Rovers legends Peter Kitchen and Glynn Snodin were among the many players to pay warm tributes to former manager Stan Anderson this week.
Anderson handed promising teenager Snodin his first team debut just weeks after his 17th birthday and prolific striker Kitchen credited the ex-boss with rescuing his career.
Kitchen said: “It was like a breath of fresh air when he burst on the scene.
“I was 22 at the time and not really enjoying my football.
“I’d had a wonderful first season at the club under Lawrie McMenemy but then Maurice Setters came in and I felt he didn’t really rate me.
“But when Stan arrived he pulled me to one side, told me I was definitely in his plans and he just gave me a lot of confidence.”
Kitchen went on to score 57 goals in 102 league appearances under Anderson and became one of the best strikers in the club’s history.
He added: “Training changed immediately and the attitude of the manager made such a difference.
“He taught me how to put my hand behind me to feel for defenders when I had my back to goal, and if there was no one there tight on me I would swivel and shoot.
“That’s how I scored a lot of my goals.
“Stan always wanted to win and we played a very open style of football. But we had a habit of making mistakes defensively which prevented us getting the success we should have had while he was in charge.
“If we had won promotion under him I would have been more than happy to stay. Stan did a lot for me. I went on to play at a higher level with Leyton Orient, Fulham and Cardiff but, along with Lawrie McMenemy, he was the best manager I played for.
“He made me believe in myself and I had immense respect for him.”
Snodin said: “It’s sad news because he was a wonderful man and a real gentleman.
“I was only a young kid when he came along and I really looked up to him because he had been a giant in the game.
“He gave me my first contract as an apprentice and played me in the reserves before I’d left school.
“He played a big part in my early development because he was a good coach and had a bit of charisma about him.
“Stan was a great man – not just as a football manger but also as a person.”