Thousands sign petition to keep AFC Rushden & Diamond’s number 1 shirt ‘retired’ in memory of Dale Roberts

The club had 'retired' the number 1 shirt in memory of Dale Roberts
The club had 'retired' the number 1 shirt in memory of Dale Roberts

More than 3,400 people have signed a petition against the decision to refuse permission for a football club to ‘retire’ the number 1 shirt in memory of its former goalkeeper.

Dale Roberts died in December 2010 and since then AFC Rushden & Diamonds, and its predecessor Rushden & Diamonds, have maintained a tradition that the first team goalkeeper does not wear the number 1 shirt.

The first choice goalkeeper always wears number 17 now.

But following the club’s promotion to the Evo-Stik League Southern Division One Central, their request to be allowed this special dispensation has been denied.

The club has made an appeal against the decision to the Football Association.

It is not yet known when the appeal will be heard, but a petition has been launched calling for the decision to be overturned.

More than 3,400 people have signed the petition already, with links to it being shared by fans from the club as well as from further afield on social media.

A collection was held at the club’s game on Saturday to cover the cost of any fines incurred by the goalkeeper wearing the number 17 instead of number 1.

And a member of the club said they would continue collecting at games in the near future in case they need to pay any fines imposed on them.

No team representing AFC Rushden & Diamonds at any level, of which there are 36 for the 2015/16 season, has ever used the number 1 shirt and only two such shirts have been produced to this date.

One of these hangs in Dale’s Bar at the ground and a second was presented to Dale’s parents.

Anyone who would like to sign the petition can go to http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/petition-against-the-southern-leagues-decision/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=button.