Watford have expressed their deep sadness following the death of one of the key figures during the club’s golden era, Eddie Plumley.

Appointed by Elton John, Plumley was chief executive from 1978 to 1994 and worked alongside Graham Taylor and Bertie Mee as the Hornets embarked on their magical rise through the divisions to finish runners-up in the old First Division, qualify for Europe and reach the FA Cup final.

Plumley was honoured by the Football League for his 50 years’ service to the game in 1998.

He came into the game just three years after hostilities ceased in the Second World War, when he joined the groundstaff of Birmingham City, as a goalkeeper at the age of 15. Two years later, he signed professional forms, but a year later joined the army to serve his two years' National Service.

During this period Plumley represented the army at both football and cricket.

He continued his playing career at Birmingham after National Service, but having worked part-time in the club offices when on the groundstaff, he decided his future was off the field, and took up the position of assistant secretary at St Andrews.

His 14-year stay at Birmingham ended when he was offered the secretary's job at Filbert Street, and he stayed at Leicester for six years before moving on to Coventry City in 1968 as general secretary.

Four years later Elton John asked him to become chief executive at Watford.

Plumley retired from full time involvement in the game in September 1994, and was appointed to the Watford board, but stepped down to continue general consultancy work in the game.

"It was a quite fantastic and emotional day for me", he said of receiving the award. "I was invited by to attend the AGM by the League but was quite stunned when the award was made.

"I have enjoyed a wonderful career in the game, and been fortunate to work with many, many talented people. This was really the icing on the cake."