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The news of a death always comes as something of a shock, but the news of a death of a footballer usually seems to be more shocking than most. We already know that these are young men living lives that us mere supporters would have given almost anything to have had the chance to do and that they are in the peak of their physical condition. No matter how many times one is reported, it always manages to send a chill down the spine, and so it is with the sad, sad news of the passing of the Rushden & Diamonds goalkeeper Dale Roberts, who has died at the age of twenty-four.

Dale Roberts was a product of the youth system at Nottingham Forest, and spent time on loan at Eastwood Town and Alfreton Town before arriving at Nene Park on a longer loan deal. He was later recalled by Nottingham Forest at the end of the 2007/08 season as cover, but eventually signed a permanent contract with Rushden & Diamonds in January of 2009. He made just over 100 appearances for the Northamptonshire club and, in addition to this, played in all of the England C team’s matches last season and was voted the England C Player Of The Year.

It is no consolation at this time, but in time those who knew him will doubtlessly come to talk of how proud must he have felt in pulling on that England jersey, or how must it have felt to run onto the pitch at Nene Park and receive the applause of a couple of 2,000 people every other week. For now, though, our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

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