Farewell to Dale

A COLD winter morning and a church bathed in sunlight were the backdrop as family and friends gathered to pay their last respects to Dale Roberts today.

A COLD winter morning and a church bathed in sunlight were the backdrop as family and friends gathered to pay their last respects to Dale Roberts today.

There was standing room only at St.Augustine's Church as mourners joined together to remember the 46-year-old assistant manager of Ipswich Town who lost his battle against Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma last week.

Players past and present came together at the Felixstowe Road church.

Sombre of face and wearing dark coats symbolic of their grief, they entered beneath the pale blue winter sky before his grieving wife Cheryl arrived at the church flanked by their two sons Mark and Tommy arrived.


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George Burley, close friends with Dale since they were 16-years-old, was there along with Town chairman David Sheepshanks.

The former Ipswich manager managed to subdue his emotions long enough to read out a eulogy to the best friend he will never forget.

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Former players Richard Wright, Tony Mowbray, David Johnson and Craig Forrest were also among the congregation along with the entire first team squad.

Amid the dark clothing there was a touching hint of colour as youth players arrived dressed in town tracksuits to say goodbye to a man who was described as blue and white from head to toe.

Dale was known throughout footballing circles as a devoted and sincere man who had risen from the youth team at Ipswich Town to play in a side that was emerging as one of the best in Europe.

He was a member of the youth team when they won the coveted FA Youth Cup in 1973 and 1975.

Newcastle born Dale moved away from Ipswich to play for Hull City in 1979 but moved back to the town in 1994 to work with George Burley who he had been friends with since they were 16 years old.

At Ipswich he was his right hand man and also his best friend.

During his career at Ipswich Town he was a player, a coach and an assistant manager and was loved by all those who knew him.

Originally from Newcastle, he was fittingly given his debut for Town by Sir Bobby Robson.

When he died tributes flooded in from managers and footballers who knew him, including Sir Bobby who was distraught by his death.

Throughout Dale's year-long illness he had constantly been supported by everyone at Ipswich Town and is widely acknowledged for the bravery and courage with which he fought the illness.

Even though he had to hand over some of his responsibilities for the team, in his last full season he was proud to lift the Premier Reserve League Southern Section trophy after the team were victorious against Derby at Portman Road.

Dale leaves his wife Cheryl and two sons, Mark and Tommy.

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