This weekend, members of the Dale Trust will be at the turnstiles handing out applications to join the Trust for the 2012-13 season.
Membership of the Trust for the 2012-13 season will cost £10, and nearly 350 Dale supporters having joined up already for this season with the first League game yet to kick off. Existing members have been sent a pre-printed application and if they wish to bring that along on Saturday, that can only speed up the process.
So who are the Trust and what do they do?
Well the Trust started back in 2004 with a mission statement that still rings true today: to protect and promote the interests of Rochdale Football Club and its
supporters, for today and for the future.
One of the biggest activities that the Trust has been involved with over recent years has been the attempts to get a state of the art pitch cover system at Spotland, with members having raised over £30,000 towards this project. We are very much conscious that this project has taken a considerable amount of time, but the priority has been to ensure that the Trust and the Football Club get the best quality pitch covers available for their money, and we hope to have some significant good news on this front in the next few weeks.
The Trust has also been involved with the redecoration of the Studds Bar. Time constraints have meant that things have not been able to be ready for this weekend’s opening League game with Northampton, but by the time we play Barnet on 1st September, supporters will be able to see a dramatic improvement in there. Studds is very much a long term project, with the redecoration being the first phase, and throughout the season I am sure you will appreciate the changes that have taken place.
Amongst the benefits of joining the Trust is the access that this gives you to the directors of the Football Club. The Trust meets regularly with the board of directors, and will invite questions to be submitted from its members. The responses from those questions will be emailed back directly to members. These meetings usually happen every couple of months. It was from such a meeting last season that saw the Player of the Season evening made into a free event given the poor showings o the pitch last season.
And its not just the board that members are given access to. The Trust helped organise the Fans Forum which took place at Spotland earlier this month, where supporters were given the opportunity to quiz the management team over various footballing matters. This is an annual event and one of the most popular events on the Dale calendar.
The Trust will be launching a brand new website very soon, and it is seen as a further way of increasing levels of communication between the Trust and its members. The Trust already has a regular page in The Voice of Spotland and the Rochdale Observer, where it keeps supporters abreast of Trust activities, but the redesigned website looks to take things to that next level, and having been privy to a sneak preview of the website, I am sure all supporters will be delighted when it is unveiled.
One growing aspect of the work done by the Trust has been with exiled supporters. There were almost 100 exiled members in the Trust last season, and it is going well on its way to matching that figure this time round. The Trust will again hold an Exiles’ Day this season, where exiled supporters are given a tour of the ground as part of the Trust’s match sponsorship.
Last year, the Trust were involved in the Gary Jones Testimonial Year, and held a night in his honour at local restaurant China City. Jonah was present at that evening, along with the rest of the first team squad and management, and the presentation of the cheque will be held in October, when he comes with his Bradford City side, and we hope that will be the only thing he will be leaving with that day. There will be a tribute to Gary Jones in Studds Bar from 1st September that the Trust have organised and paid for.
As has been the case since the launch of the Trust, the Trust will continue to run a poll for the Player of the Month, where one member is drawn at random to make the presentation to the winning player in the Players’ Lounge after the game.
The Trust has had a longstanding relationship with Factor 50 – a charity which fundraises to fight Skin Cancer. The Trust’s links with Factor 50 developed after the death of midfielder Ernie Cooksey, and to date, the Trust have been able to contribute over £1000 to this worthwhile cause. Other Trust donations have seen the refurbishment of the managers’ technical areas in front of the dugouts.
If you are unable to attend Spotland this weekend, yet would still like to join the Trust, you can do so online by clicking here.