Who Are Ya? - Rochdale
How Long Have You Supported Rochdale?
I started supporting Rochdale back in 1992 so 26 years ago now. My Dad started taking me to Dale when my older brother was unable to take me to Old Trafford.
Last Season's League Finish?
We finished top half last season in what was another good season under manager Keith Hill.
What Do You Think Of Your Manager?
Keith Hill is the greatest manager in the clubs history. He's taken us to Wembley in his first full season, our only ever trip to Wembley and he's also won promotion twice from League Two, we've only ever been promoted three times in our history. This is the first season of struggle under Hill and some of his stubbornness and poor recruitment has had a very negative influence on the season but he's earned the chance to turn it back round whatever happens this season.
Hopes/Expectations This Season?
We were expecting a mid-table finish I'd say, possibly an outside chance of a playoff push. We didn't envisage a relegation battle.
Top Six Predictions?
I would be amazed if Wigan didn't win the league. Shrewsbury and Blackburn to fight for the second automatic promotion place. The probably Bradford, Scunthorpe, Rotherham, Portsmouth, Scunthorpe, Charlton and Peterborough to battle it out for the playoff spots.
Bottom Four Predictions?
Bury look doomed and deservedly so for spending money they haven't got and not learning their lesson. I also suspect we'll get relegated now along with Oldham and probably Northampton.
One(s) To Watch?
I'd watch out for our young midfielder Daniel Adshead. He's still in year 11 at school but has been given a spot in the first team for the LDV Windscreen Paints Trophy thing and also in the FA Cup this past week and he looks a tremendous prospect. Ian Henderson is our best player and top goalscorer while Harrison McGahey is our best defender by some distance.
Thoughts on Lincoln City?
I don't mind Lincoln at all. Been to Sincil Bank several times and it's a very good away day with a nice town centre. Also remember that air raid siren! They seem to be doing quite well as well which is good. I do remember going to Lincoln and getting seven put past us. Jamie Forrester got a hattrick if memory serves.
I'll go for a 2-1 win to us.
Random Fact About Your Club?
Erm, we've never won a trophy. Closest we've got was a League Cup final about 50 years ago and the playoff final 10 years ago.
What are your proudest and most embarrassing moments as a Rochdale Supporter?
Proudest moment was Ben Muirhead's penalty to send us to Wembley in the playoff semi-final against Darlington. Scenes like we've never seen before or since.
Most embarrassing was probably losing to FC United of Manchester in the first round of the FA Cup. We were at home, they filled the away end with flares and had an unbelievable atmosphere. This was the first time they'd ever reached the first round of the FA Cup and the game was live on TV as well. They invaded the pitch.
Do you have a Supporters Trust and what role do they play at the Club?
We do have an active Supporters Trust, of which I used to be a board member. Dale Trust provide a link from the club to the fanbase and often act as a go between for the two. They also raise funds for different projects the club wish to pursue etc.
Which was your favourite match involving Rochdale?
My favourite Dale match ever was probably the win over Leeds United in the FA Cup four years ago. We played them off the park.
Which was your least favourite match involving Rochdale?
Easily the match where we were beaten in the playoff semi-finals against Rushden & Diamonds in 2002. Our first ever playoff appearance and we were arguably the better side but a mistake in the last 10 minutes let them in to score the winner.
How confident are you of keeping hold of Ian Henderson during the window? And if he goes are you doomed?
Henderson has just signed a new three year contract so wont be going anywhere. He's stated he wants to finish his career at the club as well and at his age, nobody will pay the money we would want for him anyway.
Keith Hill is a Rochdale legend, and fully deserves to be. Despite his outstanding track record, do you think the time has come for a change? Or is there a temptation to retain him in case Dale are relegated? After all, who better to lead the charge for promotion again?
He signed a five year contract in the summer so regardless of whether we get relegated or not Hill's job is safe as houses. We couldn't afford to sack him plus with his record, he deserves the chance to turn round our fortunes as well, perhaps in a similar way to Paul Tidsdale at Exeter.
Are you frustrated that a town with Rochdale's population can only produce an average attendance of 3,309? It was only 3,556 last season when the side finished ninth. Does the proximity of the Manchester clubs still impact on that? Or The Hornets, perhaps?
Our attendances should have gone up this season with the season ticket offer we implemented. The fact is the local area just won't come. We may not make enough effort but a town with a high Asian population will always struggle to attract fans at a club as small as ourselves. Oldham and Bury struggle as well despite both having a more successful history than us. If we offered free entry I doubt we'd fill the ground. Hornets don't have any impact at all I don't think.
Further to the above question, do you feel that Rochdale AFC could do more to attract the fans that their onfield achievements deserve?
Possibly but I'm not sure what can be done. Season tickets were set at £200 this season and we've still seen poor attendances. I guess it could have been implemented well and the club have to iron out mistakes they make off the field as well.
Jordan Williams was believed to be a target for Lincoln during the summer before Dale stepped in. How has he performed?
He's been poor. We paid £100,000 plus for him and to be quite frank, he's offered absolutely nothing to this point. I don't think he's good enough for this division. At the Boxing Day Blackburn game, I was having a half time rant to my mates about him not being good enough and the guy to my left only turned out to be the lads father!!
Jordan Slew also spent some time training with Lincoln last summer: again, a progress report?
He's been a pointless, wasted signing. Offered nothing apart from a tap in the Paint Pot Windscreens Trophy thing. Will get released this month.
Lincoln have had an unbelievable 2017, with an FA Cup quarter-final as a non-league club, the National League championship and third place in League Two at the end of the year. But Rochdale have seen the opposite: fourth in League One after the 2-0 win at Walsall on 2 January, but only 9 league wins since. What has gone wrong?
Poor recruitment this summer and losing three of our best players in Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Jamie Allen and Matty Lund for a combined £400k and not being able to replace them well enough has hindered us massively. Not playing players in their proper position as well and over complicating team selections.
Do you miss the Church Inn?
I certainly do. It used to be my favourite pub near the ground and spent many a weekend in there. I used to go in before games, after games and most Sundays as well. Now we have to put up with the over-prices Dale Bar!