Rochdale have sacked manager Keith Hill after six years in charge of the struggling League One club.
Hill returned for his second stint as manager in January 2013 after initially being at the club for four and a half years between 2006 and 2011. He managed Barnsley between the two spells.
Widely regarded as the most successful manager in the clubs history, Hill won two hundred and thirty-five of the five hundred and seventy matches he took charge in his two spells at the club. He achieved two out of the three promotions in Rochdale’s history, the last coming from League Two in 2014. He also guided Dale to three top ten finishes in League One and famously beat the drop last season, but they have not won since Boxing Day and have lost their last five matches. They currently sit twenty-second in the table, five points from safety.
The club has also sacked assistant manager Chris Beech after twelve years at Spotland.
The club statement said ‘It has been the most difficult decision that the board has had to make, but it is felt that, due to results on the pitch, a new direction is needed.’
‘We believe the next five games against opposition in and around us represents a great opportunity to try and retain our League One status, which is why this action has been taken now.’
Brian Barry Murphy and Tony Ellis will take training this week ahead of this Saturday’s home game against Shrewsbury Town.
Dale fans soon took to Twitter to react to the news of Hill’s departure, and a split in opinion is apparent amongst supporters on the wisdom of the board’s decision. However, the majority felt relegation was now a certainty. Here is a selection of their responses.
What an absolutely ridiculous decision by the Board of @officiallydale .
I know that things have not been great over the past few months but the minimum Keith deserved was to see out the season. The final nail in the relegation coffin has now been hit ?
— Matt Bannon (@mattbdale) March 4, 2019
Correct decision made far too late. His ego grew far greater than his talent
— Paul Hayhurst (@PaulHayhurst) March 4, 2019
A very sad day for the Football Club.. when the ambitions of the 'new' board don't meet that of the manager, only two outcomes… they part their ways and the club goes back to valuing success as survival.. Thanks Keith, enjoyed the ride!
— Andrew Harrison (@ajhtraining) March 4, 2019
Sadly it was long overdue, thankyou Keith and Chris for such a great job, all the best two both blokes for the future
— Gav Lever (@GavLever) March 4, 2019
Sad day for the football club, thanks for everything Keith best of luck in the future always a legend around here. Shame people have such short memories.
— Henry France (@funkyhenry12) March 4, 2019
Its not about having short memories. His success is in the past and you have got to live in the present. Football is a results driven business and the results in the league for the past 2 seasons just havent been good enough at all.
— Rob Heath (@robheath23) March 4, 2019
Despite the results this season, there is no doubt in my mind that Hill has earned the right to try and rebuild in league 2 if we do go down. Our best ever manager and this seems a very short sighted decision
— Jonny Holt (@JonnyHolt23) March 4, 2019
About bloody time
Too late in our season tho!
— Wesleigh wild (@wesleighwild5) March 4, 2019
Finally! Way way too late, but good job it's finally done.
Ellis in till the summer please
— L'Boro Dale (@LBoroDale) March 4, 2019
I have not found it in me to criticise Hilly because of all the happy memories?. All things come to an end. Thanks Kieth and best wishes for the future!
— Alan kershaw (@kershaw_alan) March 4, 2019
Whilst I think its probably the right decision, have to thank Keith and Chris for everything they've done to us, ive only really followed the club greatly for a few years but still made some brilliant memories in that time. Best of luck for the future Keith
— James Weston (@jtweston88) March 4, 2019
Back down to League Two for another 500 years you go.
— Rob Leach (@the_mushy_pea) March 4, 2019