Interesting things to know about the borough of Rochdale

Proud sporting achievements: facts and famous sports personalities

  • 2011 World Series of Poker winner Jake Cody is from Rochdale.
  • 2012 Olympic sailing silver medallist Stuart Bithell was born in Rochdale and learned to sail on Hollingworth Lake.
  • A now defunct speedway team, Rochdale Hornets, was home to racers such as Peter Collins MBE who won 10 world championships.
  • Cyclist and double Olympic gold medalist Joanna Rowsell-Shand MBE moved to Middleton after leaving school so that she could be closer to British Cycling’s headquarters in Manchester.
  • Double Olympic Gold medallist boxer Nicola Adams studied and trained at Hopwood Hall College Middleton campus.
  • Great Britain Olympic silver medallist swimmer Keri-Anne Payne attended Cardinal Langley RC High School, Middleton.
  • In 1860 Rochdale’s Hamlet Nicholson presented the world with the first compound cricket ball.
  • In 2014 the Tour De France professional cycling race, one of the world’s biggest and most-watched sporting events, passed through Littleborough.
  • Manchester United and England footballer Paul Scholes attended Cardinal Langley RC High School, Middleton.
  • Manchester United and England footballer Sir Bobby Charlton married his wife, Norma Ball, at St Gabriel’s Church in Middleton in 1961.
  • New Zealand rugby team ‘All Blacks’ once played against Rochdale Hornets, the game played in Rochdale, on the 17 December 1907 resulted in the All Blacks winning 19-0.
  • Rochdale AFC played 36 consecutive seasons in the football leagues bottom division from 1974 to 2010. This is the longest any team has been in the bottom division.
  • Rochdale AFC’s badge has the old coat of arms on it. A new coat of arms was made when Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council was formed in 1974.
  • Rochdale AFC’s record win was a home fixture against Chesterfield which they won 8-1 (18 December 1926). Their record home attendance is 24,231 vs Notts county in 1949-1950.
  • Rochdale Hornets was one of the original 22 clubs that formed the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895, making them one of the world's first rugby league clubs.
  • The bowling green at Queen's Park in Heywood is the 2nd largest in Great Britain.
  • Tony Collins (Anthony Norman Collins, 19 March 1926–8 February 2021). An English football player, manager and scout. He managed Rochdale between 1960 and 1967, becoming the first black manager in the Football League. He took Rochdale to the 1962 Football League Cup Final. Rochdale's only major final appearance. Tony went on to become a football scout and it is said that the town of Rochdale was in his heart and there was no moving him from his house on Edenfield Road. Where he lived with his wife Edith and 3 children.