All change at the top for Rovers
LEO GRAY talks to Sligo Rovers new Chairman, Dr. Dermot Kelly
THE LEVEL of support from the club's fan base, the business sector and the wider community would determine the future development of Sligo Rovers, according to new Chairman, Dermot Kelly.
In an interview with The sligo champion, Dr Kelly said the newly elected Management Committee would work tirelessly to build on the solid foundations already in place at the club but said that ultimately the success of their efforts would depend on the level of support they received.
Dr. Kelly, a consultant anaesthetist at St. Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, previously served as Chairman in 2009 and 2010, and said he was motivated to return to the role because he didn't want to see all the 'goodwill, success and joy' of the last few years falling away.
The success of Rovers had lifted the whole town and county in difficult times and had a positive impact on the business and general community life in the region.
He said the last few months had been very difficult for the club and there were enormous problems going forward but he genuinely believed that the club could continue to progress if the necessary level of support was forthcoming.
'Pessimists rarely win anything so we've got to be positive and optimistic as we prepare to meet the difficult challenges which lie ahead', he stressed.
He said the club had made massive strides on and off the pitch in the last few years and had built up valuable links with the local community and business sector.
They had developed important infrastructure at the Showgrounds, making a visit to the venue a very family-friendly experience, while the team had won widespread acclaim for the quality of their football.
'The club has so much to be proud of. We've developed the Showgrounds to one of the best soccer venues in the country, we've won widespread acclaim for the quality of the team's football and we have a magnificent fan base, with a vast amount of goodwill towards from the local community.
'These are our resources and we must explore how best we can untilise them. Essentially, we need more people coming to our games and a greater level of support for our various fund raising ventures.', he added.
He said that while the club was in a sound financial position, there would be cash flow challenges to be met, particularly in the first half of the season before gate receipts and outstanding prize money from last season kicked in.
For that reason, it was crucial that attendances at home games and support of fund raising events remained high.
'Over the last few years, we've built a sound financial model but there are historic debts that have to be dealt with. These are becoming less and less as the years go on but there are still challenges financially and we have to continually address these', Dr. Kelly pointed out.
The new Chairman said he believed Rovers had recruited an excellent young manager in Ian Baraclough and he looked forward to working with him. He accepted that the squad was short in numbers but said there was still genuine quality within the panel.
'We have a bright, ambitious young manager and a squad of excellent players. Paul Cook brought tremendous success to the club in the last few years and the challenge now is to try to match that and build on it. I know that Ian is up for that task and the Management Committee will do our very best to provide him with the resources to bring further success to the club'. Already, it's clear that the priority will be to continue to play entertaining football. Ian will obviously stamp his own individual personality on the team and I think we can look forward to many more exciting times at the Showgrounds' said Dr. Kelly.
He recalled that the club put a five year project in place in 2009. They were three years into that programme and a lot of progress had been made.
'Now we're entering a crucial phase of our development ', he said. 'It's a challenging time but I'm confident that with the wholehearted support of all concerned we can continue to make progress and become one of the top clubs in the country'