Hundreds of messages have been posted on social media to pay tribute to the popular Ashton Athletic secretary John ‘Taffy’ Roberts since his death earlier this week.
Roberts left a big impression on hundreds of football fans, players and fellow club volunteers throughout the non-league spectrum after having been involved with the Hallmark Security League for over a decade.
He initially served as secretary of Wigan Robin Park for seven-years between 2008 and 2015, before making the switch to Ashton Athletic.
Taffy was widely known in the Hallmark Security League, shown by the number of messages posted.
He enjoyed his final Ashton Athletic match last weekend despite the Ashton-in-Makerfield outfit slumping to an 5-0 defeat at York City in the FA Cup Second qualifying round.
Ashton Athletic chairman Jimmy Whyte sent the club’s condolences to Roberts’ family on the club’s official website in which he described Taffy as an “infectious character” who will be missed by everybody connected to the club.
Cheshire Football League fixtures will hold a minute’s applause in his honour, while several clubs from across the Hallmark Security League are expected to follow suit.
Tributes to social media included:
@VaughanMedia: “Had some proper laughs with Taffy back in the day at Robin Park. A proper football person, a brilliant secretary and a genuinely decent bloke. Condolences to all his family + Jay, Dougie and everyone else at Ashton Athletic from myself and all at @BillingeFC.”
@JAWilliams833: “Twitter is filled tonight with tributes to a genuinely lovely guy and non league legend. It speaks volumes about the man, RIP Taffy Roberts.”
@Joshnicko97: “Absolutely gutted, such a nice man who will be missed. RIP Taffy.”
@AFCLiverpool: “The thoughts of everyone at AFC Liverpool are with Taffy's family and friends at this sad time. We'll remember him as a passionate volunteer and dedicated secretary whose support extended well beyond his own Club. Rest in Peace.”
@gullivers1982: “Shocking news ..made us so welcome at Ashton .was first to say hello at every away game..thoughts with his family..”
@MattScholes20: “So sorry to hear such sad news. Thoughts are with Taffy’s family, friends and everyone involved at @AshtonAthletic . A person who always had time for anyone. Thanks for everything Taffy! You will be missed.”
@Addywhit: “Spending all those years with Taffy at Wigan Robin Park , going up through the leagues, with memories for life and he was a major part of that. I’m So sad. He will be sorely missed.”
Nicola Harper: “Absolutely speechless, what a lovely gentleman, so so sad.. What a pleasure it was to have known you.!! Nicola, Graham, Duncan Barbara and Daniel. Xx”
@StePill: “Awful news this go way back with Taff to his days as a ref ... always made time for me always a true Gent ...so sad my sincere condlences to his family x.”
@WiganAmyLeague: “The league are sad to hear that Taffy Roberts has passed away. He'll be missed by many in the local football scene & our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this sad time.”
Son Gary Roberts thanked Ashton Athletic and Twitter users for their kind words about his late father.
“Thanks for the kind words my dad loved the club and it would have meant a lot to him,” he posted.