Hay remembers the day when he was selected as chairman and vowed at the time not to let his great friend down.

Hay recalled: "When I came to the club, Wally welcomed me and I shook his hand and said that I wouldn't let him down.

"I'll still keep that promise and hope that I can still give the club 100 per cent effort and commitment.

"But his death came as a shock to us and I would give our Premier League status to have him back. He will be sorely missed."

Having been chairman for three years, Hay says that next term will be another struggle for the club but insists that the Robins are capable of a mid-table finish.

He added: "We may have limited resources, but we shouldn't be escaping the drop every season on the final day.

"I hope that we can build on our fine run towards the end of the campaign. If we can that again then I see no reason why we can't do well."

Despite there being no funds for manager Gary Bowyer to invest in new players, Hay is adamant that none of the club's top names will leave.

Hay added: "We had a bid of £5,000 from Farnborough for Richard Newbery. But it will take more than that for Richard to leave the club.

"There has been an enquiry from Hampton about the availability of Richard, but I can assure you that it will take a substantial sum for us to part with him.

"Their chairman (Vic Searle) is aware of the situation and has been told that he needs to offer a lot more to sign him."