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Thursday, 6 February, 2003, 10:22 GMT
Ipswich stalwart Roberts dies

Ipswich chairman David Sheepshanks has paid tribute to assistant manager Dale Roberts, who died after a year-long battle against cancer.

Roberts, a popular figure at Portman Road as player and assistant manager, died peacefully in his sleep at home.

Sheepshanks said Roberts' death was a tremendous loss to the club.

"I went to visit Dale in hospital at Christmas and last Friday and it was clear he was very ill," he said.

"But I was left awe-struck by the tremendous sense of inner courage he displayed.

"It is a terrible sadness to lose one of our staff, one of the Ipswich Town family, cut short in his prime.

"The directors, management and staff at Ipswich Town Football Club all share this terrible loss.

"We send our deepest sympathy and best wishes to Dale's family at this difficult time."

Town will have a minute's silence and players will wear black armbands as a mark of respect at the match with Sheffield United at Portman Road on Saturday.

After making 24 appearances for Town, where he started his professional career in 1974, Roberts returned to Portman Road as George Burley's assistant in 1995 having also been number two to the Scot at Ayr and Colchester.

He steered the club to the FA Barclaycard Premiership Reserve League championship last season.

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