Opposing views: Rochdale

Our final piece from new teams to League One, looks at promoted Rochdale with five fans giving their views.

The fans

Thanks to Fitzochris, R17ALE, 442Dale, ChaffRAFC and AtThePeake from the Fans Network.

Last season

1. Best player last season?
Fitzochris – Scott Hogan, Ian Henderson, Jack O’Connell, Jamie Allen.
R17ALE – Scott Hogan. 17 goals and he turned down a move to Peterborough after we’d accepted a bid of £700,000. Word is that he went down there for talks with Ferguson and Fry, and came back declaring them a pair of t***s saying he wanted to stay at Dale.
442Dale – Choose one from Lund, Henderson and Hogan. In fact add Cavanagh, Vincenti and Allen. Lots of good players but a very good team and squad.
ChaffRAFC – The standout player is obviously Scotty Hogan, signed from Hyde and was our top scorer and could have been our record sale but he chose to stay. That said, I thought our best player this season was Matty Lund in midfield. He was quite magnificent.
AtThePeake – Ian Henderson for me. Unbelievable quality and has the experience. His ‘attitude problems’ of the past appear to have been  eradicated and he can score goals like that one versus Leeds. Unbelievable.

2. Highlight(s) of last season on the pitch? 
Fitzochris – Winning promotion against Cheltenham and beating Leeds in the FA Cup third round.
R17ALE – Beating Leeds in the FA Cup and being privileged to watch Hendo score the goal of the competition.
442Dale – Has to be Leeds but the win at Rotherham in the Cup was an easily forgotten turning point in the season. We were losing and all over the place, but Hill changed the set-up quickly, the players responded straight away and ended up outplaying the home side. That was the day the squad realised they could compete at a higher level and they’ve been pretty much illustrating it since.
ChaffRAFC – Beating Leeds at Spotland in the FA Cup was brilliant. The goal from Ian Henderson was something very special.
AtThePeake – Beating Leeds, definitely. In the league for me, there isn’t a particular game that sticks out. Plenty of 3-0 wins that were great to watch though.

3. Worst moment(s) of the season on the pitch?
Fitzochris – Not many. Rolling over against Southend was poor, I guess.
R17ALE – Nothing really stands out.
442Dale – “Worst” is harsh. All teams have bad spells, but even our “worst” moment when we wobbled on the brink of promotion was a positive because after two poor defeats we responded straight away.
ChaffRAFC – There weren’t many but getting hammered by Southend and being beaten by AFC Wimbledon at home were very annoying. You could say they ended up costing us the title.
AtThePeake – Probably the 3-0 loss at Mansfield towards the end of the season. We were outdone by a side too physically strong for us when we had a real chance to put ourselves in the driving seat. Disappointing.

4. Sum up the season in a sentence or two?
Fitzochris – Overachieved. Bottom half budget, top three finish. Roy of the Rovers stuff.
R17ALE – Excellent. A promotion won out of the blue when most of us only harboured hopes of a top half finish.
442Dale – A season where we illustrated that building for the future doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in the present.
ChaffRAFC – Expected playoffs, that wasn’t good enough for Keith Hill who took us up automatically and could have won the league on the last day. Our season was beyond anyone’s expectations. Brilliant.
AtThePeake – Expected edge of play-offs, achieved above and beyond that – which I suppose actually is the expected when Keith Hill is in charge.

5. Your view on off-field affairs last season?
Fitzochris – The club is as harmonious as it has been for some time. Commercial elements could be improved but everything else is fine.
R17ALE – We don’t have an off-field department. We have a football team to support and that’s about it.
442Dale – We’ve improved significantly in the promotion of the club through the website and social media. The work in this area has hopefully been recognised. With a bit of conscientious analysis and planning there’s no reason why any club at our level can’t be working very effectively off the pitch.
ChaffRAFC – We’re a very well run club who live within our means, most other clubs can’t say that. We have a great chairman and board of directors.
AtThePeake – Same standard stuff. Glad we didn’t have to sell anyone is the only point I’d make.

Next season

6. What are your expectations for next season?

Fitzochris – Ideally to push for a play-off place. Realistically, survival.
R17ALE – For me, stay up and give some entertainment along the way. I think we’ll do both.
442Dale – The squad is good enough to make an impact in L1. Let’s see where they can get to.
ChaffRAFC – I expect to stay up, anything else is a massive bonus.
AtThePeake – I think the squad we have is capable of mid-table. If we can string a bit of a run together at the right time of the season then a late push for the play-offs is not unimaginable.

7. Where do the club need to strengthen on the pitch?
Fitzochris – We need to replace Jack O’Connell, Peter Cavanagh and another forward would be nice.
R17ALE – I don’t know. I’m a fan, not an expert.
442Dale – Maybe a mobile centre forward who links play in the Glenn Murray mould. But we’ve been saying that for a year and still gone up, so it’s best to leave Hill to it.
ChaffRAFC – My own view is that we’re a striker short. We don’t know how long we’ll keep Hogan and Donnelly isn’t good enough.
AtThePeake – Not seen much of Muldoon yet so I’ll stay away from the strikers. I think we’ll really miss Jack O’Connell who was on a season long loan from Blackburn, so I’ll say we could do with another centre-back.

8. If you could take one Port Vale player for next season who would it be?
Fitzochris – The Pope, I guess.
R17ALE – Ian Bogie or Martin Foyle.
442Dale – Vale always strike me as a solid team. Nowt wrong with that, but no real stand out players who you think “I’d love him in our side”.
ChaffRAFC – Tom Pope would be nice.
AtThePeake – Tom Pope. I’m not a particular fan of him really but his style would suit the likes of Hogan/Henderson/Jamie Allen well as they’d be able to feed off his strength and hold-up play.

9. What do the club need to do off-field to improve?
Fitzochris – Up the commercial side of things.
R17ALE – Find a training facility within our Borough.
442Dale – We’ve improved significantly in the promotion of the club through the website and social media. The work in this area has hopefully been recognised. With a bit of conscientious analysis and planning there’s no reason why any club at our level can’t be working very effectively off the pitch.
ChaffRAFC – The commercial department needs to improve as I’m never sure that we maximize potential sales.
AtThePeake – Simply make a concerted effort to get more supporters through the door.

10. If you were granted one wish for next season, what would it be?
Fitzochris – A second promotion.
442Dale – To continue the progress we’re making.
ChaffRAFC – I’d wish for a cup run that included one of the very big clubs. Well, either that or promotion.
AtThePeake – More of the same please!

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