|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2010)|
|Full name||Rochdale Association Football Club|
Rochdale, Greater Manchester
|2012–13||League Two, 12th|
|Website||Club home page|
Rochdale Association Football Club is an English professional football club based in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.1 They play their home matches at Spotland Stadium. Formed in 1907 and nicknamed the Dale, they were accepted into the Football League in 1921.
The club has spent 77 of its 85 League seasons to 2013 in the lowest tier (Third Division North and Fourth Division/League 2), more than any other club. However it has avoided relegation to the Conference and has twice achieved promotion, in 1969 and 2010. Although the club have never won a competition since joining the League, they have the distinction of playing in the final of the League Cup in 1962, the first of only two teams from the lowest tier to have done so.
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Rochdale AFC was formed in 1907.2 Since then they have had just two promotions and three relegations, with promotion coming in 1969 and 2010 and relegation in 1959, 1974 and 2012. The 1959 relegation followed the 1958 restructuring which saw the combination of the two Third Division sections into the Third Division and Fourth Division. In the restructuring, Rochdale managed to secure a spot in the Third Division, but were relegated at the end of the season to the now lowest Fourth Division.
After the First World War the Football League was expanded and the club unsuccessfully applied to join. Finally, in 1921, Rochdale were recommended to be included in the new Third Division North, and played their first League game at home against Accrington Stanley on 27 August 1921, winning 6–3. However, this first season ended with the club bottom of the League, having to reapply for membership.
Rochdale played 36 consecutive seasons in the Football League's bottom division from 1974 to 2010, the longest time any team has been in the bottom division of the League, with some even derisively renaming it "the Rochdale Division".3 The club have the lowest average position of all the clubs which have existed continuously in the Football League since its expansion to four divisions in 1921–22 (76th), and since its expansion to 92 clubs in 1950–51 (79th). Additionally, they share with Hartlepool United the distinction of having played the most seasons in the Football League without ever reaching the top two tiers (82 seasons through 2009–10).
The club's first promotion came in 1969, earned by a team largely assembled by manager Bob Stokoe, though it was Stokoe's assistant, Len Richley who steered Rochdale to promotion after Stokoe moved to Carlisle United, and in the early stages of the 1969–70 season Rochdale topped the Division Three table, sparking hopes of a second successive promotion. The team's form dramatically collapsed around Christmas 1969 however, and a failure to pull the team out of its tailspin led to the dismissal of Richley, who was never able to emerge from the shadow of his predecessor. He was succeeded by Dick Conner, who stabilised the club's form and steered them to a 9th place finish, their highest-ever league placing. The following three seasons saw the club finish in the lower reaches of the Division Three table, narrowly avoiding relegation each time, but the board viewed merely surviving in Division Three as unacceptable, and replaced Conner with Walter Joyce for the 1973–74 season. This move failed to pay off, and Rochdale were relegated after a dismal campaign in which they won only 2 of 46 league games.
The club finished bottom of the league in 1977–78, but were successful in their bid for re-election. Southport, who had finished one place above Rochdale, were demoted instead and replaced by Wigan Athletic. Rochdale finished bottom for a second time in 1979–80, but were again re-elected – by one vote over Altrincham.
Steve Parkin was appointed as manager in 1998, a period in which the fortunes of the club improved significantly with the emergence of talented players such as Gary Jones, Clive Platt, Grant Holt and Kevin Townson. Parkin left to take over at Barnsley in November 2001 with Rochdale second in Division Three.4 This gained him little popularity with the fans especially when he took Gary Jones with him. John Hollins was appointed as his successor and the club finished the season in fifth place, entering the promotion play-offs where they lost to Rushden & Diamonds in the semi-finals.
The club reached the fifth round of the FA Cup again the following season, but lost 3–1 at Wolves. Hollins was replaced by Paul Simpson in 2002, and Alan Buckley appointed and sacked as manager in 2003. Parkin then returned to the club as manager, until being sacked in December 2006.
His replacement, Keith Hill, who was initially appointed as caretaker-manager, became arguably the club's most successful manager to date. Hill and his assistant manager David Flitcroft led Rochdale to a 5th-placed finish in 2007–08, securing a play-off place. After beating Darlington 5–4 on penalties in the semi-finals, Rochdale reached Wembley for the first time in their history. However, despite taking the lead in the match, they lost the final 3–2 to Stockport County.
In the 2008–09 season, Rochdale reached the League Two play-offs for the second consecutive season, finishing 6th in the table on 70 points. Season 2009–10 ended a 41-year wait for promotion with a win over Northampton Town as Rochdale secured the third automatic promotion spot. Rochdale continued their progression under Keith Hill, now with the club for 3 years, with a secured spot in League One in 2010–11.
In 2010–11 Rochdale finished 9th in league one with 68 points, equalling their highest league finish since 1969–70.
On 1 June 2011 manager Keith Hill joined Championship side Barnsley. Former Manchester City apprentice and youth coach Steve Eyre was confirmed as Hill's replacement on 12 June 2011. Eyre's spell at Spotland didn't last long, as he was sacked after 27 competitive games in charge, the team having recorded just 4 league wins in this time. Eyre's last game was a 0–0 draw against Yeovil, in which Yeovil's keeper Rene Gilmartin played the second half with a dislocated finger. Director of Youth Chris Beech was appointed as caretaker manager. Under Beech's first game in charge, the team drew 1–1 with Preston North End with an equaliser from Daniel Bogdanović who scored on his debut. Beech's 5 games in charge ended with a 5–1 thrashing by Stevenage and a 3–0 defeat to bottom of league Wycombe Wanderers. On 24 January 2012, Accrington Stanley John Coleman was confirmed manager as the successor to Steve Eyre and left his club where he had been for more than a decade. John Coleman's first match in charge was a 3–0 win at home over Bury in the local derby. However on 21 April, Rochdale lost 2–1 to Chesterfield resulting in relegation from League One after two years in the league. John Coleman's and Jimmy Bell's contracts were terminated by Rochdale on 21 January 2013 following a poor run in form.5
Rochdale have participated in the Football League playoffs on three occasions. In 2002, they lost 4–3 on aggregate to Rushden and Diamonds. In 2008, they went through to Wembley Stadium, defeating Darlington in the semi-final 5–4 on penalties after a 3–3 draw after extra time over two legs. Ben Muirhead netted the crucial penalty for Dale. However, despite scoring the first goal at the Wembley final, Dale suffered a 3–2 loss to Stockport County. In 2009 Dale lost 2–1 on aggregate to Gillingham in the playoff semi-finals.6
Rochdale's current home colours are black and blue shirts, white shorts and blue and black hooped socks. Previously, Dale's usual colours were blue and white, introduced in 1949. Prior to this, Rochdale wore black and white stripes, which was influenced by the strong Newcastle United side of 1907 (the year Rochdale were formed), the strip which they adopted for their centenary season in 2007.
This black and white kit was re-introduced in the 2007–08 season as the one-off centenary kit; the new Internazionale-influenced design which succeeded it was an amalgamation of both the striped kit and the blue kit to herald the second century of Dale's existence. Between 2010 and 2012 Rochdale's shirts were predominantly blue with black pinstripes on the body and black sleeves.
Other kits have included white shirts with black shorts, white shirts with blue shorts and a blue shirt with white sleeves.
Rochdale's away kit comprises white shirts with a purple stripe, purple shorts and purple and white hooped socks. Other historical away kits have included yellow, teal, green and red.
It was announced in June 2009 that the kit supplier for the next three seasons would be Carbrini.
The Dale have had sponsored shirts since 1983. Former sponsors include Carcraft, MMC Estates, All-in-One Garden Centre, Smith Metals, Keytech, Freebets.co.uk, Cabrini and the Co-operative. On 28 May 2013, Crown Oil Ltd was unveiled as the club's new principal sponsor.
The club crest / logo used by Rochdale AFC focuses on a variant of the arms of the former County Borough of Rochdale.
The coat of arms, based on those of the local and reputed Rochdale family with certain additions, was granted to the Borough by Herald's College in 1857. At its centre, a shield shows a sack of wool and a cotton plant, representing the local wool and cotton industries. Around the edge of the shield sit eight martlets (birds). These are taken from the Rochdale family coat of arms (mentioned above) and are widely used on heraldic devices. Above the shield and helm (in the position technically known as the 'crest' in heraldry) more local industry representations are made by the inclusion of a fleece of wool (suspended by a band) and the iron centre of an old mill-stone (known as a mill-rind).
A motto below the shield reads; 'Crede Signo'. Roughly translated this means; 'Believe in the sign'.
The blazon (official heraldic description) for the arms reads as follows:
'Argent a woolpack encircled by two branches of the cotton tree flowered and conjoint proper; a bordure sable charged with eight martlets of the field; and for a crest on a wreath of the colours a mill-rind sable and above a fleece argent banded or.'
When, in 1974, Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council was formed (taking over from Rochdale County Borough Council and five other borough/urban district councils) a new coat of arms was created and awarded for council use. Rochdale AFC, however, continued (and continues today) to adopt the old Rochdale County Borough arms.
Rochdale play their home matches at Spotland, which has a capacity of 10,249. The stadium was built exclusively for the Dale in 1920, but since 1988 the ground has been jointly owned by the football club, Rochdale Council and Rochdale Hornets.
- As of 22 July 2013.7
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- Lancashire Combination:
- Winners (2): 1910–11, 1911–12
- Lancashire Cup:
- Winners (3) 1970–71, 1948–49, 2004–05:
- Fewest league wins in a season – 2 1973–74
- Most points gained in a season – 82 2009–10 Football League Two
- Record League victory – 8–1 v Chesterfield, 18 December 19262
- Record attendance – 24,231 v Notts County in 1949/502
- Record League appearances – Gary Jones (464 – as at 15 March 2012)
- Record League goalscorer – Reg Jenkins (119)2
- Most League goals in one season – Albert Whitehurst (44 in 1926–27)2
- Highest transfer fee paid – Paul Connor (£150,000 from Stoke City in 2001)8
- Highest transfer fee received – Craig Dawson (£600,000 to West Bromwich Albion in 2010)
- Football Ground Guide: Spotland, Rochdale FC Football Ground Guide, 26 November 2009
- "Club History". 'Did you know?' sub-section. Rochdale AFC. 13 August 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "Time to escape the 'Rochdale Division'". Rochdale Observer. 5 August 2005.
- "Parkin takes the reins at Barnsley". The Daily Telegraph. 9 November 2001.
- "Rochdale Club Statement". rochdaleafc.co.uk. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- "What is Rochdale's play-off record in the English football league?". England football league play-offs. Answers to Questions and Information. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
- "Profiles". Rochdale A.F.C. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- Paul Connor profile and stats at vitalfootball