Sligo Rovers defender Kyle Callan-McFadden is departing the club today as he is relocating to England for family reasons.
After four seasons with the Bit O’ Red, including becoming captain at the age of 22 in 2018, Kyle moves on with great wishes from everyone at the football club.
He will join King’s Lynn in England, a club located in Norfolk where his wife’s family are based and has secured employment.
Callan-McFadden explains: “During the first lockdown I got the phone call. I know the manager as he was part of the first-team coaching staff at Norwich when I was there. We spoke about it as a family and we thought it was right to move back to England. It has been six years since Ella has been living near her family and friends. We had a great life in Ireland but Ella has a job secured in the NHS. It came fast but it’s the right time to move on. It’s a wee change for me after four years here. It’s more a family decision than football but it’s a change for us all. We’re looking forward to it now.”
King’s Lynn play in the National League in England and earned an upset victory in the FA Cup over Port Vale last week. They have been rising through the leagues in England and are just one tier away from League 2.
“When a club shows ambition to get up the ladder in England, it’s good of course. I spoke to some players I know over there from my time at Norwich and they all said positive things. They have an aim in place for two to three years and that’s something I want to be part. I’m looking forward to it. Sadly my time at Sligo had to come to an end.”
Callan-McFadden leaves after his best season for the club after finishing fourth in the table.
“There is a bit of mixed emotions. It couldn’t happen to a better bunch of lads to finish fourth this season. They are a great group with no bad eggs. They deserve every success and the coaching staff as well. They have worked tirelessly with us, even through the lockdown, sending us programs and keeping us fit. It obviously worked because we hit the ground running and we haven’t really stopped. Hopefully they can go on to win the FAI Cup.”
After his first season under the manager Dave Robertson, Gerard Lyttle was then appointed and made Callan-McFadden captain alongside John Russell, sharing it over the season. He won Player of the Year in 2017.
He reflects warmly on the managers that have shown a great deal of trust in him at The Showgrounds
“I think I’ve developed loads over the four seasons. I was almost chucked in at the deep end at 22 being captain. I probably felt the pressure a bit more being captain by myself in the second year. It was probably one of my worst years playing for the club, I dipped in form massively. It was not nice to see Ger move on as he showed great faith in me.
“Liam Buckley has come in and it has been a breath of fresh air for everyone. I started to find my feet again. I did a bit of a stint in midfield in the first season. I’ve definitely developed and especially playing different positions. To be captain of a senior club rather than a youth team and leading the team to a FAI Cup semi-final last year was brilliant. This year has been a strange year but a brilliant one for us on the pitch. Sligo definitely helped me develop into the player and person I am today.”
Buckley has brought in more experienced players to the group, something which Callan-McFadden feel has helped, along with the array of young talent in the group.
“It’s definitely made a difference to me and the squad. Johnny Dunleavy, David Cawley, Ronan Murray and Garry Buckley, all of them boys and more. That definitely helped me and even now the young boys now buy into leadership more like Niall Morahan. He has been fantastic and our player of the year in my view. Everyone has pulled in the one direction this year. If you have a bad game, there is always a player to rely on to pick you up and help you go again. That has been proven this season.”
The 25-year-old has also paid tribute to Liam Buckley and the management committee for facilitating the move.
“I spoke to the manager after lockdown, he was brilliant. I told him King’s Lynn had contacted me and I told him what was being offered and how it would suit our family, and he stood by me with it. He told me it was a big opportunity to go over and make a name in England again. He said if you keep playing as you are, then it won’t be a problem. The board have been understanding as well. I can’t say a bad word about the club on how they’ve dealt with me on this or over these last four years. They’ve looked after me brilliantly.
“The supporters and the people in Sligo have been great too so they have. We’re very grateful for the life we had here in the last four years and especially for our family.”
Callan-McFadden will be able to play for King’s Lynn immediately once international clearance comes through, but will not have a game on 20 November and he will watch his former team-mates in FAI Cup action against Derry City on WATCHLOI.
“I’ll 100% be watching. I texted all the boys to let them know I’ll be looking out for them and rooting for them, I really genuinely do hope they go on and lift that Cup now.”
The club would like to thank Kyle for his tremendous service, professionalism and representing Sligo Rovers in such a dedicated way over these four seasons.
We wish Kyle and his family great times ahead and look forward to welcoming them back for visits to The Showgrounds in the future.