Patience is paying off for shrewd Dale
PATIENCE is a virtue – but it’s often appears to be a dirty word in football. Everyone wants immediate results and no one is prepared to wait.
Thank goodness, then, for Rochdale (see pages 34-35). A dozen years ago, Dale considered scrapping their academy due to a combination of factors – financial difficulties, the cost of maintaining it and a relative lack of players coming through.
Thankfully, the Lancashire club decided not to go ahead with the closure and, instead, they tried to reverse the situation.
It wasn’t a decision that gave them instant results, but gradually Rochdale’s patience has paid off. They have started to produce more and more players for the first team and they have reaped the rewards.
They developed a plan, they executed it and over the last three seasons (2013/14 – 2015/16) they have been ranked number three in the top 92 clubs in the country in terms of bringing youth players through into first team football.
It’s a reward for the coaching staff who have helped to bring young kids from the age of six through the system.
It also reflects well on first-team manager Keith Hill and his willingness to give young players a chance.
Some clubs may well be thinking about getting rid of their academy. They may see it as a waste of money. They may fear that they will develop players only to see them poached by bigger clubs.
But Rochdale have shown that if you show patience, work hard and put the effort in, you can be successful in nurturing your own players – and there must be a lot of satisfaction in that.
It makes them a club with solid foundations, where everyone feels as though they have a chance to develop, and creates a family feel. Hats off to Rochdale.