My Team & I: Rochdale

By Sarah Lomas

Twitter: @GirlOnATerrace


Why Rochdale?

I’m a traditional football fan even if I don’t look like it! When I say I’m a Rochdale fan most people are surprised or laugh. I’m a firm believer that you support your local team or support a team that you have some sort of relation to; one of my biggest gripes is people who support a random big club just because they’re doing well at that particular time.

I was born and raised in Rochdale and still live here, I love to hate the town and the people, but I have nothing but love for my club. We’re your typical lower league football club – we have few achievements, struggle every day and lack fans – but that’s what makes being a Rochdale fan so good, we love the club no matter what.

I went to a few games when I was younger but I’ve a high school friend to thank for introducing me to Rochdale, he’s oddly a Lincoln City fan now, but I started going when I was about 15ish and I was hooked. I’m at every home game and the majority of away games. I’m proud to say I’m a Rochdale fan, I’m a real fan and it’s real football, and that’s why I love my club so much.

Favourite player?

That’s a toughie; at Rochdale it’s called a “family” rather than a team, the players are very close and enjoy playing for us which means there are quite a few fans’ favourites. Most people would probably say Captain Fantastic Gary Jones, but I’m going for striker Chris O’Grady.

I did a blog post about him recently, we originally had him on loan from Oldham Athletic after he failed to make an impression there and he was like a different player when he played under Keith Hill and David Flitcroft at Spotland. We eventually signed him and well the rest is history, he’s a gem of a find, and we’ve our management to thank for turning his career around.

He’s a tough and powerful striker and not afraid to get stuck in. He’s passionate and really cares about the club and I like that in a player. I really believe he was the missing link in our team, we’d had a few similar strikers to him but they’d never really “clicked” and he just seems to fit right in. I think he’ll be with us for quite a while, well I hope so!

Favourite game?

Again, I did another blog post about this one recently! My favourite game has to be last season away at Accrington Stanley. We were gunning for automatic promotion and went there expecting to batter them. It was freezing, chucking it down, gales blowing on their open terrace with no roof, and it was packed out.

We went 0-2 down and then 2 players got sent off. We pulled it back it back 2-2 and then 2-3 and then in the 95th minute Kallum Higginbotham scored a sensational half way line goal and it finished 2-4. It was an amazing win and was the perfect example of the type of team we have.

Favourite strip?

Hmmm that’s a difficult one because they’re always very similar, although I really like the purple away strip we currently play in. It’s really different to anything else and it’s a little bit girlie too! The 07/08 black and white strip was also pretty unique for our centenary season.

Worst thing about being a Rochdale AFC fan?

Our reputation as the most unsuccessful club in history. Whenever you say you’re a Rochdale fan people immediately feel sorry for you and make remarks about how rubbish we are. In fact surely it’s the opposite? We’re one of the most consistent clubs in league football. We’ve also produced and nurtured a fair few decent footballers too, Rickie Lambert, Matt Gilks, Grant Holt, David Perkins, Chris Dagnall, to name a few.

The lack of support from the Rochdale public is also annoying. So many people got behind the club when we went to Wembley but where are they now? There are so many football clubs in the north, west that it’s hard to gain those fans, but I wish the town would get more behind the team.

Funniest moment?

We’ve great banter as Rochdale fans and we’re known for it so there have been quite a few. Away at Scunthorpe a few seasons ago and the first game of the season, a goose landed on the pitch in the middle of the game, cue some rather funny scenes of players chasing it around for about 15 minutes and our keeper getting bitten!

Another funny moment was Bury away a few years ago, if you’ve ever been to Gigg Lane you’ll know the pitch is at a higher level than the stand. Kevin Townson scored and he obviously didn’t know and he jumped off the edge; luckily there was a rather large fellow there to catch him but his face was priceless. Another has to be in a friendly against Accrington, Greg Heald got into a bit of bother with one of their players and knocked him out cold with a head butt…lol!

Favourite moment?

It has to be winning promotion. I know it’s quite an obvious answer but I’ll never forget that game and I don’t think anyone else related with Rochdale will. It was an amazing day, the sun was shining and we really felt that it was the game when it was going to happen. We’d been waiting so long for that win so when it came it was amazing. I still get a tingly feeling when I think about it now. Great day and great night!


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