Rochdale's 1-0 win over Southend last Saturday ensured that we will be playing League One football again next season. This will mark our sixth successive season in the Third Tier of English football which will mark a new record at this level for the Club.
At the same time, the Youth Team’s 3-0 victory over Fleetwood ensured that they finish runners-up in their League - which gives hope and encouragement for the future. This is a much deserved vindication of all the hard work from everyone involved with the RAFC Academy.
This is not to pretend that it has been the easiest of seasons! In the dark days of early March when we were 23rd in the League it was hard to envisage that we would have secured our League One survival with one match to spare. This is a great testament to the positive changes that Brian Barry-Murphy, Tony Ellis, Lee Riley and their team have made since taking over.
Nor should we forget the foundations that were laid by Keith Hill and Chris Beech in previous seasons and, as a Club, we will always be grateful for the very positive contributions that they made during their time at Rochdale.
The response of the players to the Management change has been magnificent. It would have been all to easy to have accepted what looked to be our fate but the attitude, determination and sheer will-to-win that they have displayed has been something about which we - and they - can be immensely proud and, again, this can give us hope that we can build on these foundations.
There have been changes as well within the structure of the Club. Chris Dunphy stood down from his role as Chairman and is due our thanks for his contribution to the Club over many years. There have been other changes at Board Level, most notably the arrival of Tony Pockney who brings a level of financial rigour which we hope will allow us to keep the Club on a sound footing and capable of surmounting the challenges that face all Clubs at this level of the game.
The staff continue to work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running of the Club and I do not exaggerate when I say how lucky we are that they give this level of commitment week in and week out.
Most importantly, to you the fans, my sincere and heartfelt thanks. Rochdale Football Club cannot survive without your passion and support and I know from conversations with many of you how important it is that we continue to strive for success both on and off the field.
August will be on us again before we know it but, in the meantime, we will be doing all we can to prepare for the new season and for what we all hope will be a successful and rewarding campaign.
Until then, I wish you all joy of the Summer.
Thank you all.