Brookes writes open letter to Bit o' Red

Former Sligo Rovers striker Johnny Brookes was special guest of the club at last Saturday night's match with Shamrock Rovers. 
Johnny holds the distinction of being the only Rovers player to finish a season as the league’s top scorer. He is held in high regard by generations of Rovers fans and it was a privilege to welcome him to The Showgrounds last Saturday with his wife Cathy. 
Johnny wrote a letter to the club on Monday - it's a wonderful summation of his trip and joins in the club's current message of Rally Around Rovers
Thank you Johnny - it was a special night for us too to have you back home. 
To:  Sligo Rovers management, supporters and people of Sligo.
My wife Cathy and I would like to thank Sligo Rovers FC supporters and community for the most memorable four days we have just spent in Sligo.
I got in touch with my old friend Paddy Gilmartin to tell him we were thinking of visiting Sligo. He said that everyone would all like to see you.
Thank goodness we decided to do just that. As we entered Sligo town last Thursday with Paddy and his daughter I knew it was a good one. The sun came out and the weather was fine.
Thanks to the club, we stayed at the GlassHouse Hotel, which was fantastic.
After a walk around town, taking in the beautiful sights of Sligo, we attended a Jazz experience at the hotel - "The Jazz Lads" - they were incredible.
Then came the ultimate joy on Saturday, The Showgrounds, the memories came flooding back. I was back to the place and the people who revived my career, thanks to Paddy Gilmartin who called me on behalf of Sligo Rovers to join the club all those years ago, the rest is history.
As David Pugh, Cathy and myself entered the gates I knew I was where I should be.  Back to thank this wonderful club, supporters and people who have always believed in my ability and gave me the confidence to play the game I so passionately love.
The emotion I felt when I walked onto the pitch brought me to tears. I felt very humble to be treated in this way and be in the company of two of Sligo's own, David Pugh and Tony Fagan, Legends in their own right.
After the match, we had a fantastic evening in the pub (Mooney's Bar) over the road surrounded by friends, fans and well wishers. A night I will never forget.
These past five years have been a big struggle for me health wise. I did intend to visit Sligo last year but unfortunately fell ill the night before I intended to leave, so my trip was put on hold. When I got back to South Africa I set my sights on getting fit, eating well and getting plenty of rest. My goal was to get better and make the trip back to Sligo.
The second best decision I have ever made in football.
Sligo Rovers FC, management, supporters, people and the Grace of God have done more for me than the doctors and medication. God Bless Sligo Rovers and all the people.
The Bit o' Red with the heart of Gold!
THANK YOU with all my heart. God bless Sligo Rovers.
I will be back God willing.
Best wishes,
John Brookes.

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