Sean Dyche was "devastated" to hear of the death of Graham Taylor.
The Watford legend, who died early this morning of a suspected heart attack, was chairman at Vicarage Road from 2009 to 2012, and appointed Dyche in his first managerial role in the summer of 2011.
The former England boss took the Hornets from the old Fourth Division to the First, and an FA Cup Final, while enjoying success with Lincoln City and Aston Villa, before returning to Watford, who he led to the Premier League.
Taylor remained a source of advice to Dyche, even after his departure, he said: "From my point of view, he's a man who had a massive part in me taking over at Watford.
"For such a legend at Watford to be helping you have that chance, and helping me along the way as a young manager, I'm absolutely devastated with the news.
"I didn't speak to him so long ago, I'd ring him semi regular and catch up with him about nothing in particular. To hear that today, I'm sure the whole of football will be really devastated with that news, especially at a pretty young age as well."
Taylor, regardless of his life in football, was regarded as a gentleman by everyone who came into contact with him, and Dyche concurs: “That was biggest thing for me. For someone who had done what he had done at a club like Watford and then allow me to manage myself, not get involve, not constantly quiz you, not asking you...the strength of him to step away, give me my chance to learn as a manager, I could never respect him any more for that.
"It's incredible really. You can imagine this temptation to come and get involved in that moment from what he'd done at Watford, it must have been so hard to step away from. But he let me work. As a young manager, I was a novice really and he let me get on with it, and for that I'll forever be in his debt. Unfortunately he's passed now, I'm absolutely devastated."
Dyche left Watford in 2012, the same summer Taylor stepped down as chairman after the Pozzo family takeover at Vicarage Road, and he revealed Taylor's words of wisdom: "Only 'Welcome to the world of management!' This is it. It's not all glory, that's for sure.
"Just when I spoke to him when he left to thank him for giving me the chance, the way he kept an eye on Burnley. What our team was doing, now and again he'd comment. I'd just catch up with him – how are you? To hear that news was an absolute shock and I didn't see it coming.
“He knew what was going on with the team here, he knew about the club, he would watch DVDs if he couldn't get to games. My point was it was more you go to him and say what did you think? He would always be honest, that was definitely one of his things – he'd always tell you the truth I've got very fond memories and I'm so disappointed to hear the news."
Taylor was England boss from 1990 to 1993, taking over after Italia 90, as the Three Lions failed to qualify for USA 94.
But Dyche feels his reputation withstood that disappoint: "Overall I think the respect runs deep, from people about Graham. Over time, of course people about the England thing, but beyond that, a feeling of people goes out and someone like Graham, when you meet him, you go, what a fella he is.
"He had his fair share of knocks but fantastic fella. He just had that real personable quality, always good with fans, never above himself, always good with people in any circumstance. Always strong-minded, always knew what his opinion was, whether right or wrong, always stand by his opinion. "There's so many things I thought about Graham Taylor. I spent some time with him but it was one year really. Everyone will tell you what a fantastic fella he was. I remember seeing him at Villa and they absolutely loved him – the people who are still there, the office people, you can't build that without respect.
"There were so many people who respected Graham Taylor. There's a time with England and all that but even beyond that, the way he handled it, the way he came through that, went back into club management.
"I think the respect runs deep. I'll be very surprised if you don't see big, powerful managers not coming out and speaking about Graham Taylor. I know so many managers who's said he's done an amazing job – on and off the pitch as a person. Sir Elton will be absolutely devastated."