Check out our picture gallery above of former Carlisle United skipper Kevin Gray in action on and off the pitch...

He was a rock in defence - and the captain who epitomised Carlisle United's transformation.

Kevin Gray was one of the most influential Blues players and skippers of recent times.

The centre-half will forever be associated with United's dramatic upturn in the mid-2000s.

The former Mansfield and Huddersfield player joined the Cumbrians in November 2003 after a disappointing spell at Tranmere.

He immediately turned around his own fortunes and United's as he brought strength and steel to Paul Simpson's side who were fighting against the odds to try and stay in the Football League.

United narrowly failed to pull off a remarkable escape - but they bounced immediately back up from the Conference the following season.

Gray was appointed skipper during that 2004/5 campaign and lifted the trophy at Stoke's Britannia Stadium after Peter Murphy's goal against Stevenage earned victory in the play-off final.

Things got even better the following season when Simpson's side marched to the 2005/6 League Two title, with Gray again at the forefront with his robust defending and authoritative captaincy.

He lifted the title trophy at Brunton Park as the team returned to Carlisle following their last game of the season at Stockport.

Gray remained a regular part of the side for much of the 2006/7 season under Neil McDonald.

He was eventually released that summer after a hugely memorable time with the Blues which amounted to 145 appearances and 12 goals.

He moved on to Chesterfield and later briefly joined Workington but injury prevented the defender from turning out for the west Cumbrians.

He returned to Brunton Park in later years during retirement, appearing in Peter Murphy's testimonial game in 2012.

Now 49, the Yorkshireman's standing among Blues fans will forever be high.