independent

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Ambitious Rovers target more glory

Financial security the key to future says club Chairman

LEO GRAY Sports Editor

Published 06/11/2012|17:57

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SLIGO ROVERS Chairman, Dr. Dermot Kelly, has pledged to keep the club's extraordinary run of success going.

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But he said it could only be done within a prudent financial model which would not jeopardise the future of the club.

And he stressed that the success of the club going forward would require the ongoing support of Rovers' fan base and the wider community.

From a situation where they were on the brink of going out of business less than five years ago, Rovers have undergone a dramatic transformation, establishing themselves as one of the top clubs in the country.

They've won the FAI Cup twice, the League Cup and the Airtricity League Championship in an unprecedented glory run in the last three seasons. And they've also sampled European football in three of the last four years.

Now the challenge is to maintain that spectacular momentum over the coming years. "We're definitely up for the challenge", insisted Dr. Kelly.

In an interview with The Sligo Champion, the Chairman said he was hopeful most of the players from the League winning squad would be with the club next season. He stressed that the sense of ambition which bought the club to such outstanding success in the last three seasons was as strong as ever.

But he cautioned that the club would have to proceed with prudence, sticking to their principles and running their affairs within a carefully planned financial budget.

"We remain as ambitious as ever - when the silverware is being handed out at the end of 2013, we want to be there at the top table", he emphasised.

"Success brings its own challenges and we're ready for that. But we have to go forward conscious of the fact that we've got to be smart about the way we do our business. We can't over extend ourselves. I think everybody realises that, including the players, so I don't anticipate any major issues in planning for next season'

The Chairman revealed that offers had been made to players from the 2012 squad and the hope was that they would have a very definite picture of who was staying and who was going within the next two weeks.

"We haven't set deadlines but I think there is an understanding on both sides that we want to get things sorted out as quickly as possible.

"We've put offers on the table and we'll take it from there. Playing for Sligo Rovers is not all about money. The players are very well looked after here and the connection between the fans, the community and the playing staff is unique in Sligo. The players came to realise that during their time with us.

Some of them were actually quite moved by the reaction of the community to our League success. It really meant a lot to them and, who knows, that could be the difference for some of them when it comes to making a decision on whether to continue their careers here"

He said Rovers' record of providing players with the potential to move on to professional football at a higher level was another plus factor for the club.

"Seamus Coleman, Richie Ryan, Padraig Amond and Eoin Doyle have all furthered their careers in cross-channel football, so this is a great club for promising young players. Young lads who come here know they will be well looked after and that their game will improve. We're proud of our record in that regard", he said.

Dr. Kelly stressed that there was no danger of the club becoming complacent on the back of all the success they've enjoyed in the last few years.

'"Far from it", he declared. "If anything, the success of the last few years has heightened our ambition.

"We've established ourselves as one of the top clubs in the country and we want to stay there.

"Next season offers massive incentives for us - trying to win more silverware domestically and doing well in the Champions' League, maybe progressing through a few rounds and getting to the Europa League play-off groups. These are all targets which we believe are realistic"

Pointing out that Rovers had worked hard to extend their fan base throughout the West and North West in recent years, the Chairman said the club would continue to strengthen their links with these communities and would also further develop their relationships with youth and junior soccer associations in the region.

"We're determined to reinforce our community ethos - that is very important to us", he explained.

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