During the 2016-17 season, we asked supporters to send in questions for players/ Manager Keith Hill for our matchday programme feature 'Ask'.
Every player (and Keith Hill) appeared in our 'Ask' feature during the course of the campaign, and over the next few days, we'll recap some of our favourite Q&As, starting with Ask the Gaffer...
Your favourite Dale moment?
There have been loads – far too many too choose from!
Winning promotion twice was special, not just the day itself, but the games we played during the season in its entirety. Going to Wembley was superb. Yes, we lost the game but we took a lot from it and our experiences.
I remember when I first took over at the football club, we played MK Dons away and got beat 2-1, but 10 games later we played the same team again and beat them 5-0 at home – that showed how far we’d come. Later that season, we went to Stockport and beat them 7-2 – there was a real ‘hey lads attitude’ to our environment. Me and Flicker were going to take over the world and the players backed us up.
Going to Southampton and winning 2-0 there was magnificent, as was going to Bristol Rovers and getting the win which helped us towards promotion. To win there, having been a goal down and having lost the previous two games, was an amazing feeling. The celebrations afterwards were superb because I think we knew then that we’d got the job done. We then rolled into the Cheltenham game to get promoted and that was a blow away performance.
We’ve had some great FA Cup runs in recent years, too, that will live long in the memory, and there have been some great performances this season too. I love the way the players show bravery and the way they execute our philosophy.
Which aspect of your job gives you the most satisfaction?
Three points, there’s no question about that. Throughout the course of the week, you’re planning. You’re planning to play against the opposition and you’re working on the tactics. If you can put the perfect plan together and the players execute it and you get the three points, it’s magnificent.
In the long term after 46 games, it’s that first beer on the beach in Spain. When you look back on the season and you’ve done the de-brief, there’s no better feeling than looking back and being satisfied after a good season, having fulfilled the majority of your tick boxes. That’s as close as you can get to footballing heaven.
Looking back on your playing career, is there a particular manager that has had an influence on your managerial style?
Every manager has had a massive influence on the way that I manage, both positively and negatively.
When I look at my very first manager, Bob Saxton, who was a central defender, he was superb in terms of the psychology.
I also look at Kenny Dalglish and the influence he had on a squad of players who adored him. His assistant manager/ coach, Ray Harford, was the first real introduction I had to matchday coaching throughout the course of the week, and I thought it was brilliant. There was a real plan and a real focus and then it was down to us to go and deliver it.
Neil Warnock also had a massive influence, as did Steve Parkin. I got to work very closely with Steve, and all of these managers have helped me form my environment as manager and the way that I work.
Your most memorable game as a player?
When I made my debut. I played against Liverpool in the Rumbelows Cup and we drew the game 1-1.
I was only told on the day that I’d be playing after Colin Hendry got a kick to the eye. It was a great experience and I played against the likes of Peter Beardsley and John Barnes.
The one who got away. Which player do you regret not signing given what he has gone onto achieve in the game?
There isn’t one – I really can’t recall anyone that I feel I should have signed but didn’t sign, because we’ve always found a different way.
There are obviously players that we’ve missed out on the past who have gone to other clubs and the majority of times it has been because of finances. But I’ve picked up some unbelievable signings for free over the years and it has been marvellous - there are far too many to mention. I definitely won’t have a chance of ever recruiting them again given what they’re earning now and have earned since. But are there any regrets? No.
Are there any players who have achieved far more than you could ever have imagined when you first signed him?
There’s no-one that springs to mind, but there are players who have gone and fulfilled the dreams and ambitions I had for them, as well as their own ambitions. Jack O’Connell, Scott Hogan, Craig Dawson, Glenn Murray, John Stones and Danny Drinkwater.
You know instantly whether or not they’ve got the minerals, and I believe there are a few players at this football club now who’ll go on and be magnificent advocates of the way we’ve done things at Rochdale.
You work with one of the smallest budgets in the EFL. However, hypothetically, if money was no object, which one player would you love to recruit?
Mousa Dembélé at Tottenham- I think he’s a marvellous player. I’d walk to London to go and get him and I’d probably try and pick up a few of his team-mates on the way as well!
Your favourite ground to go to as a Manager and as a player?
Leeds United’s Elland Road. There’s a great environment and a great atmosphere.
Your ultimate ambition as a Manager?
A lot of people think I’m stupid when I consider myself able to manage in the Premier League. Of course it’s very difficult to get into the Premier League, but you’ve got to have a belief and an ambition that you’re good enough.
I have an ambition to take Rochdale to the Championship, I’d love to be able to do it. I believe that’s an achievable dream, and I believe that we’re making a team that can achieve that. It’s everybody’s ambition.
How long has it taken you to build the family atmosphere within the squad?
It’s what we demand. That’s whether it was me and Flicker during my first spell at the club, or me and Beechy now. We’re very accessible and we want to be part of the team. It’s not a question of them and us and I insist upon that, and anyone who frowns upon it goes through the trap door. We don’t have anyone who is not all inclusive.
Which clothes shop do you spend the most amount of money in?
TKMaxx, but only when I’m buying for me and Sidney. It’s Selfridges when I’m buying for the wife!