A chief executive with an open door, a class act and a perfect example of the Watford way. Those are among the warm and affectionate tributes that have been paid to Eddie Plumley following his death.

Watford announced the passing of the former goalkeeper, who was chief executive at Vicarage Road from 1978 to 1994, yesterday.

Eddie was appointed by Sir Elton John and went on to play an integral role in the Hornets’ glory years, as the club rose through the divisions, qualified for Europe and reached its first FA Cup Final in 1984.

A post on the former Hornets chairman’s Instagram account read: “Such sad news about Eddie Plumley. We had wonderful and unforgettable times together @watfordfcofficial.

“My love to Fran, Gary, Ian and the whole family.”

Watford legend Luther Blissett said: “Mr Plumley, as we all at the club addressed him, was a perfect example of the Watford Way. Show respect and set standards.

“No matter how small we were in football terms we were shown how to behave with dignity. To leave a good impression.

“Mr Plumley was the perfect host to those who visited us and he made sure that when we visited other clubs he represented us with excellent style.

“A great part of our dna is lost today but we hope that fans can take time to consider his personal legacy. How we conduct ourselves is a foundation to how we succeed.

“My thoughts and those of the Former Players Club go out to Fran and family.”

Ed Coan held numerous roles at Vicarage Road, initially as press officer in the 1980s when Eddie was chief executive.

He said: “Eddie was the polished, front-of-house man at the club as it rose through the divisions. Always impeccably dressed, he exuded sociability and was incredibly welcoming to everyone with whom he came into contact. He was one of those people that instantly put you at ease, whether you’d met him before or not. Never too busy to talk, he was a chief executive with an open door – and had real attention to detail – so important when we were happily regularly talking about allocations of tickets for the club’s many cup runs in the 1980s.

“I know from my own career in the game how respected he was within the football fraternity. However, and I smile as I say this, he could be a difficult person to sit next to at a game – despite being a goalkeeper, he headed every ball and kicked out when the ball was anywhere near the goal.

“Collectively, he was part of the four-strong senior management team during my time at the club: Graham Taylor, Bertie Mee, Eddie and Caroline Gillies, who remains a season ticket holder. The club was run brilliantly and Eddie was a key part of its identity.

“After he retired, he and wife Fran spent a lot of time in their USA holiday home. I only know this because several years ago I was watching a programme about Ernie Wise after he died and suddenly Eddie and his wife Fran appeared on-screen talking about Ernie and his wife Doreen – their neighbours. In typical Eddie fashion, Ernie and Doreen were quickly close friends. No question, Eddie was a class act.”