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Rochdale

Ground: Spotland Stadium

Visits: 1

Date: 30th December 2016

Match: Rochdale - Shrewsbury  2-1  (League 1)

Attendance: 3 235

A full round of fixtures were scheduled for New Year´s Eve, Saturday 31 December. Some clubs decided to move their games to Friday evening though and luckily for me one of those games were Rochdale v Shrewsbury. Having been to 80 of their current 92 grounds I could do with some luck regarding fixtures. Having been to Aston Villa v Leeds the night before I stayed the night in Birmingham. At 10.57 on Friday morning my train left Birmingham New Street and around 12.30 I was at Manchester Piccadilly. My hotel was then less than a 5-minute walk from the station. After checking-in I rested in my room until I met up with Sven, the German groundhopper I met at the Aston Villa game. We had a few drinks before waiting for Julian, another German groundhopper, to show up. He eventually did and we decided to head for a restaurant to have something to eat and drink. Once at the restaurant we found out a pitch inspection was planned for 5.30 at Spotland. With the temperatures being 6-7 ºC I was a bit surprised but overnight frost obviously had not completely thawed. Over the years I have had two games postponed in England and unfortunately it could be another one tonight. At 5.40 Rochdale tweeted the game was ON though and we quickly headed towards Manchester Victoria from where we went by train to Rochdale.

Spotland Stadium was opened in 1920 and has a capacity of just under 10 000. Three stands are seated while the home end, Sandy Lane Stand, is terraced. The ground is a long way from the train station in Rochdale but for the reasonable price of £6 (£2 each!) a taxi driver brought us to Spotland Stadium. We only arrived an hour before kick-off and went straight to the ticket office to buy tickets. For £22 we bought (an unreserved) seat in the main stand. There had been a lot of mist and fog in England in recent days and once inside it was actually a bit misty. The game kick-offed as planned at 7.45 though and it actually felt quite mild. Sven decided to sit in row 1 and I was joined by Julian and Helge, yet another German groundhopper, in row 7. According to Helge there were at least eight Hannover based groundhoppers at this game and probably plenty from other clubs as well. Rochdale are fourth in the table and in the first half it was the home team who scored both goals, 2-0 at half-time. To me the second of those goals looked off-side but it was allowed to stand. The second half was poor but in the 87th minute Shrewsbury managed to score, 2-1. No more goals and Rochdale could hold on to three important points. Shrewsbury are in the relegation zone and will have to improve if they want to stay up. The game at Spotland was not exactly a classic but at least it was not postponed and I am now a step closer to the 92. After the game we once again used a taxi to go back to the train station. At 22.50 we then arrived back in central Manchester where I said good bye to my German colleagues. Tomorrow I will go to Mansfield and with a 12.15 kick-off it will be an early start for me, the train departs at 07.42.

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Welcome to Spotland Stadium

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Spotland Stadium at night

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Sandy Lane Stand

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Willbutts Lane Stand

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Pearl Street Stand

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Mascot

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Kick-off

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Sandy Lane Stand

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View of play

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Shrewsbury fans

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View of play

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View from the dug-out

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Pearl Street Stand

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Pano

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Pano