As part of our commitment to support all aspects of the local community, Rochdale AFC Community Trust operates a Military Veterans Programme, which aims to support former services personnel live a happy, fuller life after leaving the military.
Although the Trust offers a wide range of activities and sessions for veterans, one of the scheme’s key elements is the Rochdale AFC Military Veterans team.
Established in February 2020 by Adam Trennery, a former Royal Navy Weapons Engineer, the team provides military veterans with an opportunity to get together on a weekly basis with likeminded individuals, keep physically and mentally active, all whilst bonding over a mutual love for the beautiful game.
Speaking about how the team was founded, Adam said: “I’d previously been involved in the Military Veterans team at Curzon Ashton, and when I moved into the local area I realised that Rochdale didn’t have a team. I immediately spoke to Keith Hicks (former Trust Manager) and asked if he would be happy for me to run a team on behalf of the Trust - we haven’t looked back since!”
Nowadays, the club, which is ran in partnership with the Trust, has two other committee members and is growing at a rapidly increasing rate.
What initially started as a weekly training session for former servicemen to keep active has now developed into a fully competitive team, ready to take the local and regional community football scene by storm.
Although the team aren’t affiliated to a league yet, they’ve played a series of friendlies in recent months, beating Pershore Vets 11-1, Milnrow Firgrovia 5-1, HMP Buckley Hall Guards 8-1 and Rochdale St Clements 3-2.
If that wasn’t encouraging enough, Dale’s Vets also hosted, and won, a 5-a-side tournament at the Crown Oil Arena’s ‘Kick Pitch’, triumphing over the likes of Oldham Athletic, Curzon, Buckley Hall and AFC Fylde.
Whilst the team might be flying, Adam explained that the team is about much more than enjoying success, adding: “It’s an open book for any ex-Military personnel to come down and get involved with us. It’s not too serious, it’s an opportunity to get the lads together and have a kickabout. Everyone loves it and it’s a laugh – it’s got a real family feel.”
Looking ahead to the future, Adam revealed he is actively working to create a Military Veterans league/cup competition featuring a host of the region’s professional football clubs, whilst he’s also exploring the long-term possibilities of entering the team in an appropriate league.
Elsewhere, Adam and his fellow committee members have been working tirelessly to organise a Springhill Hospice charity match against their Oldham Athletic counterparts, which was due to take place on Saturday 8th May at the Crown Oil Arena, but unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances, this has now been postponed.
However, after already raising a remarkable £510 for such a worthy cause, the Vets have switched the fixture to the Mayfield Sports Centre on Saturday 5th June (3pm KO).
Donations are still very much welcomed via the team’s GoFundMe page, which can be viewed here and entry on the day is £5, with proceeds going to the Hospice.
For any former services personnel looking to get involved with the Rochdale AFC Military Veterans team, you can contact Adam on 07473697009, or visit the team’s Facebook page.