Pa­tience is pay­ing off for shrewd Dale

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: -

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.

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