Go Away: Rochdale

A yellow metrolink tram with the destination displaying as Rochdale, pictured on a red background

Situated in the dale of the River Roch, it’s not known how Rochdale came by its name. The settlement’s history begins with an entry in the Domesday Book under Recedham Manor, and according to local records weekly markets were initially held in Rochdale from 1250, but they soon found they were missing valuable morning trade and so nowadays they’re held from about 0900.

Like many Lancastrian towns Rochdale saw significant growth during the Industrial Revolution, and was famous for spinning throughout the 19th century; a phenomena which caused constant nausea among a large proportion of residents that only ended when the town was finally securely tethered in 1901.

Rochdale AFC are statistically one of the poorest teams to have participated in the Football League, having spent the entirety of their 100 year membership in the bottom two divisions, including 36 consecutive years in the fourth tier between 1974 and 2010. Yet they still managed to reach the League Cup Final in 1962; making them the footballing equivalent of that chronic underachiever you went to school with who still somehow has an incredibly attractive and likeable spouse. 

What’s it famous for?

The first ever Co-op store was opened in Rochdale in 1844 by a group of 28 local men; a staffing to shop floor ratio you’ll no doubt be familiar with if you’ve ever stepped foot in an Apple store. Among those founding members of the Rochdale Co-operative was the British Radical John Bright who’s also famous for founding the successful Anti Corn Law League, or as it is now known, the National Society of Podiatrists.

The popular musical hall and early film star Gracie Fields was famously born above a fish and chip shop in Rochdale, though it is not known whether the midwife chose to deliver her open or wrapped. Another performer who hails from Rochdale is Lisa Stansfield; her biggest selling single was the 1989 hit ‘All Around the World (and I can’t find my baby)’ written to highlight the rising rate of child neglect in the town.

How to blend in

Champion principles of democratic control and maintain a homely down to earth demeanour… all whilst commuting to and from Manchester each day, never spending any more time in the town than you really have to.

What’s the stadium like?

Spotland has been Rochdale’s home since 1906, yet credit must be paid to the ground staff as despite well over a century of use the blue plastic seats have barely weathered. A neat ground with three seated stands and one covered terrace these days it is apparently deemed a ‘multi-purpose stadium’, presumably because as well as hosting football matches, sometimes it doesn’t host football matches.

According to the Football Ground Guide the Main Stand has ‘a number of supporting pillars and some executive boxes’, which seems a bit dismissive of the proletariat. We’re sure some of those supporting are lovely people.

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