Former Swinton chairman Andy Mazey leading consortium to take over Rochdale

Drew Darbyshire

A consortium led by ex-Swinton chairman Andy Mazey have made an approach to take Rochdale forward.

The consortium also includes former Swinton directors Tony Sheridan, Richard Heyes and Peter Smith. They, along with Hornets president Paul Ormerod, have held extensive talks with the club’s current board and chief executive Steve Kerr over a formal proposal.

The plan would see the Hornets move from a supporter-owned organisation to a privately-owned club – but it will be implemented only with the backing and future involvement of the club’s fans.

And the consortium have made it clear from the outset that there are no plans to move Rochdale Hornets to Manchester. Agreements are in place to formally safeguard the name and location of the club.

In a statement released by Rochdale, it read: “Conversations with the consortium have been taking place for a couple of weeks, and includes plans to invest in the first two years, and restructure the club to take it forward beyond what will be an uncertain time for the whole sport at the end of the current TV deal in 2021. Overall, they have presented a five-year plan for development that will make the club sustainable over the long-term.

“At present, the club is losing money and struggling to raise sufficient revenue to meet its obligations. The club needs investment, resource and a strategic vision to build value in the product, the team and the sport in the town.

“The co-operative model has served us well, but it’s unsustainable. Given the size of our membership we have reached the extreme of our limitations, and we are currently over-reliant on Rugby Football League distribution and the generosity of benefactor loans to make us viable.

“The consortium are committed to providing coach Matt Calland with a budget to make us competitive in League 1, with the longer-term intention of becoming a viable, sustainable Championship club. To do that, the consortium’s investment will run across all areas of the club – including non-playing activities and infrastructure. All investment from the consortium will be used for strengthening the club – not servicing its debts.

“The board has a responsibility to do what it feels best secures the club’s long-term viability and delivers future success. It feels that the proposal received from the consortium is exciting and has lots of potential to grow Rochdale Hornets into a club that all members and fans can be proud of in a way that can’t be achieved under the current ownership model.”

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