The Trust started 2013’s season with an interactive fans forum, the forum was streamed live on the Trust website and was available a couple of days later on You Tube, prior to the fans forum was a fans consultation regarding the proposed uses of the fund know as the ‘Bowlee Fund’.
In July, the Junior Dale was re launched, the Trust and the Football in the Community department worked together to get the Junior Dale up and running again to offer youngsters that first step on the road to becoming the next generation of Dale supporters.
Membership of the Junior Dale is completely free and can be done online on this very website.
Each matchday, the Football in the Community will be running Junior Dale. Any interested should meet up at the FITC office at the back of the Pearl Street stand at midday. From midday until 2pm there will be coaching sessions and 5-a-sides taking place, before a lunch provided by McDonalds. Following the lunch, Junior Dale members will take their place in a specifically designated area of the ground. The cost of this is £9 per session. All youngsters are supervised throughout the entire day by the FITC staff. Dale Trust members receive a £1 discount.
We also promoted the free training tops available to kid attending, these wet down a storm.
August saw the relaunch of an old Trust favourite ‘Friends of the Trust’ starting with 15 partners, the Trust finished the season with 24 business’s offering discounts to Trust members, this initiative is a way the Trust promote local businesses to our members in return for discounts are specific promotions to Trust members. We are always looking to increase the number of partners we have, so get in touch if this is of interest.
Throughout the season the Trust hosted three Match Ball Sponsorships:
Bury 7th September
Wimbledon 2nd November
York 5th April
Three times a season, The Trust will be match ball sponsors and will do a draw of its members to see which supporters represent the Trust. This involves match tickets and a pre match meal for 18 supporters drawn out over the course of the season.
In September the Trust held a sponsored walk to Accrington, the aim of the walk was to raise funds for this year’s chosen charity – Rochdale Football In the Community, raising over £1,000 towards a van that they can use when they visit schools, organisations and community groups throughout the town.
Starting point was the Ratcliffe suite, with butties and brews, then at 8.00am it was off along Sandy Lane to Edenfield Road and up to Haslingden. Making good time we arrived at The Woolpack early, for more butties and refreshments, then it was onto the final leg onto Blackburn Road and into Accrington. We arrived at the Crown shortly after 1pm for further refreshments and the match.
In October The Trust held its AGM in which it covered the previous twelve months, detailed its plans for the coming season, and members had opportunities to ask questions.
Also in October the Trust launched the club’s 2014 calendar, produced and sold by the Trust it wasn’t’ just days and months, but also provided details of former Dale favourites, including Bowden, Lambert, Holt, Thompson, Jones, Evans, Simmonds and many more. This raised over £1000 for Football in the Community.
November saw the return of the Trust 5 a side tournament, with 16 teams competing to a very high standard. After league matches and quarter finals the last four teams left in the competition were Talbot Head “A” Sporting Lisbon, Talbot Head “B” and Colo.
Sporting Lisbon and Talbot Head “A” emerged as worthy winners of their respective semi finals winning 5-1 and 4-3 which pitted these two well matched teams in an enthralling final with Talbot edging out their opponents by the odd goal in seven.
Trophies & medals were presented to Talbot Head “A” as winners and Sporting Lisbon who finished the tournament as runners up. An added bonus for both these teams was an invitation to watch the Dale game v Exeter City from one of the hospitality boxes through a fantastic offer from Rochdale AFC.
The fund raiser was organised as part of activities by Dale’s Community Trust on behalf of Dale Supporter’s Trust and a generous gesture by Soccer Factory a donation of £150.00 is to be made to the Brandon’s Beard Appeal.
In December the Trust provided supporters in the Ratcliffe Arms with mince pies to accompany there pints, 20 boxes went down very well, we’ll be doing the same this year.
Also in December, the frost covers which were purchased by the Dale Trust earlier in the year arrived. The covers, which cost the Trust almost £7,000, are double skin and will offer added protection to the Spotland pitch during the winter months.
The Trust also assisted the club in purchasing safety netting which has been erected in front of the Pearl Street Stand. This is to help protect supporters from any stray balls which may make their way into the stand while opposition goalkeepers are being put their pre-match warm up routine.
In February the Trust assisted Helen Whittaker in collecting kid’s football shirts for her trip to Uganda this summer, the response from Dale fans was excellent; nearly 70 shirts were collected from Dale and Morecambe fans (including the 30 small kits in bags that someone donated).
Also in February following a number of consultation evenings and meetings, The Trust sent out voting slips to all members regarding the use of the fund know as the ‘Bowlee Fund’. In June the ballot slips were counted and Rochdale Supporters Trust members voted to donate £30,000 to the club to assist with the upgrade of the floodlights.
The vote was counted with an independent witness and the results are as follows –
Option 1 (donate to floodlight upgrade) – 222
Option 2 (retain funds for future training facility) – 7
The £30,000 has now been given to the club, and the Trust has been given 5,000 shares for doing so.
March saw The Trust launch our consultation on our chosen charity for 2014 / 15, we had a number of suggestions which we then asked members to vote on, the overwhelming winners was Springhill Hospice and we look forward to linking with the Hospice this coming season.
April was a very busy month for the Trust, every year, we organise an Exiles Day at the club, where those supporters are invited to be guests for the day as match sponsors and given a tour of the ground. Last season, we hosted this on 5th April for the home game against York City with around forty of our exiles attending this particular fixture. Exiles fans enjoyed a very nice buffet, tour of the ground and Q & A with the gaffer in the changing room, meeting with clubs directors and socialising with other exiles.
Many exiles have met up and travelled together to matches as they find out that they are not in the only Dale supporter living in their part of the world. Furthermore, our exiled members receive an Exiles Newsletter emailed to their inbox.
Later in April was our evening with Keith Hill; this was a fundraiser for Grow4Joe that was held in the Dale Bar raising just short of £750. Around 120 people were in attendance for a quiz and a Q&A with Dale manager Keith Hill. Collectively around £750 was raised on the night through a combination of entrance fee, quiz monies, donations, wristband sales and a number of auctions on the night.
It was an enjoyable evening, with a more laid back atmosphere to what you would normally get at a Fans Forum, with Keith answering questions on his career both as a player and as a manager, and football in general. Grow4Joe is a charity set up by Joe Thompson following the diagnosis that he was suffering from Nodular Sclerosing Hodgkins Lymphoma Cancer; Joe won his battle and is now back training.
A week later was the Player of the Season Awards night, now, this was a special night, we’d won promotion that afternoon, we’d been on the pitch waiting for it to be confirmed, the players came out and everyone felt part of the family. Well, if you felt part of the family then, later that night was a family Christmas, birthday and wedding do never to forget. If you were there you know so we won’t go on.
As part of the night the Trust were handing out exclusively designed Dale posters to give away at the Awards Evening. The posters had been printed by Dale Print and contain pictures of all the current first team players. (apologies to Sean McGinty who played after we put the poster in for printing).Fans were encourage to get a signature from every player; it’d be interesting to find out if everyone completed their poster?
The award evening tickets were a ‘pay what you want’ and these with the raffle and the earlier evening with Keith Hill meant that Dale Fans had raised £2431.81 for #grow4joe.
Finally, The Trust has run the Player of the Month award for a number of years now but this year we took things a stage further with one Trust member drawn at random from the votes being given that player’s shirt in recognition of the award. The result of the player and goal of the month are announced on the Trust website and the winning Trust member receives a potentially sweaty, but treasured prize.
So all in all, a busy season for the Trust, but one we hope to beat for the 2014-5 season.