As a player, he never took a backward step if he could help it.
He was an uncompromising but straight-as-a-die centre-half who could always take it as well as give it.
He would be the first to offer his hand, no matter how fierce the battle had been.
Torquay United's players love him for his honesty, his application and his care for them.
No detail is too small for his attention.
Now Shaun Taylor, who has seemed perfectly suited to the role of assistant manager for the last 18 months, must be the main man as the Gulls face two of the most difficult home games that npower League Two has to offer this season.
There are no more ambitious clubs in the division than Fleetwood Town and Rotherham United, who come to Plainmoor on Tuesday night.
Their respective chairmen, Andy Pilley and Tony Stewart, are wealthy, self-made men who are determined to see their teams play in League One at the very least. You do not pay £300,000 for a player, as Fleetwood did last month, if you do not mean business.
Into this situation Taylor has been thrust and, like the loyal lieutenant he is, he has not let his boss down.
He took great pleasure, for all sorts of proper reasons, from the 1-0 win at his old club Exeter City last week, and he was the soul of discretion in his verdict on last Saturday's tame performance in defeat (2-1) at Cheltenham Town.
If anybody had expected him to have a go, in those circumstances and in only his second match in charge, they cannot have known the man.
But now, as manager Martin Ling continues to rest from a suspected viral condition, Taylor comes back to Plainmoor to lead United in two vital home matches.
In the last ten days he has referred a couple of times to it being "Martin's team". Rightly so.
Ling is a hugely popular figure at United, and all anybody there wants is to see him fully fit and back in charge. But it is Taylor's hand on the tiller until Ling does return.
Every sensible supporter must appreciate the situation he finds himself in, and they are behind him all the more because of it.
Nobody in their right mind is waiting to jump on any perceived "mistake". Nobody should be trying to compare how Taylor goes about the job against what Ling might do.
In all sorts of ways, Taylor can and should "do it his way". And the first person to back him up will be Ling.