The Board of Directors at Rochdale Football Club would like to issue the following statement to our supporters:
Following the resignation of Andrew Kilpatrick last week as Club Chairman, a Board meeting has been held this week and the Directors are pleased to announce that Andrew Kelly has agreed to stand in as Interim Chair until a permanent Chair is elected.
Andrew Kelly has been a Director at RAFC since 2006, with a special interest in developing the Academy. Andrew was a RAFC scholar in his youth, during the reign of Tony Collins in the 1960s, and thus has a long association with the club.
In addition, Board members are delighted to announce the appointments of Dan Altman and Emre Marcelli, the club’s third and fourth largest shareholders, who have accepted our invitation to join the RAFC Board.
Dan Altman has been working in professional football since 2014. As owner of North Yard Analytics, he has advised multiple clubs in the Premier League, Major League Soccer, and other competitions around the world. He is also the creator of smarterscout, an online scouting platform covering more than 50 leagues with advanced player and squad analytics. RAFC’s technical staff have had exclusive access to smarterscout’s complete database since December 2019, as well as tactical analysis of opposing teams during this season. Dan will be helping to guide RAFC’s search for a Sporting Director.
Emre Marcelli is a fund manager and credit risk expert. After a lengthy career in consumer finance and capital markets, he opened his own fund in New York. He also has significant experience in financial due diligence of European football clubs. Emre will be working with Tony Pockney and Nick Grindrod to oversee the club’s finances and identify investment opportunities.
* * *
It has now been 51 weeks since we have had paying supporters inside the Crown Oil Arena, and it is estimated that the club has lost more than £2m in revenue. During this period, we have continued to meet our commitments to staff and suppliers at a time when the majority of our income streams have been decimated. Also, because the club has been playing behind closed doors (now 19 games this season), we have been unable to take full advantage of the government's furlough scheme; in order to continue playing football, we require the vast majority of our staff to be at work.
In adherence with the salary cap management scheme, conscious of the impact of COVID-19, and recognising that the club's shareholders could not provide additional funds, we started the 2020/21 season with the lowest playing budget since we were promoted back to League One in 2014. We acknowledge that we have fought a relegation battle in the past few seasons, but we are determined once again to maintain our League One status.
We understand supporters’ frustration with results, which have been compounded by injuries and a small playing squad. However, we have a hugely talented manager in Brian Barry-Murphy who has worked at RAFC for 11 years, and the Board of Directors are fully behind him and his team. The players signed in the January transfer window are part of our philosophy to develop young talent and monetise these players within the next several years to ensure the future survival of RAFC.
In our club’s 114-year history, we have never had a multi-millionaire owner with funds to support a loss-making club; instead, subsequent Boards have had to find ways to balance the books. We are actively seeking external investment to pursue our greater ambitions, but until then we shall survive by our own means – notably through a very successful Academy that attracts young players and presents them with opportunities to develop and move on in their careers.
Kwadwo Baah, who joined our Academy in 2019, epitomises this philosophy. Though rumours of his signing by Manchester City have been exaggerated, he will undoubtedly go on to have an excellent career in the higher echelons of the football pyramid.
* * *
In the meantime, we continue to pursue viable sources of revenue. The club’s coffers have benefitted from the EFL Grant of £375K distributed to all 24 clubs in League 1. The other sources of income this season have been our Basic Award, sponsorships, season ticket sales, iFollow, and our club shop and lottery. We would like to thank all of our loyal supporters, sponsors and everybody who has helped RAFC during these past 12 months.
We would particularly like to acknowledge our season ticket holders, more than 1,000 of whom have not requested a refund. Following the Roadmap out of Covid announced by the Government on Monday, we are now closely looking at our plans for all ticketing and hospitality for the 2021/22 season and will bring further news soon.
We are also working towards a virtual kit launch for the Easter weekend, as 2021 marks our 100th anniversary as a member of the Football League.
Off the pitch, we have invested in our staff to help us develop new income streams and fund our campaign to challenge more effectively higher up the football pyramid. At present, we have just 13 members of clerical staff working behind the scenes at RAFC. The appointment of an ‘in house’ HR Manager has helped to make us even more professional off the field whilst the club also benefits from the cost efficiencies resulting from no longer having to outsource the HR function. We recently recruited George Delves as our new Club Secretary, replacing John Smallwood as he retires after operating as a successful and popular Club Secretary. We are currently recruiting a Sporting Director and will soon to be advertising for a Digital Marketing Manager. All of these roles will be crucial in giving RAFC the platform to generate additional income that will offset the costs whilst also being integral to both the sustainability and future progression of the club.
* * *
For all the challenges we have faced, there is an unbelievable fighting spirit within the club. We will now concentrate all of our efforts in fighting the relegation battle as a united force: one team, one club, together as one.
Fans are invited to join a Virtual Fans Forum, sponsored by Zen, with the Board of Directors and Manager Brian Barry-Murphy on Wednesday 10th March at 7pm, live via our You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/officialrochdaleafc
We welcome questions in advance, which can be emailed to email@example.com Fans will also be able to submit questions live via the online chat function.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, thank you – and Up the Dale!