This week is the second week of the New Year outside the transfer window, or at least so I thought!
This week has seen Matthew Gillam go on loan to Cork City, and we wish him well in his development as a player. We’ve also, this week, at the Dale end of things, again taken an emergency seven day loan of Andy Lonergan from Middlesbrough, so he can be in the squad for the match v AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night as Josh Lillis continues to recover from injury.
On Wednesday of this week I spent all day at the EFL HQ in Preston, which was a great experience. There were presentations and updates on the way the EFL is administered, covering areas from Finance/ Legal/ Player registration/ Ticketing/ Fans.
The EFL will be taking to the road again this year, travelling across the UK to engage the opinions of supporters via Forums. These will be held regionally and are a chance for fans to voice their opinions on the state of the game in the EFL etc. We will publicise these dates and venues when we have final details.
The EFL are aware that we at Dale are one of the first Clubs to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with our Supporters Trust, and that we are keen as to continue working together in the excellent way that we do. On that note, I understand the Curry Night on April 25th is already sold out, which is great to see. It would be great to have a good number of fans joining the Trust and Club staff members, including myself, on the walk to Accrington on March 16th. The day will start at the ground, meeting at the Dale Bar 7.15am for an 8am start.
Last Sunday morning I took the opportunity to go and view a number of Dale Academy teams (Foundation Phase) play Burnley at the Barnfield Training Complex. It was wonderful to see our youngsters under the guidance of excellent and committed coaching staff compete and play skilful football.
The day left me with the burning ambition that one day in Rochdale we will enjoy the same facilities that Burnley have, with pitches that looked and played like the first day of the season, and a centre for the development of excellence. To those who may scoff at that ambition, it’s good to remember that we companies in Rochdale like ZEN Internet, who, from a back bedroom start-up, have progressed to a £71 million turnover company, employing 500 staff and are now challenging the top four internet providers in the UK. Richard Tang the founder and now Chairman has had one simple ethic thoroughout his career and that is happy staff = happy customers and happy suppliers!
It’s a great compliment to our Club that our Academy and Community operations achieve so much, without having the best of Club owned resources, so let’s all have that ambition to build that complex in Dale.
Last Saturday I had the pleasure of hosting a Q&A with David Cross. He’s a real super chap, a credit to his profession and to the local area. (I’m keen to point out that he’s from Heywood before he pulls me up again by saying Rochdale). I’m pleased to say that he will return to the Club again later this season.
I finish this week with words by the Dalai Lama – below – and wish all Dale fans wherever you may be a happy football free weekend! I hope to see as many of you as possible back at the Crown Oil Arena on Tuesday for another vital match in the business end of the season v AFC Wimbledon. We wish the Dons well today as a fellow League One Club in the FA CUP fifth round. Wow, where did that year go!