It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Rochdale AFC Academy coach Inaki Fernandez Orjales on Tuesday 11th April 2017, aged 26.
Inaki joined the Academy in 2015 and worked in the Foundation Phase with the Under 11 & 12s. He quickly became a popular member of the coaching team with his effervescent smile and his cheeky grin. He had a great willingness to learn and was even enrolled on a course in Spain whilst undergoing treatment, asking to use the club's PMA system for his studies.
Inaki was diagnosed with testicular cancer during 2016, but shrugged it off in his usual matter of fact way as “another football injury which will require an operation and rehabilitation”.
However, after completing his treatment, it unfortunately spread to his liver and he required more treatment. On April 1st this year, only 10 days before his passing, he told a member of the team: “This time it is much slower but I feel I am improving day by day”. This is why it came as such a shock to those who knew him and he will be sadly missed.
The boy from Girona with a heart full of dreams
Came to the North West of England where Football lives and breathes
In the cosmopolitan city he found a home at The Dale
With his passion for the game looking to help the young elite prevail
His infectious smile, his baby faced innocence
His willing to work hard for his dreams to the end
You touched us in a way the football family always does
We'll never forget you our Spanish friend