7 June ~ Deep down, most Rochdale fans expected the managerial team of Keith Hill and Dave Flitcroft to depart this summer. After four years of unprecedented success, the rumours started every time a vacancy arose at a Championship club – roughly once a week since Christmas. If there is any surprise it is the fact that "Hillcroft" are heading across the Pennines to Barnsley.
Just a week earlier Hill had announced that he was no longer interested in the job, deciding that "on this occasion it just wasn't right for me". The change of heart may indicate that he'll be allowed to bring in his full backroom team – it certainly won't be related to the budget constraints that led to the departure of Mark Robins, as Hill is used to a financial challenge. His former chairman recently announced a small increase in the wages budget for next season because "the four teams relegated from League One were all overnight stops, which cost the club a lot of money".
This isn't the first time a successful Rochdale manager has been tempted to Oakwell, but Hill will be hoping for more success than his predecessor. Steve Parkin left a club on the way to the old Third Division play-offs in November 2001, but managed to cram both relegation and administration into his 12-month spell in charge at Barnsley.
If Dale wish to continue with the apparently successful policy of appointing popular ex-players then the new manager will be Dave Bayliss – a former team-mate of Hill and Flitcroft, he has enjoyed a pretty successful few years as joint-manager of Blue Square Premier side Barrow. Then again, it surely cannot be coincidence that Mark Hughes chose to leave Fulham the day after the job at Spotland became vacant. David Emanuel