Troy Deeney’s departure from Watford was hardly the exit he would have dreamt of.

After 11 years of service, the captain hung up his yellow and black shirt for the final time, in a manner that some might consider unceremonious, particularly for a man of such strident character.

While the club treated his exit with both tenderness and respect, nationally it was somewhat obscured, as one of the least predictable transfer windows in living memory closed with frantic disarray.

To anyone not associated with Watford, Deeney’s move to his boyhood club Birmingham City will be seen as little more than a veteran striker, dropping down a division to take his career into a romantic twilight before retirement, but really it marks the end of a significant era, not just at Vicarage Road, but possibly for football in a wider context.

Loyalty and longevity are idiosyncrasies not often associated with modern day footballers, especially in a world where ideals like passion and belonging are sneered at by armchair pundits, who see little value beyond silverware in a sport where the vast majority of participants will retire empty-handed.

In reality, football is about much more than that. It is a sport defined by moments, the ones that get talked about endlessly in pubs and playgrounds alike and for fans of clubs whose expectations sit below the heights of trophies, players who can generate such memories will be revered forever.

Troy Deeney is not only a player who did just that, but he is a player who did it consistently and repeatedly for a club and a community he was proud to be a part of.

The recent transfer window has clearly demonstrated that elite financial superclubs, the kind who not too long ago viewed themselves as too rich and important to compete domestically, have a monopoly on elite players, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku and countless others being shuttled around between oligarchs and petrostates in the pursuit of success.

Yet Deeney sits among a different bracket of players, alongside the likes of Alan Shearer, Matt Le Tissier and Mark Noble, whose achievements, legacy and devotion almost mean more than any trophy ever could, at least to those whom they represented.

There have been opportunities for Deeney to move on in the past, possibly to clubs where fighting for silverware was an option.

Instead he chose to stay and eventually helped Watford put themselves in a position where such success was within reach.

His penalty against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup semi-final contributed to one of the greatest days in the club’s history and put them within touching distance of a first domestic trophy.

While they were swiftly reminded of the current structure of global football in the final, he can look back on the part he played in dragging his side to that occasion at Wembley and know that he did it at a club where he will be forever respected and idolised for his efforts.

That kind of success, unquantifiable though it may be, is a brand few footballers ever truly experience, particularly in an age when five years with a club is considered a lengthy spell.

After 11 years, Deeney is a player who has spanned generations and will serve as a name to link supporters old and young in admiration for years to come, with all 140 of his goals meaning something uniquely special to each and every individual lucky enough to have witnessed them.

Although his impact on the field was diminished in his final two seasons due to injuries, off the pitch his voice was often the loudest from the dugout as stadia across the world fell silent, showing exactly what this club and its continued success meant to him.

While his goals, his outspoken interviews and his ability to change the rhythm of a game in an instant will be missed, it will likely be the case that his love for the club, his passion and his voice inside the dressing room are the most difficult aspects of Troy Deeney to replace.