Gerry Armstrong, Pat Jennings, John McClelland and Pat Rice made more than 2,000 club appearances between them. A very impressive number in itself, but when the vast breadth of their experiences in the game is considered as well it is quite something if you pause and reflect on it for a few moments. It was the depth of their knowledge and the stories they yielded that contributed to making the latest Tales from the Vicarage Live one of the best yet.

Regular attendees at the Watford-themed events at the Palace Theatre will have their own favourite shows. Those larger than life characters from Hornets past that had audiences in hysterics spring easily to mind. Thursday night’s event had its share of laughs and light-hearted anecdotes as well, but it felt different to previous editions – and that was due to the guests and their achievements in the game stretching far beyond their feats at Vicarage Road.

Billed as a Watford Northern Ireland special, host Adam Leventhal opened proceedings with a rendition of Que Sera, Sera in an audience-pleasing acknowledgement of the Hornets reaching the FA Cup final before launching into the established format of a one-to-one question-and-answer session with each guest, before more of a group conversation after the interval.

Jennings’ Watford career was relatively brief. It consisted of 52 consecutive appearances and lasted a little over a season, but it was the platform for a young man from Newry to go on and become one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the game.

There is so much to admire about what Jennings went on to achieve with Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Northern Ireland, and this was only added to when - to the understandable surprise of some present – he explained that he continues to do some work in Spurs’ academy, at the age of 73.

Jennings also brought along his first contract at Watford - worth £23 a week, £2 more if he played for the first time and win bonuses – and later revealed he had no desire to leave Vicarage Road when he moved to White Hart Lane as an 18-year-old in 1964, but the club needed the money.

The former goalkeeper’s appearance set the tone for an evening that in addition to being entertaining and insightful, was also educational because the age of the guests meant the show was able to touch on an era that some in the audience may have had relatively little knowledge of.

The 119-capped Northern Ireland international’s experiences also included being in the firing line of fans as well as opponents, such as when a dart was thrown into his arm in a game at Nottingham Forest. Jennings went on to pull the dart out of his jacket pocket, as well as the letter of ‘apology’ he received from Brian Clough.

A winner of an all-Ireland hurling medal at the age of 17, but who regarded himself as a better Gaelic footballer, Armstrong was late to the game but his place in Watford history is assured after he scored the club’s first ever goal in top-flight football against Everton.

Recalling how he was signed in the same week as Rice and a week after Les Taylor joined, the former striker spoke affectionately of how Graham Taylor got the best out of him and “got me fitter than any other manager has done before”.

Former club captain Rice arrived at Vicarage Road following a successful career at Highbury. But he also recalled how the fit the Hornets’ greatest ever manager made his players. “It was the hardest four years I have ever done,” he remarked.

McClelland’s demeanour reflected how he played the game – with calmness. And also with a lot of sense.

Recalling how he always played percentage football, his approach was to “do what you’re good at and hide what you’re not good at”.

The former centre-half later joked that he never tackled because he always tried to be one step ahead of his opponent, waiting for the moment they went to control the ball and he would nip in and win it or give them a nudge.

While the show retained its Watford theme throughout, the experiences of the guests meant the conversation touched on other individuals or topics  making it perhaps a broader-based show them previous editions. There was a conversation about diving for example, and also Northern Ireland’s best ever player, George Best.

Armstrong argued that judged on a level playing field with such as Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, the Manchester United legend would be “head and shoulders” above them because his talent flourished in an era of “dodgy boots, crap pitches and getting lumps kicked out of him”.

Asking for their abiding memories of their time at Vicarage Road, Rice spoke of “friendship, closeness,” a never say die attitude and “proving people wrong”, while McClelland said “it was the first time I went to a club where everyone seemed to be appreciated”.

The appreciation of the guests was reflected in warm applause at the end of an evening which brought together one of the best panels of guests yet in my view and benefited from being more than a collective journey down Vicarage Road memory lane.