Now into the third week of his second stint with the club, and with a haul of nine points from nine, manager Paul Simpson was able to reflect this week on what had been a hectic return to his hometown stomping ground.
“Am I enjoying it – I think I’m probably going to have to say yes,” he confirmed. “I hope I’m still enjoying it at 5pm on Saturday.
“My feet are touching the ground a little bit now, I’m starting to settle down, but it’s been absolutely crazy. The first 10 days or so were full tilt, but I’ve made a conscious decision that I came back here early this week, and I won’t be going back home until after the Barrow game.
“I just think I need to get my head round everything and I need to be prepared for it all. Jacqui’s come up for a few days, she’ll go back to work next week, but we’ve just said for whatever’s left, eight weeks, there’s nothing else that really matters.
“I’ve got to just make sure this is right, settle up here, do what I need to do, I’m getting home for a day after the Barrow game, I’ll have the Sunday at home and then come back on the Monday ready to go again.
“This is the most important thing at this moment in time, as far as we’re concerned. Obviously we all want to stay healthy and that sort of stuff, and I want the boys to all stay healthy and in their jobs and do ok, but as far as me and Jacqui are concerned, the most important is we get this right and we get the results that keep us in the Football League, and if that’s the case, I’d like to think something else would come afterwards.”
“Like I say, my feet are starting to touch the ground a little bit now,” he added. “The first two weeks were a bit of a whirlwind but I’ve got myself settled back into the area, the route into the ground each morning is like groundhog day after however many years.
“I’m starting to feel settled into it now. I’m really pleased with the staff and how they’ve helped me settle in as well. We’ve got a good group of people who are all pulling in the right direction and wanting the same things. As a manager that makes life so much easier.
“It’s about a whole group of people, all of the players and staff as far as Emma in the laundry or Sam who does the cleaning, everybody together will achieve something if we’re all pulling in the right direction.
“That’s really what we’re trying to do for this short period of time, total focus to get some results and a positive feeling. It sounds like we’re going to get a good crowd this weekend, so we need to make sure they want to come back for the next game.”
The reaction to the new boss on a personal has been like nothing seen before, and it brought a wry smile when asked how being made to feel so welcome had been for him and his family.
“It’s a really strange one, it’s wrong to say I don’t like it because I’d obviously rather have that than be booed off the pitch every week,” he replied. “It’s just one of those things.
“I think the one thing I’ve learned as I’ve got older is that during my first time here, even though I didn’t say it, deep down I did like that.
“I probably used to sit at home and think about how nice it was, but I don’t really think that now. I don’t know what it is, whether I’ve become a bit cynical or what, but it’s obviously lovely.
“If that positive effect helps the players, then brilliant, because that’s all I’m here for, to help them. Whether that’s with little bits of information, or helping to create the environment that the fans have created.
“It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it helps them. I’ve said this before, but I didn’t get success here the first time around or a lovely World Cup winners medal because of me, it’s because I had good players.
“It’s got to be the players. Don’t get me wrong, if something doesn’t work out then I’ll take the blame, but we’re in this together.”
“A test for them will be how they react if we do come up against a bump,” he continued. “We had a little bump last week with the penalty, then going behind so close to half-time with a really scruffy goal.
“The reaction second half was excellent, and that’s what we need to do. When it does come, we need to put it to bed. When someone makes a mistake, everybody knows it’s a mistake, but you don’t need to tell the whole world about it, just make sure the next thing is right.
“If the bump comes, I hope it’s not in one of these two home games or Barrow away, I can’t tell you who is after that because I’m just focused on the next three, but let’s see what happens.
“We’ve got to make sure we pick up enough points, give a good performance, and usually if the performance is right then the results come along with it.
“I’m confident the players have shown they’ve got that resilience, and confident the ability’s coming out even more, we have to nail it as much as we can and get every last drop of ability and everything out of them.”
And speaking again about his own close ties to the area, he said: “It’s massively personal to me. Carlisle United is a huge part of my life.
“I know I’ve been away from Carlisle for a long time, from sort of 16 through to whatever age I was when I came back here the last time, then I’ve had another spell away.
“This is still my home city, my club that I supported as a kid. So I do feel as if I have a real personal affinity with it. That’s on that side of it.
“On the career side of it, the way it was going for me in terms of getting another job, another management job, I had to take a gamble.
“And this was a gamble to come here, because if it doesn’t work, the chances are I won’t get another job anywhere. If it does work, I’ve reminded people I am still around.
“Another side is I’ve just reminded myself I can do it. I’m not saying I’m brilliant by any stretch, but I can do it.
“I’ve learned how to handle a group of people, how to work with a group of staff and have a bit of empathy with a group of staff with what’s involved in football. Hopefully come the end of the season, people will still be talking positively about me, and we’ll see what happens after that.”