Supporters on the ups and downs of Dale’s rocky season

Date published: 16 May 2018

Following Dale’s victory over Charlton Athletic, which secured the club’s place in League One next season, Rochdale Online asked Dale supporters their opinion on the club’s season, including the incredible 'great escape'.

Having been 12 points adrift of safety just two months ago, the possibility of staying in League One for Rochdale AFC was probably unthinkable to most.

Spending a total of 181 days out of 275 in the bottom four of the league table and only ever ranking at a high of 17th place, the club’s victory in the last game of the season sparked incredible scenes at the Crown Oil as Dale avoided what had appeared near certain relegation.

Col Cavanagh who has been a supporter of the Rochdale team since he was 7 years old and launched the unofficial dale site in 1998, said: “My highlight for this season was definitely the last game against Charlton.

“The ten-minute wait after the match wanting to know the other results really did my head in but it all worked out in the end; even the most optimistic supporters had given up by this point, but we turned it around.

“The lowest point this season for me was the home game against Blackpool on New Year’s Day. This was the point when relegation became a real possibility. Being 12 points away from safety was unbelievable.

“Blackpool hadn’t played on form for months either and if we couldn’t even win against them on home ground then we definitely didn’t have a chance.

“By this point Dale hadn’t won a game in a couple of months and I don’t think I even spoke to anyone for about two hours that night. It was shocking. It just added to the day that the pitch was swamped as well, it was a bad time.

He added: “I thought we would win the last game of the season, but I also thought Oldham would win as well.

“I can’t see Dale doing anything like this again next season. Keith Hill is the man with the plan and he should know what our weaknesses are now so I’m hopeful. I don’t think we will be pushed as far as making it to the play-offs, but we should still do better than what we’ve done this season.

When asked how he thinks Rochdale AFC could improve next season, Col concluded: “Next season we need a decent centre midfielder. We should bring in more of the young players too because they really are talented, and it would be nice to see some fresh faces who can take some of the pressure off other players.”

Charlie Stansfield, a local Rochdale fan who has supported the club since 1990 when Peter Ward was her favourite player, said: “The last game was also a massive highlight for me as Joe Thompson was our saviour, but the home game against Tottenham Hotspurs was also one of my highlights. From the way the season had been going I didn’t expect anything from it but then when we won the atmosphere was incredible.

“The low points for me were the last batch of Tuesday night games towards the end of the season like MK Dons and the second game against Fleetwood where the players just lacked a good performance and seemed to not have any interest in winning. That was a really frustrating game for me because we had already seen what we were capable of and I don’t think the same effort was put in from the players.”

She added: “Pre-season I predicted that the team would only rank 20th in the league table; I didn’t have much faith and I was right not to. I found the season stressful and just constantly disappointing.

“Next season I think we need better recruitment. We need a proven striker and I think some of the players just need to move on.

“On the whole, I’m glad the seasons over.”

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