Blog number seven in the “Doing the 92” challenge is about my visit to Spotland; home to League 1’s Rochdale. One thing I found out about trying to get tickets to Rochdale games is that you can only buy by visiting the ticket office or by giving them a phone call. Whatever happened to online shopping? I originally decided to leave Rochdale until a later date but I found a link to Prostate Cancer UK’s website to help do some fundraising for their charity. As a reward, you get tickets to the game you agreed to do some fundraising for along with a scarf. I figured that if I help out their charity then they could help me in the “Doing the 92” challenge.
I would do fundraising for a team who make it hard for fans to get tickets. Other teams who only do tickets over the phone are Burton Albion, Crewe Alexandra and Accrington Stanley. I made them aware that I am Doing the 92 as well as sending a link to my blogs here on Back-Post. They were happy for me to volunteer for them and they said that they have read these blogs and were interested to hear what I had to say on my time there. I was happy because I got to help out a good cause along with being able to cross off another ground in the challenge.
I arrived in Rochdale and the first thing I noticed was how dead and quiet it was. I felt like I was on the set of The Walking Dead. Thankfully, after walking into the town centre, I managed to find people, shops and tourist attractions. While wandering around, I got a message on Twitter. Usually I ignore them because it’s either my mom retweeting my movie blogs but this time it was Rochdale sending me a message. They said that because I was helping out Prostate Cancer UK, I could do some pitch side photos at the game. This is something I’ve always wanted to do and I finally got the chance. When I first read the message, I didn’t know what to do! I told them everything and said that I was interested in doing pitch side photos. They were happy for me to do this and wished me luck in completing the “Doing the 92” challenge.
I arrived at Spotland and met with everyone who helped raise money for Prostate Cancer UK. Overall, I had a lot of fun doing this as you get to meet fans and get to chat with them about how they think their season has been. One fan told me that Rochdale should sign Jon Stead from Huddersfield Town in the summer. At the time of writing this, Stead is currently on loan at Bradford City. Another fan said that they need to sign goalkeeper Jamie Jones, on loan from Preston North End, to a permanent deal.
I collected my pass and bib from the reception and made my way to the pitch. When there, I almost panicked as I had never done this before and wasn’t sure on where to go. Thankfully, one of the club photographers told me that if you do pitch side photos then you are allowed to go anywhere except the dugouts. So I chose to sit next to the Rochdale dugout and I learned right away that I am woefully unprepared. I don’t have expensive cameras and lenses. I don’t even have a stool to sit on. I ended up sitting on the ground to which Rochdale manager, Keith Hill, said “Nice to see someone different from everyone else”. I don’t know what he meant by that but he also wished me luck in completing the 92.
I have no idea how he found out but I was very happy to get some endorsement from a manager.
As the game started and I took my seat next to the Rochdale dugout, I couldn’t help but notice that the stand in front of me was almost empty apart from one section which had the Colchester United fans. I think Colchester only sold fewer than 200 tickets but it looks small for a stand that seats about 5000.
After six minutes, Rochdale had taken the lead thanks to a Rhys Bennett header. Bennett would later get yellow carded after 30 minutes. I have no idea how he got yellow carded but he did. The rest of the first half after the goal saw both teams have shots at goal but neither team getting any luck. One thing that I thought was impressive was Jamie Jones’s saves. He really impressed me and I think Preston should give him a start when his loan deal comes to an end. The second half started and after ten minutes Ian Henderson scored from a really hard angle which caused Rochdale fans to chant “Going down” at Colchester fans.
Colchester are currently in the relegation zone as I type this. Colchester fans responded with “Staying Up” chants. After 63 minutes, Colchester had scored from a penalty thanks to Chris Porter. I didn’t see why the referee called a penalty at the time but after watching highlights on Sky Sports, one of the Colchester players went down in the box without being touched. But the penalty didn’t help them as the game ended with a 2-1 win for Rochdale. After the game, I had a chat with some of the fans in the pub who were looking at the league tables. One fan said that he was looking forward to an away day at Blackpool but not at Millwall. They were hoping that the Millwall game takes place on a Saturday rather than at night during the week.
Overall, I had a lot of fun at Rochdale. We manage to raise a lot of money for Prostate Cancer UK and I got to do my first ever pitch side photos. This is something that I would really like to do but I’m entirely sure on how to do it. I would like to say a massive thank you to both Prostate Cancer UK and Rochdale FC for making my day better than expected. If you would like to donate to Prostate Cancer UK then visit http://prostatecanceruk.org/get-involved/donate. I have already applied to help out at Barnsley on March 21st and at Sheffield United on April 18th. I am waiting for confirmation on if I can help out. If you have any recommendations on where I should visit next, then leave it in the comments or send me a message on Twitter @DanWhite1993. I hope you have enjoyed this. My next blog will be about my visit to Manchester United’s Old Trafford as the Under-21s take on Tottenham Hotspurs Under-21s from March 10th where Falcao played 72 minutes and failed to score.
Here are the full stats about the game
Team Visited – Rochdale
Taking on – Colchester United
Venue – Spotland
Date Visited – March 7th 2015
Overall Attendance – 2625
Score – Rochdale 2-1 Colchester United
Goal Scorers – Rochdale – Rhys Bennett (6), Ian Henderson (55)
Goal Scorers – Colchester United – Chris Porter (63 pen)
Yellow Cards – Rochdale – Rhys Bennett (30)
8th – Manchester United (VISITED – BLOG COMING SOON)
9th – Chesterfield (March 23rd England U17 vs. Slovenia U17)
10th – Arsenal (March 29th Brazil vs. Chile)