For all the promises, the smooth-talk, the polished Knightonian interviews, the times you really knew Carlisle United had changed were often when Martin Hudson was around.

As owner, chairman and chief executive, Knighton was certainly something the moribund Blues had not seen before. Yet so, in a similar but also different way, was Hudson.

Brunton Park had certainly never had its commercial potential tapped by someone with a London fashion past. The possibilities of club-branded kit, leisurewear and other merchandise remained largely in their box until Hudson opened eyes.

The era when Carlisle became outward-facing instead of introspective can be traced to that mid-1990s period. If the best years of Knighton were delivered through a megaphone, Hudson was an eloquent accomplice with a microphone and a canny eye.

He had the poise and easy bearing of someone his background would suggest. His style was unlike that normally observed in traditional corridors of Fourth Division football clubs. His ideas, such as adopting the club’s own leisure brand and allowing fans to vote on a new kit design, were also fresh and ambitious.

United, skint at the time Knighton arrived in 1992, had known many eras of hard toil, but people like Hudson came with polish; a new open-mindedness, a modern belief that a club could be confident, colourful, attractive, saleable, bold.

Carlisle were none of these things in the hard-up era that went before. The Knighton transformation, as we know, could not be sustained but the memories of the best of it are of something that had been refreshed and relaunched, to a supporting public who had yearned for something exactly like that.

On top of that, Hudson was also warm, friendly company, and so it was with great sadness that news was shared of his death at 61 after a short illness. His pivotal place in the history of his beloved Blues will always be assured.