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Address: Willbutts Lane,
Capacity: 10,249 (All but West Stand seated)
Practicality at its best. Spotland is not one of the standout stadiums in the country, but it’s perfectly suitable for the modern professional game.
Built in 1878, Spotland was originally known as St. Clement’s Playing Fields after the church nearby. St. Clement’s Rugby Club moved into the ground that year until they were disbanded in 1897.
The original Rochdale AFC played here between 1901 and 1902, and Rochdale Town played here between 1902 and 1903.
The current Rochdale Association Football Club were formed in 1907 and moved into Spotland in 1920, being accepted into the Football League the following year. The Dale have played here ever since, although Rugby League club Rochdale Hornets have also called the stadium their home since 1988.
For sponsorship reasons, Spotland Stadium is otherwise known as the Crown Oil Arena.
Location and Getting There
Spotland gets its name from the area of Rochdale it is in and is around 1.5 miles northwest of the Town Centre. Rochdale Golf Course and Golf Club are due west of the stadium, the River Spodden runs out beyond the east side of the stadium, and heading due south eventually brings you to the River Roch.
The stadium is fairly well packed into a residential area, and though there are a few car parking spaces around Spotland’s vicinity, it is certainly possible to find free parking spaces on the streets nearby.
I find personally that the roads northwest of the ground are the best places to go, though it is worth noting that some of these are very steep.
Rochdale Station is close to the Town Centre and walking from there to Spotland Stadium can take around 40 minutes.
What I suggest as an alternative to walking is to take the nearby MetroLink service to the Rochdale Interchange, and from there taking the 468 trax bus service, getting off at the Mons Avenue stop and walking the final little bit from there. This altogether takes about 20 minutes from the railway station to the stadium.
Outside the Stadium
The south side of Spotland Stadium has Pearl Street running along the back of it and holds the Main Stand. It is named after the late Rochdale chairman, David Kilpatrick.
It is made mostly out of blue corrugated iron with a white brickwork base, and you can find the stadium’s Reception, Ticket Office and Players’ Entrance close to the centre.
The Ratcliffe Bar and Function Suites are in a white building detached from the stand and near to the stadium’s southwest corner, whilst the Dale Bar is located in the David Kilpatrick Stand itself and its entrance is close to the one which players and officials enter through.
There are a coupe of rows of car parking spaces out beyond the stand and the turnstiles into the seating area can be found at either end next to the southeast and southwest corners. They are Turnstiles 1-6.
Continuing round in a clockwise direction brings you to the West Stand, which is known as the Sandy Lane End after the road which runs along the back of it.
The exterior is made up almost entirely of blue corrugated iron but it is difficult to see all of it as Sandy Lane is lower down than the stand itself, with a stone wall in place next to the path.
Turnstiles for the Sandy Lane End (7-10) are located at the stadium's southwest corner, just past the entrance into the Spotland Car Park and next to some of the David Kilpatrick Stand turnstiles.
The North Stand is known as the Willbutts Lane Stand after the road that runs alongside it.
The exterior here is made up of blue and grey corrugated iron with a brown brickwork base and the turnstiles leading inside (11-18) are well spread out across it.
Entrances into Rochdale’s Academy Offices can also be found along the outside of the Willbutts Lane Stand, and there is a map of Spotland’s layout available for fans to look at on the northwest corner of the ground.
Continuing round to the left brings you to the East Stand, better known as the Pearl Street Stand after the road than runs along the back of it.
The exterior here follows a similar design to the adjacent Willbutts Lane Stand, but the turnstiles into the Pearl Street Stand (19-25) are separately detached in the northeast and southeast corners.
There isn’t too much in terms of doors and entrances on the Pearl Street Stand’s outer wall, although Rochdale’s Club Shop can be found near to the northeast turnstiles.
Most of Spotland’s car parking spaces are located out beyond the southeast corner and there is a small 3G pitch set up beyond the stand's outer wall.
Inside the Stadium
The David Kilpatrick Stand is single-tiered and consists of alternating blue and red seating blocks. There is a row of executive boxes up at the back, whilst Rochdale’s changing rooms, dugouts and tunnel can all be found in the centre of the stand.
Four supporting pillars come down from the roof above and they will likely restrict your view somewhat, though they are well spread out.
The David Kilpatrick Stand does not have any windshields however and so you are not protected from the sides.
Spotland Stadium’s control box is based in a brick building next to the southeast corner.
Down at the front of the David Kilpatrick Stand now sits a large statue of Rochdale fan David Clough. A season ticket holder for many years, Clough raised an estimated £500,000 for Rochdale through selling lottery tickets, and left his entire estate, worth around £250,000, to the club after he passed away in June 2020 at the age of 78. Three months later, a statue of Clough, sat in the David Kilpatrick Stand seat which the Dale superfan used for many years, was unveiled after over £10,000 had been raised towards making it.
The Sandy Lane Stand is the only one of the four at Spotland Stadium made up of standing terrace. There are two rows of metal bars inside the standing area which fans can lean on.
Four supporting pillars come down from the roof and will restrict the view for anyone stood towards the back of the stand. The front rows however will be completely fine.
Windshields at either end of the stand cover all but the front rows on either side.
The Willbutts Lane Stand is made up of a single tier of blue seating. The letters ROCHDALE are spelt out in white, and additional slivers of red seating are also used to give each letter a 3D effect. The area holding the matchday camera is up at the back of the seating area, though it is slightly off centre.
There are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof above but windshields at either end only protect half of the stand’s seating area.
The Pearl Street Stand is single-tiered and a similar height to the adjacent David Kilpatrick Stand. It has no executive boxes however and as a result the blue seating blocks stretch much further back. The letters RAFC are spelt out using white seating in the centre of the stand.
Supporting pillars are present in the Pearl Street Stand, but like the David Kilpatrick Stand they are well spread out and will not cause too great of a restriction to your view.
There are windshields in place at either end, but they only go half-way down and there is just a wall in place to protect the front row seats.
Away fans are housed on one side of the pitch in the Willbutts Lane Stand.
Depending on the size of the allocation, the blocks over by the northwest corner are used for smaller crowds with stewards in place to segregate these fans from any home supporters that are also present in the Wilbutts Lane Stand. Larger allocations are given more blocks or even the whole stand itself.
The away section actually possesses the best views of any of Spotland Stadium's four sides, with no supporting pillars coming down from the roof above.
Windshields are in place at either end of the Willbutts Lane Stand, but they do not fully protect every row.
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include*:
-The Baum (33-37 Toad Lane, OL12 0NU) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)
-The Cask and Feather (1 Oldham Road, OL16 1UA) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located in more central Rochdale)
-The Cemetery Hotel (470 Bury Road, OL11 5EU) (Home and Away Supporters)
-The Dale Bar (Sandy Lane, OL11 5DR) (Typically Home Supporters Only) (Located inside the Main Stand at Spotland Stadium)
-Ratcliffe Bar and Function Suites (Sandy Lane, OL11 5DR) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located outside the Main Stand at Spotland Stadium)
-The Regal Moon (The Butts Avenue, OL16 1HB) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located in more central Rochdale)
*Pubs within close range of Spotland Stadium itself are limited in the number, and the recommendation could be to find a drink in more central Rochdale before heading to the game.
Spotland is a simple yet effective stadium.
Its exterior has a nice balance and consistency on all four sides, and inside the general view is good despite the presence of pillars in three out of the four stands.
The away stand on the north side of the ground offers the best views of anywhere in the stadium, but Rochdale fans are more than happy to fill the terrace on the west side of the ground every game despite its more restricted views at the back.
Not the biggest in the Greater Manchester area, but certainly worth checking out.
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