Rochdale AFC 2019-20 League One Preview

2018-19 was a year where Rochdale experienced the change for the first time in many years as Chris Dunphy(Chairman) retired, Keith Hill(Manager) who won two of the three promotions club achieved since formation was sacked with 11 games to go.

Sacking Keith drew mixed responses from fans as some felt that – he deserved the chance to see the season through while others thought it was too little too late, but it showed that the new board under Andrew Kilpatrick is ready to make tough decisions.

Sacking Keith might not be a popular decision at the time but appointing long term coach Brian Barry-Murphy in his role initially as caretaker and then permanently, proved to be a fruitful as he not only led them to safety but also won six of the eleven games in charge while drawing two more.

Fans seem optimistic about this season and will hope their team can consolidate mid-table finish and push for playoffs after two seasons where they were fighting for survival.

This optimism in some sections is not just because they have a new manager but also because they are set to receive £1.2million from a 20% sell-on clause they placed in Craig Dawson’s contract at the time of his sale to West Bromwich Albion nine years ago.

Rochdale AFC was always dubbed as a team that is “Punching above their weight” under Keith Hill because of their finances. Let’s take a closer look at what £1.2million can do to their finances without selling any of their current team star players this season.

Rochdale AFC Finances

They are a team that has an average attendance of 3,574 which is up from 3,309 in the 2017-18 season but they reached FA Cup fifth round and played replay match at Wembley in 2017-18 whereas they only reached the second round in 2018-19.

Since we don’t have numbers for the 2018-19 season let’s look at 2016-17, 2017-18 seasons to understand things better.

As you can see from the above picture they had a revenue close to 5.4 million in 2017-18, 6 million in 2018-19 but they were both influenced by great FA Cup run which included reaching the fourth round in 2016-17 and 5th round in 2018-19.

So, it is safe to say Gate Receipts, TV money, Prize money will all go down this season because they only managed to reach the second round in the 2018-19 season.

Transfer fees for this season will be £1.2million from Craig Dawson’s sell-on clause and 350k from Daniel Adshead’s (17-year-old who made 10 League One appearances last season) sale to Norwich City which takes it £1.55million in transfer fees till now. So Brian Barry-Murphy Starts with a similar budget to what Keith Hill had a year ago. Lets quickly look at how their wage bill is looking.

The above-mentioned figures include wages paid to all staff including Board members, coaching staff and players.

They could have paid £3.2 million in player wages under SCMP rules, but the board under Chris Dunphy was known to abide by the principle of living within your own means and keeping club debt-free. So they were paying the entire staff £2.9 million.

It will be interesting to see whether Andrew Kilpatrick and his team will push the SCMP limit even without having guaranteed revenue. Now let’s take a quick look at their new manager.

Rochdale AFC Manager

Brian Barry-Murphy is the current manager of the Rochdale A.F.C. He has been at the club in a coaching role since the 2013-14 season and was appointed following the sacking of a Keith Hill.

Coming from the coaching setup he knows the ins and outs of the football club and from his press conference, he understands the clubs’ financial situation.

He has mentioned many times that he draws influence from David Moyes and likes every member of his staff to feel like they are part of the setup.

Brian has listed 3-4-3 as his favorite formation but has played 4-4-2, 4-1-3-2, 4-3-3 based on the formation which shows he is not afraid of making changes.

Now let’s look at the players who left the club in the summer.

Rochdale AFC 2019-20 Player Departure

They have released two players in the summer, they are as follows

  • Jordan Williams
  • Brad Inman

while they released(Mutual consent) South African International Defender Kgosi Ntlhe and sold 17-year-old English U-18 midfielder Daniel Adshead to Norwich City on £350k transfer fee.

Rochdale AFC 2019-20 New Signings

One of the biggest problems for them last season was their defense which leaked 87 goals in 46 matches of those 50 came from away games.

Rochdale was also very reliant on the loan market last season and brought in 11 players I could be possible that they might also take the same approach this season. So far they have brought in 3 players on Loan and one on a permanent deal.

Eoghan O’Connell

Eoghan O’Connell is a 23-Year-Old former Irish international Center-back who is a product of Celtic Academy. He is 6 ft 2 and can also play as Defensive Midfielder.

He had a breakthrough season last year and was an integral part of the Bury team that won promotion back to League One.

O’Connell left the financially troubled club and joined Rochdale in the summer. He also had a problem with the amount of playing time he was getting at Bury as he mostly made substitute appearances.

The 23-year-old managed to make 91 professional appearances in his career of those 31 were League One, another 31 were League Two, 7 were SPL and another 7 were from League of Ireland.

He is highly praised for his ability to pass from the back, is a commanding Center back with good strength and great Ariel presence. He is still 23 so there is a lot of room for improvement.

Rhys Norrington-Davies

Rhys Norrington-Davies is a 20-year-old Left-Back who was called up by Welsh Youth teams but never managed to make any appearances. He is a product of Swansea City, Sheffield United Academies.

Last season he was loaned out to the National League side Barrow FC, made 28 appearances last season for them and helped them in achieving the 10th position.

He is a pacy player who stands at 5′ 11”, and is known for his lung-busting runs and his ability to put decent crosses into the box.

Rekeil Pyke

Rekeil Pyke is a 21-year-old Center Forward who is a product of Huddersfield Town Academy and many of The Dale fans might remember him from last season as he made 6 appearances for them at the end of last season after joining them on six months loan.

Pyke who is 5′ 10” has joined Wrexham, Colchester United, Port Vale, before joining The Dale on loan had accumulated 26 National League, 19 League Two, 6 League One appearance before the start of 2019-20 season.

He is a Center Forward who can play on both wings, as Second Striker. Pyke is a Hardworking player who uses his pace to the best of his ability.

Robert Sánchez

Robert Sánchez is a 21-year-old Goal Keeper who spent his youth years at Levante UD and moved to Brighton & Hove Albion when he was 15-years-old and has been at the Brighton since then.

Last season he was sent to Forest Green Rovers to gain first-team experience by playing League Two football but following Mat Ryan’s Asia Cup duty Australia, he was called back to provide cover for David Button and Jason Steele.

He didn’t manage to make any senior appearances for Brighton but was on the bench for 3 FA Cup(West Brom(2-Times), Derby) and gained exposure of being part of a Premier League squad.

Robert Sánchez is a 6′ 6” goalkeeper who is great with the ball at his feet and is often praised for his long kicks and Throwing ability. His command of area and wingspan make him a great asset to have in the post during set-pieces.

Rochdale AFC 2019-20 Away Journey

The longest trip The Dale has to make this season is to play Portsmouth at the Fratton Park while the shortest trip will be to play Bury(Depending on the situation and EFL decisions) at Gigg Lane. More numbers about their journeys are listed below in miles.

Total Distance2978
Average distance per game129.5
Longest Trip261
Shortest Trip6

Rochdale AFC 2019-20 Odds

Bookmakers are predicting a mid-table finish for Rochdale with a chance of getting into the relegation battle. The odds that are being offered are as follows


Rochdale AFC 2019-20 Fixtures

To read more club previews click here or visit 72 in 72 section from the menu.

Thanks for stopping by and have a nice day – Sapra