TRIBUTES have been flooding into the News and the Mail offices this week following the shock announcement that former Aldershot Town chairman and club founder Terry Owens has resigned from the board of directors.
The Mail revealed on Tuesday how Mr Owens had quit the post for ‘personal reasons' - a decision which caused upset among his many friends and colleagues in and around the Rec.
Mr Owens, dubbed Mr Aldershot for his work in trying to save the former Football League club and then resurrecting it as Aldershot Town 1992, stood down gracefully with a ‘very heavy heart' after ten years in helping the club the force it is today.
And as chairman Karl Prentice has revealed, calls for Mr Owens to be honoured for his hard work, will be answered, giving him an open door to the club he has supported for 48 years.
An emotional Mr Owens told the News: "It took a lot of courage to come to this decision and now I've done it, it feels very strange. Only time will tell if it is the right decision.
"I have had many phone calls from supporters, shareholders and friends, some asking why I've done it and others begging me to re-consider.
"I will continue to attend games, I don't know in what capacity as yet, but there could be no better capacity than just being a supporter.
"I like to think I will be welcome in the directors box, board room and guest room, but that is up to the chairman and his board of directors.
"The job did not interfere with my charity work, I can cope with the workload. I will continue to organise to Boxing event at the Maida Gym on April 26 and will be available to help to club in any way they wish me to."
Mr Prentice was quick to praise his predecessor for all his hard work, while vowing to honour him in the best possible way. He added: "Terry will be recognised and honoured for his work, that is the least we can do.
"Terry was instrumental in launching Aldershot Town on April 22, 1992, at the old Army Officers Club in front of almost 600 people.
"I have worked with Terry for ten years and I know the time and effort he has put into this club and I thank him for his service and support in that time.
"We will be looking for a new director in due course but will not be rushing into anything."
Elsewhere, friends of Terry's have come out in their droves to pledge their shock and sadness at his decision.
Caretaker boss Stuart Cash said: "When he told me over the phone, there was a ten-second silence. I was so gobsmacked, I just did not know what to say to him.
"He is a real loss to the club because he is a great PR man and works very hard for the club. He is also very good with the players and I know that they will miss him very much also.
"All we can do now though is move on and continue to win games - hopefully with Terry watching somewhere."
Former boss George Borg was another admirer of Terry's efforts. He commented: "He was my first chairman at the club and was very supportive to both me and the players both on and off the pitch.
"He was very organised and professional and I was devastated for the club when I heard the news because he is Aldershot through and through.
"It will be a big loss to them."
Aldershot stalwart Norman Penny said: "I'm obviously very sad about it.
"I worked with Terry for 25/30 years and he was a very nice man. He re-built the club from nothing and really believed in it, thus putting in a lot of time and effort."
Club chaplain Mike Pusey added: "It was Terry who gave me the invitation to come back as chaplain after eight years away in Wales and it comes as great sadness to me.
"He is Mr Aldershot and I wonder how people will take this news. It's a very sad day for the club and I feel it will take the club some time to adjust without having him around.
"He is a people person, one for the fans, and I personally would like to think of him and his wife Rak as friends rather than colleagues."
And vice-president Jack Rollin concluded: "Terry will always be remembered as the man who resurrected Aldershot from the death and no-one can ever take that away from him.
"It's a very sad day but he had his reasons for making his decision and we must respect that."