This season marks 50 years since Rochdale secured their first ever promotion. As part of a special Friday Flashback feature, we’re continuing to delve into the archives to take a look back at how this was achieved…
On the day that Bob Stokoe celebrated his 38th birthday, Rochdale hit six past Bradford City.
Dale went into the match at Spotland having tasted defeat in the league for the first time, having lost 2-0 to Doncaster Rovers during the week.
But despite that, Stokoe was full of praise for his players ahead of the encounter, telling the Rochdale Observer: “No manager could ask for more effort than I am. I believe there are no players in the country working harder. Now we need a few more goals to keep in the top 10 and we need to do well at home.”
And that’s exactly what he got, as his side stunned the Bantams just days after those comments were made.
Perhaps the squad had been buoyed by the addition of close season target Terry Melling, who had joined Rochdale from Mansfield on the Wednesday for a fee of £2000, following two days of negotiations.
‘This is the player I fancied from the start and you have to back your fancies,’ said Stokoe.
‘He is not big but a very aggressive player. As soon as I learned he was not in the Mansfield team last Saturday, I repeated my previous bid and the transfer went through from there.’
Mellings went straight into the starting eleven for the match against Bradford but he wasn’t on the score sheet in the victory. Steve Melledew added to his ever-growing tally with a brace, Joe Fletcher, too, bagging a double, and Billy Rudd and Dennis Butler netting one each.
Rochdale scored three in each half and also had one disallowed. The first three were scored in 11 first half minutes, while two in as many minutes in the second half put the game well out of sight. A sixth was added two minutes from time.
In their post-match debrief, The Rochdale Observer wrote: ‘The rain wasn’t the only bond between spectators at Spotland on Saturday. They had a spectacle to share as well as a shelter. It was raining, yes; but it was raining goals, too. For this was one of those days for Rochdale when things went right at last. Complete mastery of the opposition from the first to final whistle were the factors that inspired the scenes of jubilation, especially the goals.’
The result took Dale up to eighth place in the table with ten points from their nine games, just four points behind joint leaders Darlington and Doncaster Rovers.
Dale XI | Harker, Radcliffe, Parry, Ashworth, Ruder, Leech, Rudd, Butler, Fletcher, Melledew, Melling.
Rochdale 3-2 Scunthorpe United
Colchester United 0-0 Rochdale
Rochdale 1-1 Exeter City
Brentford 1-1 Rochdale
Port Vale 1-1 Rochdale
Rochdale 1-1 Peterborough
Chesterfield 1-1 Rochdale
Doncaster Rovers 2-0 Rochdale
Rochdale 6-0 Bradford City