Imagine what Carlisle United could have done with someone of his pace and wing ability on Saturday...

As his former club toiled to defeat against Blackpool, ex-United wide man Simon Hackney returned to familiar ground.

The man who was a key part of their 2005/06 League Two title winning side under Paul Simpson was United's special guest at the game.

News and Star: Simon Hackney carries out the Golden Gamble drawSimon Hackney carries out the Golden Gamble draw (Image: Ben Holmes)

Hackney, 40, appeared in the club's Legends Lounge where he took part in a Q&A session hosted by supporter liaison officer Simon Clarkson.

The former fans' favourite then appeared on the pitch for the half-time Golden Gamble draw, before having a crack at the crossbar challenge in front of the Warwick Road End.

Hackney, who caught up with his former manager Simpson before the game, received a warm reception from fans as his return revived memories of a positive spell in a blue shirt.

News and Star: Hackney, 40, was United's guest on SaturdayHackney, 40, was United's guest on Saturday (Image: Barbara Abbott)

He joined United from non-league Woodley Sports during the 2004/-5 Conference season.

The exciting winger remained with the club until January 2009.

By then he had made 139 appearances and scored 17 goals for the Cumbrians.

In that time he helped the Blues clinch a second successive promotion as they swept to the League Two championship under Simpson in 2005/06.

News and Star: Hackney celebrates a goal for Carlisle in 2006Hackney celebrates a goal for Carlisle in 2006 (Image: News & Star)

Hackney then remained a key player in the League One sides of Neil McDonald and John Ward, including United's promotion push in 2007/08 which was dashed in the play-offs.

That campaign saw the winger score arguably his most memorable United goal in a 3-1 comeback win over Leeds United at a packed Brunton Park.

After the first half of the 2008/09 campaign under Ward and his successor Greg Abbott, Hackney was sold to Colchester United.

He also went on to play for Morecambe, Oxford United, Rochdale, Hereford and Stockport County.

Hackney left the professional game at 29 and, in recent years, has established a successful fitness, health and wellbeing business in Stockport.