Micah Hyde has revealed that Graham Taylor’s sudden illness during Watford's 1998-1999 promotion-winning campaign brought the players closer together and helped them become a stronger unit.

After overcoming the initial shock of the news, the players regrouped and promised themselves that they would arrest the slide to make their manager proud.

By the time Taylor returned to the dugout the players had turned their season around and stood on the verge of qualifying for the playoffs.

An adversity of this type could have dented any teams’ hopes of staying up, let alone gain promotion, but Hyde insists that the players never really felt the strain, but instead it served as a wake-up call.

“The secrets? That season we had a good unit and a good team spirit, we all knew our roles," he said.

“We started that season well, we were winning games and then we had a dip when we wasn’t winning games and dropped down. During that period Graham got ill, then he missed a number of games in that period.

“During that time, I suppose we must have galvanised ourselves to get into the playoffs. The fact that Graham got ill galvanised the team.

“The team was always going to be successful, regardless of setbacks because that’s what good teams do and we had a good team.

“But I am not sure if we would have (achieved promotion), but again, we were winning and winning over a period of time and were very successful.

“Maybe we would have gone up (anyway) but I feel that Graham Taylor’s illness was a defining moment. Definitely.”

Hyde claimed that motivation was Taylor’s forte to the point that the tactical aspect of his game almost became irrelevant.

Taylor, who oversaw Watford’s promotion to the Premier League after an 11-year absence in 1999, was neither a tinkerman nor the greatest of tacticians but a charismatic and demanding master motivator, says the 45-year old.

“Tactically he was good, he wasn’t an idiot, but if you understood his game of football, tactics didn’t mean anything. Under him we weren't really a tactics side," he said.

“I believe that in any sport, if you want to compete at the highest level, tactics don’t define you but only help you.

“With Taylor, it was all about the individual, about the player and the attitude he instilled in his players was, ‘personally you can’t be better than me today’. It was like a boxing attitude he instilled in us.

“Graham had a uniqueness about him, the way he motivated people was incredible. He was a man who made every player believe in himself and in the team, and I bought very much into that. No matter which team we played we believed we could win because that’s how dedicated we all were under Taylor. He made us believe that if they scored four goals, we could score five. It didn’t matter how many we concede because we could score one more."