New investor in Rochdale AFC announced as board's preferred choice

Date published: 25 March 2024

Following the expiration of a period of exclusivity with World Soccer Holdings LLC, Rochdale AFC has announced that it has been approached by, and has subsequently confirmed, the Ogden family as its preferred investor in the club.

The Ogden family has said that they will make ‘sufficient funds available to the club to enable it to operate for the next 30 days’ in order for the family to complete due diligence and present an offer so that investment can be concluded before the end of the season.

The family statement also says that any shares they acquire would be held in trust for the benefit of the Rochdale AFC Community Trust and that in the medium-term, their ambition is to assist the club to become financially sustainable regardless of football success.

Sir Peter Ogden and Lady Catherine Ogden were born in Rochdale and their charitable trust, the Ogden Trust, which primarily supports the teaching and learning of physics in under-represented groups, has various ongoing initiatives in Rochdale schools.

In a statement the family said: We were made aware of the club’s difficulties in recent weeks, and we held constructive initial meetings with the club and the Dale Supporters Trust. We have since been monitoring the situation while the club has been in exclusive discussions with WSH LLC. We were informed that the exclusivity period has expired and have since stepped up our discussions and diligence efforts.

“In our view, the club (and the Rochdale AFC Community Trust which is so closely associated with it) are community assets of immense value which need to survive. We intend to make an offer to the club, but we need some time to ensure that our diligence is completed, and our offer can be properly formulated. Perhaps most importantly, we would like to ensure that all stakeholders have sufficient chance to review and consider our proposal. However, given the club’s severe financial difficulties, time is not on our side.

“We will use this period to actively engage with all stakeholders, including the town’s political figures, creditors and sponsors to ensure they are prepared to play their part in ensuring the survival of the club. This period will also be used to formulate our future plans for both first team and academy operations.”

Sir Peter was educated at Rochdale Grammar School, and after graduating from Durham University with a PhD in particle physics, he went on to complete an MBA at Harvard Business School before a career in investment banking in both the UK and the US.

In 1981, Sir Peter co-founded the computer services company Computacenter PLC and in 1982 the financial software company Computasoft which was subsequently renamed Dealogic PLC. He was executive chairman of Computacenter from 1981–1997 and chairman of Dealogic until 2014.

Lady Catherine is a qualified teacher and has taught in primary schools in Rochdale, County Durham and West London.

The Ogden Trust was launched in 1999 with £22.5m of Sir Peter’s own money, to help very able students from less-well-off families access various educational opportunities.


Simon Gauge, chairman of Rochdale AFC
Simon Gauge, chairman of Rochdale AFC


Rochdale AFC Chairman Simon Gauge stated: “This is a different type of football investment, in that it is primarily driven by the recognition of, and motivation to preserve, the significant community value that clubs like ours provide.

“The Ogden family recognise the history that our football club has and are motivated to help us achieve sustainability so that we will be at the heart of our community for another 100 years and beyond.

“We hope that the Government, along with the Premier League, EFL, National League, and other stakeholders, also recognise the community value that clubs like ours provide to communities up and down the country.

“If this is the case, they must agree on a distribution model that allows us and others to run in a sustainable way and create a proper pyramid with three up and three down from the National League to the EFL.

“A system with only one automatic promotion place available encourages clubs to gamble on promotion and operate in an unsustainable manner. This must be scrapped.

“I would also like to put on record my thanks to Rochdale Borough Council and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, for their support to this point and I look forward to continuing to work with them as we strive to complete the best outcome for the Club and community.”

The club has stated that it will make no further comment on the proposed investment whilst it assists The Ogden family in carrying out a further period of engagement before a purchase of shares in the club is completed.

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