A message from Chief Executive David Bottomley...
First of all, I trust that all Dale fans and their families, wherever you may be, are keeping safe and healthy, and are observing the many areas of lockdown and social restrictions that remain in place.
I thought this week that I would highlight the word patience and what that means when it comes to our beloved Dale. In many ways, Dale fans are the most patient of all football fans. We tend to have to wait for our successes and having waited, the joyful moments come thick and fast. Those who waited patiently from 1969 to 2010 can appreciate fully what the last ten years have brought and how being patient was worth the wait!
This week we have seen many other examples of how patience is rewarded. We have the wonderful news that our three major sponsors – Crown Oil, Smith Metals and Andrew Kelly Lettings – have supported us more than ever at this crucial time in our history. Every one of those sponsors has a business that has been affected by the awful pandemic, but they have remained loyal to us. They have not asked for a refund on the lack of coverage from the final ten games (six at home) of the League One season, nor have they sought to reduce their commitment at a time when we do not have a guaranteed start to the 2020/21 season. On behalf of all at the Club and all of our many supporters, I want to say a big thank you to those very special sponsors for the patience throughout the pandemic and for the wonderful support. We endeavour to reward that support when the season finally gets underway.
Patience also came to my mind on Wednesday evening when I had the pleasure of attending the signing of our new scholars – Kacper Mialkowski, Ben Kershaw, Jordan Scanlon, Peter Thomas, Mikey Caldwell, Brad Kelly, Curtis Robinson and Ethan Brierley. The signings were attended by their individual families and reminded me of the patience shown by parents in driving their boys to countless training sessions and matches with our wonderful Academy. It also reminded me of the patience and ability of all our coaches in the Academy and Community operations who have devoted many hours to ensure that those youngsters can take their first steps into professional football. We wish all of them well and look forward to first team debuts and the like, but again ask that fans show the patience to hopefully allow those boys to become the next Aaron Morley, Dan Adshead or Luke Matheson.
Finally, the most patient group of all are you, our loyal and caring supporters. Since we played Rotherham United on the 7th March, you have shown the most amazing patience, with little or no news to go on with regards to everything from the matches our Season Ticket holders have lost to a new season start date, new kit launch, new Season Tickets, etc. The small group who have been running the Club since then thank you profusely, but your patience is about to be rewarded with lots of news!
I attended an EFL meeting on Thursday and whilst we have been sworn to confidentiality, it appears that a new season date could be a lot sooner than we all feared, and potentially with crowds in some form coming back the same. I think in the next week we will be able to communicate something on this front. In other great news, we will next week communicate information on our new ticketing system and we also have a provisional new kit launch date of Saturday 25th July – that is what we’re aiming for. Some very good news that follows your great patience.
It has been a very exciting week at the Club with all of the above going on. The support we at the Club receive from our wonderful sponsors, loyal and hardworking staff and our great supporters, does make those of us who have been fortunate to work during the pandemic, all the more grateful and all the more focused in ensuring that we will get the Club through the situation and out of the other side.
Very best to all, Up The Dale, enjoy the weekend and stay safe.