Shaymen become out-of-towners

FC Halifax Town fans will converge on Rochdale on Saturday.
FC Halifax Town fans will converge on Rochdale on Saturday.

Think Rochdale, and you probably think of Gracie Fields or Lisa Stansfield.

But tomorrow, the 23 miles separating Spotland and The Shay will act as a conveyor belt to a marauding mass of FC Halifax Town fans as they prepare to watch their team at a home from home.

It’ll no doubt be a strange experience for players and supporters, undertaking their usual Saturday rituals in such unfamiliar circumstances.

Of course, the as yet one-off scenario may remain a unique occurrence, rendering it one of those ‘were you there?’ occasions that those who will be can wear as a badge of honour for years to come, pinned alongside ‘that’ comeback at Graforth or the promotion celebrations at Retford.

But it’s also possible there’ll be a next time too.

Town have ten games left to play at home this season, and you can’t help wonder how many of them will be staged in HX1.

Of the myriad questions this situation throws up, one of them is whether home advantage really matters.

On the face of it, Town would appear to be increasingly unlucky the more games they are forced to find an alternative venue for.

However, they have only lost six times so far this season, with three defeats coming at home and three coming away. So, no conclusions there.

Nor are there in the fact that Town have won eleven games at home this season but ten on their travels, which suggests where Neil Aspin’s men are playing is of little significance to the outcome of the match.

Of course, there’ll really be two away teams on Saturday, with Stalybridge pretty much in the same boat as The Shaymen, the only difference being that Town will get the home dressing room.

But, given Town’s near-symmetrical home and away form this season, the Shay faithful could well be given a third reason to like Rochdale. Or a first, depending on your iTunes library.