We were delighted to host our first ever behind-closed-doors webinar on Thursday.
The “What Rochdale AFC Can Do For You” event, hosted live from the Crown Oil Arena, attracted a virtual audience of over 130, including ex-pat Dale fans as far afield as New Zealand and Canada.
They had the chance to put questions to Chief Executive David Bottomley, Commercial Director Frances Fielding, Manager Brian Barry-Murphy, Club Captain Eoghan O’Connell and new professional Ethan Brierley.
Also on the call were football-mad youngsters at St James C of E Primary School in Wardle, who put their questions to Dale players and staff.
The unlikely ‘interrogation’ formed part of an event organised by Dale, designed to put a smile back on the face of Rochdale while fans are currently prevented from watching football in stadia.
The Club are inviting businesses, schools, community groups and fans to tell them what they want from their Football Club – and they’re open to any suggestions.
Among the questions asked by St James CofE Primary School were: Are footballers well paid? Who do you think is the best player in the world? Why did you become a footballer? and What’s the best team you’ve ever played against?
David Bottomley was even asked: “Are you a millionaire and do you drive a fancy car?”
Speaking afterwards he said: “It was a brilliant event and judging by the questions from St James C of E Primary School I think they might give Gary Lineker a run for his money!
“There was a serious point to the event and that’s fact that the football club is putting all its resources into doing as much community work as possible to put a smile back on the face of Rochdale.
“Everyone knows the financial challenges facing football but it’s easy to overlook the impact the lack of football on a Saturday has on the community – which is why we organised the event.
“Our manager Brian Barry-Murphy said what the players do off the pitch is even more important to what they do on it in terms of their development.
“We’re fully committed to making Rochdale the country’s most family-friendly Club and the fact we had questions from all over the world shows that there’s a lot of love for Rochdale.”
The event was also used to break the news that 17-year-old rising star Ethan Brierley had signed a three-year professional contract with his hometown Club.
The final speaker was commercial director Frances Fielding who praised the support of the Club’s sponsors during the pandemic.
She said: “We are a community Club and if anyone wants to contact me with ideas of things we can do please email me at Frances@rochdaleafc.co.uk.”
The webinar is available to watch back for free HERE.
The event was hosted by award-winning journalist Chris Maguire.