Lionhearted Chris Rutherford will feature on Bit O’ Red Wall

Chris Rutherford, one of the most respected ever Sligo Rovers defenders, is to feature on the Bit O’ Red Wall in the Showgrounds.

His daughter, Gemma, has ordered a tile that will feature on phase two of the wall.

Already 160 tiles have been booked for new section that will be erected by Feelystone at The Showgrounds. Click here to buy a tile on the Bit O’ Red Wall.

Chris was 20 when he and Graham Fox came as former Cardiff City players to have a look at The Showgrounds in 1975.

He made Sligo his home, later marrying Bernadette Verdon from Knappagh Road and rearing their three children, Nina, Gemma and Stuart. Forty six year later, Chris is still here.

Under manager Billy Sinclair a young Chris Rutherford quickly became part of what developed into one the finest defensive units in the League of Ireland.

He formed a partnership with Tony Stenson and once more the centre of the Rovers defence became as reliable as during the golden years of David Pugh.

Alan Paterson, later Declan Mc Intyre and Colin Oakley were reliable goalkeepers; the full-backs included Paul Fielding, (Sinclair as player manager for a time), Padraig Mc Manus, Mick Ferry, Graham Fox, Charlie Mc Geever, Enda Scanlon, Padraig Mc Manus and Mick Ferry.

But Chris Rutherford and Tony Stensons were the rock solid heart of the defence.

Chris was delighted to be part of Sinclair’s title-winning side in 1977, two years into his Showgrounds career.

He played at the famous Red Star Belgrade stadium behind the Iron Curtain when Rovers travelled behind the Iron Curtain to what was then Yugoslavia for the first leg of their European Cup clash.

He battled through a serious knee injury and added to his legendary status in 1983 when his two second-half goals at a packed Showgrounds finally eliminated Cobh Ramblers after one of the most famous series of semi-final draws in FÁI Cup history.

Weeks later goals by Tony Stenson and Harry Mc Laughlin in the mud at Dalymount Park brought Rovers a 2-1 victory over Bohemians. The side managed by Rutherford’s pal, Paul Fielding, brought the trophy over the Shannon and thousands filled Sligo’s streets to greet them.

Injury forced Chris to retire far too early at the age of 28. But by that stage he was already a trusted member of the Sligo Glass company, run by the Carty family, who are passionate Sligo Rovers supporters.

Rather than spend Monday, a day off after each Sunday game, in a pool hall or elsewhere, Chris went searching for a part-time job. Frankie Carty gave him a start and they became lifelong friends as well as fellow workers. Three years ago Chris retired from the firm.

A tile, celebrating the towering centre half who made Sligo his home, will now be part of the Showgrounds landscape.

Father and son, Noel and Gary Cawley, will also share their love of the Rovers on the wall. From a well-known Sligo family, the Cawleys have been loyal supporters of the club for decades. Noel, who lives at Breeogue, in a Gold Season Ticket member.

The Hargadons are another family who will have a place in the new phase. Eamon (Boo) was a handy player in his day. Their tile with read

Up The Bit O Red


Eamon(Boo) Hargadon

Martin Bracken was reared in Cornageeha in one of the line of semi-detached houses on the Dublin Road, beyond Markievicz Park. After leaving Summerhill College, he joined the bank and a career that brought him on to several regional addresses.

He is one of the group of Sligo exiles who formed their own Rovers supporters club, ‘The Red Necks’, using O’Briens pub at Sussex Street as their Dublin meeting place. Throughout their working lives and now in retirement the group has consistently backed the different fund-raising schemes that keep the club afloat.

Colin became a prominent member of the Dublin Supporters Club in the 2000s before moving to Donegal.

The Bracken tile will state

Jack Bracken

Colin Bracken

Martin Bracken

Jamie Lacken turned 20 on Christmas Eve. His very special birthday present from his auntie Lorraine is a tile on the Showgrounds wall. Jamie has three brothers, Cian, Ryan and Dylan.

Provided they are not committed to activities with their local GAA club, Saint Pats, Dromard, some if not all of the four Showgrounds on match nights throughout the season.

Their father, Brendan, is one of Sligo Rovers’ “essential workers”.

Click here to purchase a tile

He is secretary of the Sligo Rovers management committee which continues to mind and develop the club during challenging times.

If you wish to reserve a tile in phase of the The Showgrounds wall, you can click here.

You can also download the Bit O’ Red Wall tile form and post it to The Showgrounds. Leave a phone number and we will contact you.