Eastbourne Borough’s Blue Square Bet Premier fixture at Rushden and Diamonds tomorrow (December 18) has been postponed after the death of Diamonds’ goalkeeper Dale Roberts.
The 24-year-old England C international, whose death was announced on Tuesday, was found hanged at his home in Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire.
He was an immensely popular figure at the club and fans poured into Nene Park on Wednesday to pay their respects.
Tributes were paid to Roberts by his former clubs Nottingham Forest, Eastwood Town and Alfreton Town, and clubs across the country have been sending their condolences to Rushden and Diamonds.
As a mark of respect, Diamonds’ FA Trophy replay on Tuesday night, against Eastwood, was postponed, as was Wednesday night’s FA Youth Cup tie at Hull City.
Eastbourne Borough FC agreed to a request from Diamonds to reschedule this weekend’s match.
A statement on the Rushden & Diamonds official website said, “Details will follow about a new date and time for this fixture in due course.
“We would like to record our thanks to the board of the Football Conference and Eastbourne Borough FC for their assistance at this difficult time.”
Police have confirmed that Roberts’ death is not being treated as suspicious.
A full report has been prepared for the coroner.
Eastbourne Borough chief executive Mike Spooner said, “We are 100 per cent behind their decision and obviously our thoughts go out to them.
“It’s a difficult time for the club and we have to go with their wishes on this.”
Boss Garry Wilson said, “It’s very, very sad news about the boy who died this week.
“To be honest I think it puts the football into perspective.”
Manchester City and England winger Adam Johnson grew up with Roberts in Co Durham and dedicated City’s midweek Europa League clash with Juventus to his best friend Dale.
He said, “I’m absolutely devastated about Dale’s passing, he was a really good friend. I grew up with Dale, we were in the same class at school and also played at Middlesbrough together.”