The board goes up. The LED lights indicate your number. You begin the slow, resigned jog from the pitch. And – what’s that? Ah yes, thought so. People are cheering.

There can be few lonelier places as a footballer than the sound of celebration from your own supporters at the sight of your substitution. Hallam Hope, for Carlisle United, got an earful of that at Rochdale last week.

It is not the first time the forward has encountered this in a Blues career that has not always been showered with love. This latest occasion, though, it was easier to appreciate why Carlisle’s paying followers reacted in this way.

Even Steven Pressley, who like most managers usually seeks to protect his players, did not go on the defensive at Spotland. “It’s their club, they support them, and if they think a player’s future lies elsewhere, you can understand their frustration,” he said.

Hope would have to win them over with performances, United’s boss added – yet nobody should pretend this will be an easy road either.

The 25-year-old, it has been well-documented, was open to a route out of Brunton Park this summer. He attracted interest, but not convincing offers, from clubs in Leagues One and Two.

Deadline day passed without a move, Hope remains at Brunton Park and it would be foolish to expect any supporter to throw bouquets at a player who has made it so plain that he was up for leaving.

Yet, between now and January, or the summer, all parties are going to have to get along to some degree. No positive purpose is served by Hope being made an outcast, even if many might passionately argue that such isolation would be of his own making.

Pressley was right this week when he said little further talking is necessary, and that Hope must simply “refocus” and start producing after a period of uncertainty. This is the least that should be expected of any player under a contract he willingly signed.

When the forward returns from Barbados he will probably know where he stands with United’s fanbase. Some won’t be shifted in their view even if he starts scoring goals at a decent rate again.

That is a test of any player’s psychological armour. In football perceptions can be powerful and long-lasting, even if the individual regards them as unfair.

A vulnerable mind can be damaged by the flak. Consider Karl Hawley, who scored 26 goals for Carlisle in 2005/6 yet the following season, as he deliberated on his own future, found that his hero status was becoming tarnished.

Like Hope, Hawley felt he could play higher. He opted to run his contract down so he could entertain new options, and spent the closing weeks of that campaign on the bench, with a perception he was no longer as committed.

“I hated that time, absolutely hated it,” he said this year. “You can have a skin as thick as a crocodile’s, but with all the things people were saying about me, I was a state.”

This, infamously, culminated in a reckless drinking episode at United’s end-of-season dinner. It took years before Hawley fully confronted the reasons why he did that. At Carlisle he had superbly overcome self-doubt but now it was back in spades. His career never rocketed as he had hoped.

Hope may not have been as prolific as Hawley but he was as close as the Blues got to a marksman last season, scoring 15. Both cases make you wonder about the way certain situations are handled, or presented – and how things can easily run loose in a game of the emotions.

Hawley did not deserve to be painted as an aloof refusenik but the label stuck. Hope, too, is surely a more rounded character than the caricature being drawn now: of a player who wants to be anywhere but here and won’t lift a leg for the cause.

He has never, in my experience, come across as anything other than a good pro. One cannot judge a player on these encounters alone but he has always been entirely fair and decent to deal with, and proud of the good things he achieves.

Hearing him talk about his Bajan background and international status, for instance, was a joy. Until this summer – when he has not yet been available for interview – he has always seemed sufficiently plugged into his profession and his club.

Something plainly changed in order for him to look beyond Brunton Park yet the way things have unfolded makes one question what has been whispered in his ear. Clearly the confidence to express a wish to move on was not accompanied by the right manoeuvres. A player should always be his own boss but the right guidance in a complex and volatile marketplace is always worth a young man having.

Dashed hopes, a lame deadline-day bid and heightened supporter scepticism does not reflect well on efforts to steer Hope’s career and this may be worth reflecting on as the next, trickier part of his United time approaches.

In pre-season he initially seemed a driven man, his eyes fixed on bigger things, scoring brilliantly against Hibernian. Then, though, came that irrational red card at Chester and, as the diluted transfer saga approached its end game, the squandering of two great chances, against Salford and Rochdale.

That was not the work of a player in perfect harmony and hopefully the Caribbean air will have a refreshing effect. While he’s unlikely to be adored from here, it would be a shame if at least some of the recent nonsense cannot be cut away, so we can again see the good player who served Carlisle well last season.