Steve Fallon paid tribute to Michael Simpson after the Soham midfielder was forced to retire due to a back injury.
Aside from a short stint with Corby Town, the 33-year-old has been with the Greens since 2001, playing 574 times and scoring 121 times.
And Soham boss Fallon, who was a long-time admirer of Simpson before taking over at Julius Martin Lane, is in no doubt he will be missed.
“We tried to sign him a few times when I was at Histon, but he always stayed loyal to Soham because he enjoyed being at the club,” said Fallon.
“He’s a manager’s dream player because he would always give 100 per cent whether he was fully fit or only half-fit.
“We (Fallon and assistant Ian Hart) had some difficult times when we first came to Soham, but he supported us from the start.
“He could have played at a higher level, but he was one of those who money wasn’t everything for. A lot of players could learn from him.”
Simpson, along with Peter Hinde, captained the Soham team which won the Eastern Counties League and promotion in 2008.
Despite struggling with back problems, he was still able to make 45 appearances last season as the team just missed out on the Ryman League, North Division play-offs.
However, he has since decided to call time on his playing career, although the door remains open for him to return if he feels fit enough to after several months’ rest.
Chris Lindsay has also left to go to Australia for a year, but Fallon is optimistic most of last season’s squad will stay.
Fallon has also spoken to “two or three” potential transfer targets.
He said: “We’re looking at players with experience at a higher level because that’s where we want to be, and with Simmo (Simpson) retiring that becomes a priority.”