Former Rochdale forward Steve Whitehall recently attended a game at the Crown Oil Arena as guests of the Dale Trust.
As such, we took the opportunity to find out what he is up to these days and to reflect on his time at the club.
Whitehall played for Dale between 1991 and 1997, making 282 appearances and scoring 92 goals, leaving him third in the club’s all-time goal scoring record list behind Reg Jenkins and Albert Whitehurst.
Speaking to www.rochdaleafc.co.uk, he commented: “I absolutely loved my time at the club. What a job it was to be a footballer! I had a great time here - it was a job but it certainly wasn’t work.
“It’s not until you finish playing that you look back and realise what you’ve achieved. To end up third in the leading goal scorer list is quite an achievement when you think about how long the club has been around for. But when you’re actually here and you’re doing it, you’re just getting on day to day, and you don’t realise how your goals have had that type of impact.
“I have some great memories having made nearly 300 appearances, with my first league goal being the stand out one, although the people I've met at the game have mentioned my two penalty misses in the same game and my own goal against Walsall. They seem to remember most of the bad things rather than the good ones but I can tell you that I plenty of decent memories!" smiled Whitehall.
These days, Whitehall, who is now 51-years-old, works as physio with the NHS.
“I stayed in football for a little bit after I left here, going to a couple of other clubs and then finished up playing when I was 37 or 38.
“I qualified as a physio in between and did football physio for a little bit but due to the work/ life balance, I got an ordinary job as a physio, if you like, working with the NHS from Monday to Friday. I’ve been out of football for a little bit but the work/ life balance suits me and I really enjoy it.”
Whitehall has kept a close eye on Dale over the years, with his son Danny following in his footsteps. Danny spent time with the Youth Team before taking up a football scholarship in America. And Whitehall admits that he has been impressed with the way the club continues to be run.
“Danny came here for a little bit and then went to Southport, so he has already played for two of my ex-clubs! He has gone out to America now and he’s loving it out there.
“When I was here, we were trying every year for those six years to get out of the fourth division and we only made it out because the league structure got changed.
“If the players that are playing here now were playing our league, I think they would be miles better because of the fitness regimes and the way they look after themselves. I’m not sure you’ll find any of them in the Elephant and Castle on a Tuesday afternoon,” laughed Whitehall.
“The club is doing brilliantly well. The good thing about the club, even since I was here, was/ is the stability and the way it’s run - it has been kept going on a very stable basis. You only need to look at the at the Conference North and the Conference to see how many ex-football league clubs are down there and struggling, so the people who have been running this club have been doing a very good job and have been doing it for a very long time.”