I am also very pleased that we secured a long-term sponsor for the team and the stadium, which now proudly boasts the new name of the ‘Crown Oil Arena’. I would like to personally thank Crown Oil for their long-term commitment to Rochdale and I know they share our vision for the future.
Also off the field, I was delighted when Russ Green agreed to join us as CEO. As well as the day to day running of the club, he has brought a new energy to the commercial side of the club. I have known Russ for many years and I have watched with interest how he developed things at his previous clubs. I know he will be a massive factor in helping me and my fellow directors take this club forward and develop it into something that the whole of the town can be proud of.
On the field, we are going from strength to strength as Keith continues steadily to further develop his proven policy of bringing through quality young players whilst improving our league status and deepening the strength of our squad. Yet again we enter a New Year with growing optimism. We are currently holding a play-off position and have an FA Cup third round tie still to come. The standard of football at the Crown Oil Arena is higher now than in any period of our 109-year history, and our league position underlines that.
However, this is no time for complacency. This is a call for all fans to step up to the plate and help us achieve our goal of Championship football. I need your help. I need you to spread the news.
The one big disappointment in all this success is that too few people come to watch us. We are playing sensational football and our gates remain amongst the lowest in the leagues. This is something that my fellow directors and I are keen to address, and we will be instigating several initiatives to help bring people back into our football family.
Our first offer for the Half Season ticket at £100 has been well received, and we have others to follow. Russ will be at the forefront of our drive to bring fans back to the fold. I know that when things get tight financially then it's easy to give football the boot, but we are making a concerted effort to get our pricing back to affordable levels so that everyone can experience the good things that are happening at our club.
Rochdale is a family club and it is a unique club that retains family values. It is bucking the trend in football these days. We are not big spenders, we don't pay the biggest wage, not just because we are thrifty northerners, but we always like to take care in case ‘that rainy day’ ever comes back. I have always been of the opinion that the players that come to Rochdale do so because they believe in Keith's philosophy and they know that their career prospects will improve. I also like to think that they love the club. Nothing demonstrated this more to me than the ten minutes it took Calvin Andrew to leave the field after the Scunthorpe game a couple of weeks ago. There was a genuine and open interaction between player and fans, an outpouring of emotion seldom seen in the professional game.
Where can you help? Well, you can help me send a message to the townsfolk of Rochdale that this club is here for you, all of you. Whatever your background, your nationality, your creed, your religion or ethnicity. This is a family club in which we can all unite, we can all get behind, and we can all support. One Town, One team, One Team Rochdale. Let it bring out the very best in us all for the good of the town and the for the good of the club.
As a Dale supporter, you can be justifiably proud of the team. Together we have got this club moving, lets us keep the momentum going. Never has the time been better to get behind the Dale.
Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your mates who support other teams, tell anyone that will listen to you. Tell them that the time is now, tell them ‘The Dale are on the march!’
Have a good Christmas. See you all on Boxing Day.
Up the Dale
Chairman and proud supporter of The Dale