Departed captain George Horan has been hailed as a ‘warrior’ and true Chester FC great.
Horan, 32, led his led his home-town club to three successive league titles and scored 20 times in 159 games over four seasons.
Neil Young signed the tough centre back from Droylsden in 2010 and the ex-Blues boss rates that as one of the smartest decisions he ever made.
Young said: “I made three significant signings for the club and they were Michael Wilde, Antoni Sarcevic and George Horan.
“We had lots of very good players but when you talk about impact and significance those three stand above and George is right up there.
“He is a warrior and was a brilliant captain for us. He proved people wrong and he’s guaranteed to be remembered as a legend at the club.”
Horan spent 10 seasons in the Welsh Premier League, captaining Rhyl when Young was the assistant manager at Belle Vue.
“I knew all about George and his character but if I’m honest I didn’t think we would be able to get him here,” said Young.
“Fans know what he’s like on the pitch and I remember the game at Chasetown when the keeper smashed him and George was covered in blood with a broken nose and his face all over the place.
“He wanted to go back on and that’s the kind of player he is and that’s why the fans love him.
“As a manager you try and tell him to have a rest but he wanted to play in every game and in the end you have to tell him he’s injured.”
Liverpool supported Young compares Horan’s captaincy to that of Reds and England skipper Steven Gerrard, although Everton fan Horan might not appreciate the analogy.
Young said: “I know it’s different level but he in some ways he does remind me of Steven Gerrard.
“He’s a leader but he’s not a shouter and he’s one of the quieter ones in the dressing room.
“But he commands respect and he leads by example and that’s what you want from your captain.
“He wants to be the best and he hates losing.
“Even in pre-season training he would hate it when the younger and quicker lads beat him.”
Horan, who lives in Upton, works full-time and was unable to commit to the new daytime training schedule.
Blues boss Steve Burr was keen for Horan to remain next season and offered him a new deal, although on lower wages.
But with interest from elsewhere, Horan has decided to move on and is now considering his next move.
Altrincham, Airbus UK Broughton, Colwyn Bay and FC United of Manchester are all though to have tabled offers but Gap Connah's Quay are understood to be in pole position.
Burr said: “George is Chester FC through and through and he's the type of player all managers would want.
“I know how much the club means to George and I would have liked him to stay and said that to him.
“But we can't keep him on the same type of money and I understand that George has got do what is best for him and his family.”
With Horan now gone, Burr has been linked with a move for ex-Blues centre back Dominic Collins.
Collins, 23, won the Conference North title with the club in 2012-13 but was released at the end of the campaign.
He moved to cash-strapped Hereford United and made 34 appearances for the Bulls last season but is out of contract at Edgar Street.
Ex-Wrexham full back Anthony Stephens and experienced midfielder Scott Kerr are thought to be targets too.
Stephens, 20, spent last season on loan at Colwyn Bay and turned down a new deal at the Racecourse.
Kerr, 32, has had spells with Scarborough, Lincoln City and York City, and featured 37 times for Grimsby Town last term but was released in May.