeatedly queried at Blackpool after Saturday's 2-2 draw, he finished his final, lengthy answer by saying: "Maybe the pies were my fault as well."

Publicly at least, he treats the twin impostors equally. It may be difficult to know the man behind this persona but as United's public face he does seem comfortable in his skin.

On his two-year path here, he skims along with barely a pause. "Some people just say that you only get results [through your work] on the pitch, and in some respects they're right, but a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to give us the best opportunity.

"I'm personally very thankful for the support I've got, not only from the stakeholders, but other people inside the club. I know that when I came in, I upset a few people, because I demanded things to be done differently.

"Other people [previously] have asked for things to be done differently and they haven't been, but I came in with a remit that, for me to be able to be successful, things need to be done my way, and please give me the opportunity.

"I've got to say, a lot of people have helped me along that way, and changed things they've been doing for a long time, to come on board with me. I'm very respectful of that and very thankful of that."

These remarks cover a swathe of individual decisions Curle has taken. Among them: the introduction of a scouting network headed by his No2 Lee Dykes; the reorganising of dressing room areas; stated boundaries inside the club where certain people can and cannot cross; the consolidation of Creighton as a training base.

A shaking-up of the squad he inherited also attracted attention. There were the controversial extra-training episodes involving ostracised players. One or two old sacred cows were dispatched in haste.

There were football staff who also found friction with Curle's approach. In the first 12 months of his reign one would regularly stumble across Carlisle United people who had critical and sometimes scathing words to say about the new boss.

Today, this is less so, and while United still not entirely sure of their League Two path while there are all these draws, it cannot be denied that two years of Curle have changed the tone.

The financial support that has enabled him to do this is another subject. It goes deeper into the debate about how the Blues are funded, how it shapes the future outlook, and what should be expected of a manager who seemed to be backed with decent funds in the summer.

United's general improvement has certainly helped keep the "billionaire" and other investment topics in in the background for certain periods. That won't always be the case.

It would be wrong, too, to say that everyone has signed up to his creed. Some fans feel he tinkers too much, refuses to settle on a plan for long enough. Others argue he sticks to other mantras for too long (his liking for long throws an example). Criticism after United torched their two-goal lead at Blackpool was as pointed as it has got so far this season.

That may be a backhanded compliment about his summer recruitment, for this Carlisle team are felt to have more ability than several previous versions. In other words - it is down to the manager to ensure they deliver.

A certain restlessness is essential, he seems to believe. "There's a growing belief that we're a professional unit that has got high standards, and we're creating a demanding environment at all levels, not just the playing side," Curle says.

"But I want more. I want more money, better players, better facilities. Everything I've got a chance of improving, I want improvement.

"That's how I strive, and that's the burning desire I've got. I bug the life out of the stakeholders at the football club, because I want to improve everything.

"If there are better players out there, I want them. If there's money available, I want it. I can't change that. As soon as I stop asking, we've got to be in the Premier League, and we've got to be top."

The real world tends to be a colder place - especially in League Two, which must be exhausting at times - but it's no comparison with what Curle experienced before he first willingly strode into Brunton Park, flood photography and all, two years and two days ago.

It may be this that drives him, professionally at least. "When I got the sack [at Notts County], I spent 18 months out of the game," he says. "For a football person, who lives for the environment of football, that seemed an absolute lifetime."