Illustrator Annie West has teamed up with Sligo Rovers to create an iconic portrait of generations of supporters of the club.
The image shows countless Bit O’ Red characters that created the spirit of Sligo Rovers and show the support behind the club for the coming months.
Annie West is an award-winning illustrator and cartoonist, her work was recently added to the National Library of Ireland’s permanent Cartoon & Illustration Archive.
The image, created in recent weeks, will be available to purchase for €12 in local retail outlets and also available online, plus postage.
They are available in Barton Smiths, Eason’s, Carraig Donn, The Record Room, Centra Maugheraboy and more to come.
Buy online on srfcdirect.com here
There will also be a signed special limited edition high resolution museum grade print, signed and numbered by Annie West, which will be processed directly via www.anniewest.com.
It was unveiled on social media in recent weeks to widespread praise and huge demand to purchase, and will be a souvenir item for Sligo Rovers fans to treasure for years to come.
Explaining the inspiration behind the project, Annie West said: “I’m not really a football fan, I just got a sense of something bad happening for Sligo Rovers because of Covid-19 and I just thought ‘wouldn’t it be nice to do something’.
“I’ve passed by The Showgrounds after a game and I’ve always been struck by the colour and the energy. And the banners. Lots to work with.
“I didn’t have a lot of time but with lockdown it was that bit easier to find it. I spoke to Tommy Higgins and he was very positive about it.
“I spoke to some well-known veteran Rovers supporters, discovered more and more about these mad characters, stories I didn’t know. These people were just so committed to Sligo Rovers. I saw all the banners, the flags. It quickly all added up.”
Annie, who has donated the picture to Sligo Rovers as a fundraiser, was taken aback by the response.
“Well what I discovered what was there are Sligo Rovers fans everywhere firstly because I was getting messages from all over the world.
“And then I just wanted to look more and more into the people who have followed the club and just what an impact it makes. I saw that mural of Nancy Callaghan, but I never really knew the story.
“The more I read, I discovered what an amazing woman she was, with her chair. Johnny Chadda. All the people who dedicated all their time to keeping Sligo Rovers going. At first I thought we could do this and just post it online for a bit of a lift for people.
“But with the situation of no crowds being allowed to attend games, I thought let’s do it as a fundraiser for the club. I hope everyone enjoys it.”
Sligo Rovers chairman Tommy Higgins said: “I’d like to thank Annie showcasing Sligo Rovers with her incredible talent
“This wonderful piece captures so much of our people and our club in a way that only Annie can do.
“We are simply thrilled to have it available to us and for our supporters to cherish.”