Four stories of the summer
The Craig Dawson affair
The slowest, most dullest transfer ‘saga’ since Christine Bleakley went from BBC to ITV; Craig Dawson is still a Dale player, but may not be on Saturday. It seems like he’s been almost going somewhere ever since he came, that now-forgettable pre-season of twelve months ago when Rory McArdle got injured against Radcliffe Borough (there’s irony for you) and a young lad people vaguely knew from some pub in Norden got the nod. Those first few months were terrific, each performance confirming our own initial impressions – this guy Dawson… a bit special, int he?. But as his stature grew and as Manish Bhasin started to mention his name on The Football League Show with ever-increasing, pen-twiddling regularity, we knew he would be going. And ever since then it’s felt like he’s been gradually slipping away, like a college student slips away to university from the clutches of his parents. It can’t be long now; Burnley are sniffing around, anxious to steal a bargain and Ipswich Town have been lurking in the background ever since Middlesbrough went cold. Scunthorpe were told to fuck off, but then went and robbed Dagnall instead. Spurs and Fulham have “been keeping tabs” on him as Sky Sports News would put it. His list of suitors is endless. But for now he belongs with us and for that we can only be thankful. He might not be here long, so let’s enjoy it while we can, eh?
From Budapest to Balderstone
I’ve been to Budapest. I cannot imagine anyone in the world choosing to move from there to Rochdale, from the Danube to the River Roch, from the capital of an ancient empire to the capital of benefit claimants. Perhaps I’m going a bit far. But Anthony Elding (you remember him, right?) has done exactly that and swapped the beautiful surroundings of Budapest’s Ferencváros district with the dubious highlights of Cutgate. Elding is a bit of a name in lower league circles, having played for Boston, Stevenage and Kettering before hitting the biggish time with Stockport and eventually Leeds United. This could be described as his career highpoint; it didn’t work out at Leeds and soon he headed for an ill-fated couple of seasons with Crewe, being farmed out on loan to Lincoln and Kettering, again. He was released from Crewe at the end of last season and – this is where it gets odd – signed a deal with Ferencváros, of early round UEFA Cup fame. He scored 8 in 15 last season, but didn’t like the Hungarian way of life (too much paprika), so has returned to England. At 28 he’s getting on a bit, but Elding always looked a class act when playing against Dale and will provide decent competition for Akpa-Akpro and Jack Redshaw.
The story of them two that came from Grimsby, avoiding fish puns wherever possible
Speaking of Akpa-Akpro, his arrival and that of fellow Mariner Joe Widdowson were the first two signings of this summer; both arrived on free transfers with our goalkeeper Kenny Arthur going the other way. Ak-Ak, as Grimsby fans probably don’t call him, was born in Toulouse, and knocked around for a few years at his home town club before heading for Brest (pun very much intended). A short stop in Brussels followed before Jean-Louis jumped on the Eurostar and arrived fresh-faced at London Euston, rucksack on his back, eyes a-gleam with excitement. Then someone directed him to Cleethorpes. Two years at Grimsby Town, scoring a worrying 8 in 56, and JLAA has arrived at Spotland. It takes all sorts. Our other marine acquisition is Joe Widdowson, left-back extraordinaire and cock-a-nee through and through. He also enjoyed a two year spell at Grimsby before heading to Spotland as replacement for Tom Kennedy. Both should play on Saturday.
Just one Hornetto
That one Hornetto is Mr. Paul Ormerod, who has answered queries from flustered Dale fans about the state of Hornets finances and the Stadium Company in general. I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago. It seems that Hornets are now fully up-to-date (as of August 2nd) with the rent towards the Stadium Company and the rumours about them being massively behind on it were either entirely unsubstantiated or exaggerated (the timing of Mr. Ormerod’s statement interestingly comes after their last payment, so it seems that they had to pay the debt first to then declare that they were not in arrears). But whatever he has said (and what he has said is good news), Mr. Ormerod has not answered the question about whether or not he is still bankrolling Hornets. His silence suggests not. Watch this space.
Written by Matt Boothman on 5th August 2010.