Roly Roberts (2022)

ROLY ROBERTS: A Tribute by Andy Skeels

Our former chairman Roly Roberts died in May at the age of 81.

Roly was the third chairman of SULSESC, succeeding Bob Dook in June, 1991, when Bob relocated to Bangkok to take up a new job.

He was chairman for a year until John Birkett was elected to the post in the summer of 1992.

Roly was a lifelong Iron fan and, at the age of 10, attended United’s first game in the Football League against Shrewsbury Town at the Old Show Ground.

He was a regular at matches in those days and was one of our furthest travelled members, living down in Henfield in West Sussex.

Everyone’s favourite Roly story was the infamous Friday night game away at Aldershot in 1992, not long before he married Shelagh.

For those of you who may not have heard it before, the tale was recorded in Iron Filings (remember them?) at the time as follows...

‘He’ll have to remain nameless but we can’t let this edition of Iron Filings pass without mention of the SULSESC member who, faced with a hectic drive to Aldershot straight after work for the United match on January 3, requested that his ‘Other Half (To Be)’ sling together a bite to eat ready for the half-time interval.

‘You can thus imagine our hero’s surprise after 45 minutes of tedium at the Rec. when, expecting something along the lines of a sausage roll or a sandwich to help him through the next 45 minutes of tedium, he was offered SHERRY TRIFLE by his ‘Other Half (To Be)’ who, it has to be said, was attending her first-ever football match.’

To this day, it must surely be the only time in recorded history that a sherry trifle has been consumed at half-time of a Fourth Division game!

By coincidence, we will be playing Aldershot again in the league for the first time in a long time this coming season. The away game is very close to the end of the season next April but in tribute to Roly, we will designate it as SULSESC’s ‘bring a trifle day’!

Treasurer Vaughan and I attended Roly’s funeral at St Peter’s Church in Henfield on June 16. Condolences from everyone in SULSESC go to Shelagh, son Paul, daughter-in-law Nicola and granddaughter Hannah, as well as the rest of Roly’s family.