Thursday, 2 December 2010

Rochdale fan writes

I have a soft spot for Rochdale. On 11 January 1947 my father went to see Charlton beat them 3-1 in the FA Cup. He then strolled up to St. Alphege's Hospital in Greenwich where I was born at 7.30 p.m. Remember in those days fathers had to hang around in a waiting room swapping fags and no doubt discussing the game. (I was once contacted by an exiled Addick who was also born there that day).

I get quite a lot of stick from friends who support Manchester United, but my publisher at Manchester University Press (he is bringing out a book on football I am involved in) is a keen Rochdale fan and he writes:

'I think the chances of it being on are quite slim. The game against Oldham last Saturday went ahead as we doubled up using both our pitch covers and Oldham's, but the pitch got a bit of frost into it during the game and was starting to look very hard on one side by the end of that game. However, the covers have been on all week with snow on top of them since Tuesday, so the ptich might be soft underneath all that. I hope so.

This season we have switched from 442, which was the basis of our success over the last three and half years, to a more cautious 433 system, whch has meant that we are not going to get overrun in the middle of the pitch by the better sides such as yourselves [sic], Southampton, Huddersfield etc. It also means we have abandoned the all out attack, two wingers, get it into the box tactics which worked so well in league 2. But in the past three games we have reverted to 442 and it has brought a more attacking philosophy back to the fore and brought some limited improvement, with draws at home to Swindon (3-3) and Oldham (1-1) and away at Carlisle (1-1), after an awful run of six defeats in seven games.

The three key players are mifield dynamo and record appearance maker Gary Jones, who has ten goals to his name already this season, centre half Craig Dawson who signed for West Brom in August and was loaned back to Dale for the rest of this season, only a year after joining us form Radcliffe Borough, and cultured forward Chris O'Grady, whose lethal partnership with Chris Dagnall was the main reason we won promotion last season, after he signed on loan in August from Oldham and then permanently in January for £100,000.'

Should the game go ahead, which I think is doubtful, I am forecasting a 2-2 draw.

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