Wednesday 19 June 2019

New era for Sligo Rovers as Liam Buckley takes the reins

Jessica Farry

New Sligo Rovers manager Liam Buckley says he wants to bring success back to the club after his appointment last Friday.

The former St Patrick's Athletic boss will join the Bit O' Red on a one-year contract having won two Premier Divisions, two FAI Cups and two League Cups in his management career so far.

It's understood that there is an option for a second year in his contract.

Buckley explained how the move came about: "I got a phone call last week from one of the lads, and we took it on from there, I came to the Dundalk game, the Bohs game last Monday and made my mind up in the last day or two. I'm looking forward to it, it's another challenge. They did really well this evening."

He was unveiled to fans at half-time during Sligo Rovers versus Shamrock Rovers on Friday night. This is a very different challenge for Buckley, but it is one he is looking forward to.

"I had to start somewhere with Pats as well. We didn't do too badly, especially in the first few years. It's a very important off-season in relation to players signing, re-signing and players coming in. They're well equipped up here. Hopefully next season we can push."

Buckley left St. Patrick's Athletic in September after six years at the helm of the Saints. It was time, he felt, to move on.

"We won a few bits and pieces in the first few years, the last few years were more difficult for a few reasons. It is what it is. We had a bit of success there so hopefully if we can get any of that here."

He is not daunted by Sligo Rovers' recent managerial history, becoming the 7th man at the helm of the club since 2014, and that's not including interim managers Gavin Dykes, Joseph Ndo and Brian Dorrian.

It's the nature of the business. It's a results driven business. If you're doing well in a job it's ok, if you're not doing well I think we all know as managers (what happens). It's up to me as manager to make sure that next season we land running, we need to get a nice strong group."

The work will begin immediately for Buckley, as it is vital that players learn whether or not the club wants to keep them, or whether they need to go searching for employment elsewhere.

"There's a load of planning that goes on for managers in terms of off-season programmes, pre-season programmes, and trying to sign players, re-sign players, it's a very busy time, we will be sorted in the next few weeks.

"That will start from tomorrow (Saturday). I'll introduce myself to the lads, some will know me personally and move off from there. The performance tonight was great. To beat Shamrock Rovers, bearing in mind they've qualified for Europe and there's a benchmark there. I was delighted tonight. We will push on.

"I've a couple of bits and pieces in mind. Everyone is chasing all the players, trying to strengthen squads. That will be one of our targets and ambitions over the next few years."

And Buckley is hoping he can bring the glory days back to The Showgrounds.

"I'd like to be successful here. The last few jobs I've had I've really enjoyed. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with St. Pats, winning the cup for the first time in 50 odd years. Sporting Fingal, we won the cup as well. And I loved my time at Shamrock Rovers and Athlone too.I'd love to enjoy this as much. I'm looking forward to it."

Sligo Champion