JAMES Mason has stepped down from his role as chief executive of Rochdale, though it is not thought a return to City is on the cards.

The announcement came today as part of a statement from Andrew Kilpatrick, who is due to take over as chairman at Spotland from Chris Dunphy at the end of the month.

It read: "Our current chief executive James Mason will step down from his role to focus on his own sports agency business and other opportunities that have been presented to him in recent weeks but the club will continue to use his expertise as an executive consultant going forward.

"We would like to thank James for his professionalism and commitment to the role making a positive impact in a short space of time. He and his family will always be welcome at Rochdale AFC."

The news has fuelled speculation on social media - believed to be wide of the mark - that the former Bantams chief operating officer could return to Valley Parade following news this week that chairman Edin Rahic has left the club.

Mason left in the summer after appearing to be sidelined by Rahic and set up sports agency FIVE NINE before being appointed chief executive in a consultative role in October.

Former joint-owner Julian Rhodes has since returned to Valley Parade and was appointed interim chief executive this week.