Numerous tributes have been paid to Glenn Roeder following his death at the age of 65 yesterday, but what has been a constant throughout is the recognition of his qualities as a person as well as a classy defender who became one of the top coaches of his generation.

Roeder, who managed Watford from 1993 to 1996 having previously spent two seasons at Vicarage Road as a player, passed away following a long battle with a brain tumour.

The Watford Observer’s long-serving Hornets correspondent Oliver Phillips has paid tribute to “a lovely man, a gentleman, a devotee of the beautiful game, knowing Glenn was an uplifting experience”, while another media colleague and friend Mike Vince described Roeder as “one of the most decent people I have ever worked with”.

Read more: Former Watford FC manager Glenn Roeder has died

This newspaper’s former assistant editor, who covered all of Roeder’s time at Vicarage Road as player and manager, reflected: “When it comes to managers, history looks at results and achievements in which case Glenn Roeder’s stint at the helm of Vicarage Road is unimpressive. Yet I remember him fondly for there never was a more honest or genuine man to occupy that often uncomfortable chair.

“'Long Body’ as he was affectionately known to some sections of the fan-base, was famous for his step-over trick and marshalled the defence as a player under Steve Harrison and Steve Perryman before becoming coach and then travelling to Italy, dubbed Paul Gascoigne’s ‘minder’. He spent three months absorbing the Italian training and coaching techniques before heading back to the UK, admitting privately that Gazza was not the easiest to keep on the straight and narrow.

“He returned to Vicarage Road via an average stint as manager at Gillingham in an era when Watford habitually flirted with relegation. He was regarded as an unambitious appointment but he steered the Hornets to survival in the first season and then to seventh place with some delightful football the following campaign - epitomised by the mercurial Craig Ramage. His reign was shadowed by one big mistake: the £425,000 he paid Millwall for Jamie Moralee, one of the biggest and most expensive failures in Watford’s history.

“He had the added difficulty of working under owner Jack Petchey and when the former chairman failed to answer his manager’s calls, Roeder was forced to give up on signing permanently, the on-loan striker Paul Wilkinson as the club battled against relegation.

“'He hasn’t answered my calls. He must have found a way of taking his money with him into the next life,’ was Glenn’s observation on Petchey’s parsimonious policies.

“The inevitable axe fell and there were no tears for Glenn and his departure as the fans delighted in the return of Graham Taylor. He departed unmourned but as his henchman Kenny Jackett commented: ‘You know Glenn. You couldn’t get a more honest man in football.’

“A lovely man, a gentleman, a devotee of the beautiful game, knowing Glenn was an uplifting experience. It is not just his wife Faith and family who are poorer for his passing. He set an example of integrity against which many in the game could not and do not hold a candle.”

Glenn Roeder during his time at the Norwich City helm. Photo: PA

Glenn Roeder during his time at the Norwich City helm. Photo: PA

Born in Woodford, Essex, Roeder’s reputation as an impressive ball-playing defender was formed at Leyton Orient who he joined after being released by Arsenal as a youngster. He moved across London to Queens Park Rangers in 1978, where he captained them to the 1982 FA Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur and the Second Division title the following year.

One of the first players to became known for using the step over – the ‘Roeder shuffle’ – he then moved north to Newcastle United, who he was also to captain and lead to promotion from the Second Division in 1984.

Roeder became Watford’s oldest signing for 24 years when he moved to Vicarage Road on a free transfer in 1989, but he was to miss only one game in his first season with the club, going on to make a total of 86 league and cup appearances during his two campaigns with the Hornets.

Mike, a former matchday commentator at Watford, said: “As a player, he’d put his shirt on and you’d know full well that Glenn would give everything. A lot of the young players that Watford were forced to play in that generation learned so much from having somebody around like that.

“He was not quite a brick wall but he was the most solid and dependable of all of them because he’d got a wealth of experience. It brought back something that Graham Taylor said many years ago. He said you’ll never win anything just with kids, you can win with kids if you’ve got two or three old wotsits in there with them, to look after them, give them a hug when they need it, kick their backsides when they need it, and Glenn was absolutely like that.

“And as a manager, he was as good a guy to deal with as you would ever want. Ask him a straight question, you’d get a straight answer, although obviously working for Jack Petchey…

“He had a sense of humour. He was great friends with Tom Walley, great friends with Gibbsy (Nigel Gibbs), great friends with (Kenny) Jackett. He was one of us. That’s probably the highest compliment I can pay.”

After leaving Vicarage Road, Roeder went on to manage West Ham United, Newcastle United and Norwich. His last role was as a managerial advisor at Stevenage in 2016.

Pay tribute to Glenn Roeder

"Glenn Roeder was a former Watford player, manager and widely respected for his career in football. Share your memories or messages of thanks for his time at Vicarage Road and beyond here."

We asked for your responses - this is what you sent.

David Holdsworth

What are your memories of Glenn Roeder
Win, lose, draw, Glenn was a committed person . As a captain, a friend, room mate, I loved playing for our club and respected Glenn, a gentleman. It was a privilege to have so many great memories, let’s respect and pay tribute to a fine family football man. 🐝

Community contributor

What are your memories of Glenn Roeder
Very sad news. A nice human being and very well respected by all his peers. Glenn tried to look after the best footballer of our generation in Gazza the best he could from what I recall, and I’m sure Paul would have nothing but good words to say about Glenn. Glenn loved a punt at the horse races as a relaxation. He was old school but also modern in the type of football he played and his teams played. Definitely one of Watford's best managers, especially considering he was manager at the time of Jack Petchey. RIP Glenn, football and it’s fans has lost a lovely person .