Ian Bolton, one of the four Rocket Men interviewed at the launch of the book of that name on Sunday, revealed on the stage of the Palace Theatre that there was not a person in the dressing room he did not like.

Bolts or Webby as he is known, joined Graham Taylor’s new project at Watford in 1977 and along with Ross Jenkins, Luther Blissett and Steve Sherwood, was part of the Vicarage Road surge that took the club from the Fourth Division to second place in the top flight in six seasons.

As can be imagined, there were a number of dressing room changes during those years but Bolts’ revelation that he liked all his colleagues, underlined the camaraderie and fellowship that was such a cornerstone of that success.

“Togetherness” was the key ingredient named by one of them during their on-stage interview as the word that summed up the era.

That was underlined when they took their final bow and were recalled to the stage and they spontaneously entered into a group hug.

It was the same behind the scenes as they waited for their call to the stage: you could feel the warmth. I even felt it personally when Blissett, arriving last as we assembled for a discussion on the running order, spotted me and gave me a hug as if I too had been part of that unique dressing room atmosphere.

One of the wives asked me later if the evening had been scripted, as if they had rehearsed the whole programme during the hour or so before the theatre opened. That was because the interviews, conducted by Sky’s Adam Leventhal, ran so smoothly, which was a further reflection of that togetherness: they knew their subject, were relaxed and proud about those momentous years and were in total accord.

Later, I along with the Daily Mirror’s Mike Walters, was called briefly to the stage to recall what it had been like. Mike and I had shared the four chapters of the book, producing around 15,000 words on each of yesterday’s heroes.

Mike had been a young fan when Taylor’s rollercoaster ride to the top had been set in motion. For my part, by the time 1977 rolled along, I had seen a few new eras at Vicarage Road and some of them had delivered briefly on their promise but there was a tendency back in those days to offset the potential for disappointment with gallows humor.

The Holton era had thrilled us but the momentum was dissipated by a chronically bad decision to sell the Big Fella and later Ken Furphy’s time had promised much, achieved new milestones of second-tier football and The FA Cup semi-final but then was torpedoed by parsimony.

So when the charming and well-intentioned rock star said that his long-term ambition was to see Watford into the top flight, we thought it was a noble ambition but possibly Elton was being a touch naive.

When Graham arrived with the intention for implementing that vision, they talked about achieving second-tier football within five years.

That seemed a more realistic aim but, as I said onstage on Sunday night, there were few true believers.

Did anyone truly believe Watford, with their ramshackle ground and dog track would make the top flight? It was an impossible dream and while Graham wowed them in the dressing room those first few months, I don’t think any of the players truly thought in terms of top-flight football as a reality: just a distant hope.

Yet as progress followed progress like the unwrapping of a Russian doll, we began to believe. The dog track disappeared, the ground was no more than tarted up, with a big screen and jumping little men drawing our attention away from and papering over the severe limitations of Vicarage Road.

Then the project became becalmed in Division Two after two successive promotions, only to suddenly flare back like a well-stoked fire to take us to another promotion, runners-up spot behind Liverpool and Europe.

The horizon appeared endless. We had achieved so much as we enjoyed, lived in and contributed to what seemed a force of nature - communal will.

As I observed on Sunday night, after watching the European adventure with its memorial highlights end in a hefty defeat on an ice rink in Prague, one wondered where the next mountain would be climbed.

Yesteryear’s cynicism had long since faded and there was a feeling Graham, Elton and company were inexorable. I actually said to some fans that I found it hard to imagine the season would peak in Prague and fade away. “We will probably reach the Cup Final in May.”

Indeed we did but that was not an anecdote to claim visionary awareness. It was an example that even the supposedly objective local scribe had fallen before this juggernaut of expectancy.

It was that very expectancy that proved the project’s undoing.

Graham later reflected the Cup Final was the peak. After that people started picking their games: Coventry City at home - we’ll give that a miss.

Elton noted that he was having to spend more as progress was measured in inches instead of yards in the top flight and with his manager feeling his star had achieved the most out of the publicity, and knowing what Elton did not know, that the funds in the star’s bank balance were not as huge as had been thought, urged his charge to cut back.

Graham, feeling the fading pulse of ambition, attempted to galvanise the chairman into fresh enthusiasm by suggesting he might leave. Instead Elton gave him his best wishes and the juggernaut creaked to a halt. I remember Graham in tears as we talked about his leaving just a day after the news had burst onto a stunned fan base.

It was over and before long, Coventry at home in Division One would seem relatively attractive. But we had those 10 years and the magic carpet ride which is unlikely to be matched let alone bettered.

Sunday night gave us an insight into the views and reactions of some of the key and regular components in that six-year rise up from the depths of Division Four: the Rocket Men.

It was good to be reminded as to how it happened and why it happened. The spirit of Graham Taylor hovered over us.

I remember early in Graham’s first season, he invited me down and went through the tactics for that night’s match. Watford had won 2-1 at home to Reading in the League Cup first leg, lost 1-0 away at Elm Park and Elton had won the toss for choice of the replay.

The result was a surprise 5-0 success for the Hornets and I left Vicarage Road having seen Graham’s tactics enacted brilliantly, with greatly enhanced respect for the new manager. He had shown me what he was doing and had done it.

Yet he had criticised his players after the match, stressing they would have to do better than that.

“The next morning he had us in working on our abdominals in puddles on the grass. And I got told off for throwing the ball out too often. I pointed out we had scored two or the goals from those throws but Graham was adamant. I was not to do it,” said Sherwood as he waited for his on-stage stint.

One of the big successes of the night was Bolts with his humor and observations, although I felt sorry for him when a video, taken from the Shrodells Stand, was shown on screen. From that angle, it looked like a forward punt but watching as I did from the main stand, the ball was superbly played into the path of the already springing Nigel Callaghan, who ran onto it, crossed to the zone his co-strikers expected and Luther duly headed home.

It was the simplest exposition of the policy of that era.

I read the next day as a current fan took Bolts to task on the internet for saying today’s football is not something he finds entertaining. The fan enthused about the entertainment of the current team and doubtless the former player would not dispute that but Bolts had said: “Generally I do not find it entertaining.”

Generally, neither do I.

As Luther observed, those last 30 minutes of the recent Arsenal game had the spirit of the Watford of yesteryear. Yet back then it was almost an every-week experience.

They gave us a lot of memories and it was great to see them revived on the Palace stage where perhaps 100 years ago in a pantomime, Aladdin was banished to the depths of the props department: “and there you will stay shut up, until Watford win the FA Cup.”

He may still be there, but it is a reminder that there are still a few peaks to climb for modern Watford to tackle and make their own mark.

But the halcyon era remains just that and on Sunday, we cherished it.