Up The Dale !

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Anybody got a “second team” they support – I mean actually pay to watch? I suppose if you’re a normal person the answer’s no, but if you’re a saddoe like me it’s yes.

My second team isn’t United, City, Liverpool, Everton etc, it’s a much more sensible choice (drum-roll), it’s ………… Rochdale!

I’ve always had a soft spot for them ever since our first ever win as a FL club – 13 Sept 1978, Latics 3 (Wright, Corrigan, Hinnigan) Rochdale 0, att 5,746, and always looked forward to our trips to Spotland. If the footy was poor you could always divert your gaze and admire the Pennine scenery, and I didn’t mind (too much) when I was overcharged by a street urchin for a team sheet at a Freight Rover game one freezing cold, dark winter’s evening!

Since we’ve reached the PL and have loads of blank Saturdays I still make it to Spotland 2 or 3 times per season.  The first thing to note on arrival is the top chippy right next to the ground (about 15 yards from the nearest turnstile). Then there’s the £9 admission price (yes,nine), to stand (yes,stand) at the Sandy Lane end. If you get there early enough you can even lean against a crush barrier (remember them?).

The inspiration for penning this is that after last night’s win at Bradford, Rochdale now stand proudly at the top of the Division 4 table (I don’t recognise that Coca-Cola thingy – although if it was the Guinness League 2 I might make more of an effort). After almost 40 years in the same division, and defeats in the play-offs in each of the last two seasons, Dale are looking good for automatic promotion.

A quick glance at the fixture lists reveal that Latics have a blank Saturday on Dec 19 and Rochdale are at home to Shrewsbury – I can smell those chips already !

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