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The Return Of The King
Tuesday, 12th Jul 2022 10:44 by Chaff

When Ian Henderson was released by Salford, there won’t have been many, if any, Dale fans who didn’t at least have a moment’s thought about him coming back to Dale. But he's back!

Rumours had been gathering pace about a sensational return to Rochdale for Ian Henderson this week and now it's happened.

It isn't a universal welcome I don’t think if Hendo given the way he left the club under a cloud in the summer of 2020. All sorts of rumours, statements and fall out came from that. Hendo blamed the club, the club blamed Hendo and I suspect the truth may lie somewhere in between. It’s worth noting perhaps that the people making statements from the club, are now no longer with us having left under an even bigger black cloud than Hendo!

There is also the fact that Hendo is now 37 years old and had an injury hit season last term with Salford City, leading to his release. Is he still up to it? Is it a backwards step born out of a romantic nostalgia from Rochdale fans? Hendo does, after all, remain just three goals short of being the club’s record goalscorer.

Last season saw Hendo play 17 times in all competitions, scoring 3 goals. The season before he bagged 18 goals in 49 games or the Ammies. In his final season with us, he scored 16 goals in 39 games before the season came to a halt. He scored two in his last match for Rochdale, that impressive win over Rotherham in March 2020.

Since joining Rochdale in 2013 his goalscoring stats in all competitions look like this:

2012/13 (joined in March 13) – 3 goals in 12 games
2013/14 – 12 goals in 52 games
2014/15 – 22 goals in 50 games
2015/16 – 13 goals in 42 games
2016/17 – 19 goals in 49 games
2017/18 – 20 goals in 50 games
2018/19 – 21 goals in 49 games
2019/20 (cut short by covid) – 16 goals in 39 games
2020/21 (Salford City) – 18 goals in 49 games
2021/22 (Salford City) – 3 goals in 17 games

That to me suggests two main things, one is that he’s as prolific a goalscorer as you could hope for and two, he very rarely misses games through injury. The games he missed with us were more through suspension than injury as he went through a two-year spell where he collected four red cards! His first real injury hit season came last season with Salford and because of his age, people saw that as the beginning of the end for Hendo.

It would be naïve to think we would get the Ian Henderson of previous, I get that, but in a squad now that boasts vast experience in goal (O’Donnell), in defence (McNulty and Ebanks-Landell), in midfield (Diagouraga), would an experienced striker not be an invaluable aid to the likes of Luke Charman, Devante Rodney and Tahvon Campbell? Maybe add Abraham Odoh to that.

His Instagram tells us he’s been hammering the treadmill in a bid to get fit, even doing it with ex Daley Matty Done as well.

Manchester United signed back Cristiano Ronaldo, one of their greatest ever goalscorers at a similar age and while he scored goals, it could be argued it disrupted the harmony at the club and he became the centre of attention and now he wants to leave again. Many argue he was brought in to sell shirts more than he was to contribute on the pitch? Could this be our version of that? I suspect it would spark at least some people to go and get a season ticket or a shirt.

I for one am delighted, I think the majority probably are but lets see what Hendo can offer now.

Will Rochdale fans still love him more than he will know?

Photo: Action Images

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14bowlers added 12:37 - Jul 12
Great post. I am in !!

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