Hull City

A Foot In Both Camps: Dale Roberts

13 September 2018
Followers of Hull City and Ipswich Town were united in grief in February 2003 when Dale Roberts succumbed in his brave battle against cancer. He was just 46 at the time.

A proud Geordie, centre-back Roberts received a good footballing education during his apprenticeship at Portman Road, coming at a time when the Suffolk outfit were enjoying one of their most successful spells.

His appearances in an Ipswich shirt were limited to just 18 league outings, though, due to a combination of well-established experienced defenders as competition and horrific injuries.

Roberts became one of Mike Smith’s first signings during his Boothferry Park tenure in February 1980, a move which allowed him to rekindle a career that was threatening to expire in its infancy.

It was an opportunity that he did not allow to pass by and he commanded a regular spot in the Tigers’ defensive ranks during his five-year spell at the club.

His leadership skills and fine character came to the fore as City suffered the double blow of relegation to Division Four and receivership before the rise back up to the Second Division.

He chalked up over 150 appearances, a number that would have been much, much higher had it not been for more injury disappointment, before a serious pelvic ended his senior career in 1985.

Having developed a coaching career, which began at Boothferry Park under Colin Appleton, Roberts returned to Portman Road in 1995 as assistant to his good friend George Burley and remained on the coaching staff at Portman Road until his sad death.