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Tue June 25th 2024 

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Mark Hodkinson - The Overcoat Men

The Overcoat Men

Mark Hodkinson

Published by Pitch: August 2019
ISBN 978-1785315251

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The story of two men who saved their football club from extinction. Secret plans to turn Spotland, the home of Rochdale AFC, into a housing estate are spied. David Kilpatrick and Graham Morris set upon a desperate mission to save their beloved, beleaguered football club. But first they have to take on what many fans consider to be the ‘enemy within’ and also topple the local Spring King and his dogged boardroom acolytes - a 'mobile drinks party'.

They work tirelessly, persuading companies to write off debts so they can buy back the land on which the club stands, a tricky proposition when you are skint and bottom of the Football League. Meanwhile, it's the early 1980s and the town of Rochdale is deep in recession, the last of the cotton mills closing down. The limit of most fans' investment in their club is routinely the price of a season ticket.

Directors risk their houses and businesses, sometimes forfeiting marriages, families and health in the name of their club. Even in the corporate age, these Overcoat Men - self-made local businessmen serving on club boards - are often the unseen, unsung heroes of football.

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