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Club News

From Debut To Dugout

12 May 2023

Club News

From Debut To Dugout

12 May 2023

Following Jimmy McNulty’s appointment as the Club’s new Head Coach, we’ve taken a look at his playing career in a Dale shirt.

The defender arrived at the Crown Oil Arena in the summer of 2015, on a free transfer from local rivals Bury.

He was signed by then manager Keith Hill, who he had worked with in the Championship at Barnsley.

Making his debut in an opening day 2-0 win at home to Peterborough United, McNulty made 52 appearances in all competitions in his maiden season.


Dale finished 10th in League One, but would go one better the following season, finishing 9th and narrowly missing out on a League One playoff spot, as the former Wrexham scholar made 44 appearances.

He bagged his first Dale goal in the 2017/18 campaign, during a 3-0 win away at Walsall, in one of 49 appearances throughout a memorable campaign.

Alongside Ryan Delaney and Harrison McGahey, McNulty formed part of a relatively consistent back three that would help Dale perform the great escape from relegation, as well as reaching the fifth round of the FA Cup and a trip to Wembley Stadium to face Tottenham Hotspur.


Injuries saw him limited to 29 appearances in the 2018/19 season, but he would be a consistent starter after the New Year, as Dale once again survived relegation to League Two thanks to strong end of season form. McNulty would also add three goals to his Dale tally in the season.

A further 39 appearances would follow across the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons, before being named as player-coach in the summer of 2021.

He played a further 24 times for Dale between then and January 2023, with the last of his 237 appearances coming against Carlisle United at the Crown Oil Arena.


Having taken interim charge for three games early in the 2022/23 season, he was again asked to step up for our final eight games of the season, which saw Dale win three and draw three.

You can watch McNulty’s first interview as Head Coach via our YouTube channel below.

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