Scarborough Athletic boss Steve Kittrick has led the tributes to chairman Dave Holland, who tragically passed away this week.
Holland, 59, was admitted to intensive care on Sunday night after suffering a brain haemorrhage and the club released a statement on Tuesday afternoon confirming he had passed away.
The club were forced to play their Evo-Stik Division One North fixture against Ossett Town at Queensgate only a matter of hours later, with a minute’s silence observed ahead of the 0-0 draw.
Boss Steve Kittrick paid an emotional tribute to Holland afterwards.
He said: “I’m gutted for everyone at the club. He was a massive influence on me coming here and we’ve lost an absolute top, top bloke.
“I spoke to him every single day. I spoke to him Sunday and he was looking forward to Tuesday’s game.
“It’s a very difficult time for everyone.
“My heart goes out to his family and to Wendy, it’s a very, very sad day.”
Kittrick was full of praise for Holland, who he says will be sorely missed by everyone at the club.
He added: “You have to realise, Dave was on the bus with them and Saturday, and he interacted with everybody.
“Every game you’d walk off the pitch and he shook everybody’s hand.
“This club, myself and every player has lost a good friend.
“He’s the man that went and put the kit out, washed it and did everything else, he was passionate about this club and he had this club at heart.
“We spoke on Saturday on the bus back from Lancaster, and he was very positive.
“He’ll be sorely missed and I’m gutted.”
Kittrick’s tribute was echoed by one of Boro’s longest-serving players, Matty Bloor.
Bloor said: “It’s been a difficult few days.
“In non league everybody’s in it together, it’s a close-knit group.
“We had a lot of contact with Dave, he was always pitchside after every game, win, lose or draw and he’d shake every single player’s hand.
“If you played, didn’t play or were injured, he’d have a lot of time for everyone. It’s been a sad time for the players.
“But ultimately and more importantly, our thoughts go out to Dave’s family.”
Holland took over as chairman in April 2011 after the death of Richard Adamson, and current club director Geoff Osguthorpe paid tribute to the countless number of hours he dedicated to the club during his tenure.
“I’m stunned and gobsmacked by the news,” said Osguthorpe.
“He seemed fine on Saturday and we had a meeting Friday night too.
“My thoughts go out to Wendy and Dave’s family at this difficult time.”