Stories from the Wall: Vintage Reds

A group of Sligo Rovers fans, many of whom have been friends since the 1950’s and 1960’s plan to remember two of their deceased pals on The Bit O’ Red Wall.

It is one of the many wonderful gestures and memories we are seeing being recounted through the wall, with 165 tiles sold so far.

Buy your tile here

Vintage Reds (aka The Rednecks) have maintained friendships that sometimes began in national or secondary school, continued through their working lives and invariably involved a shared affection for Sligo Rovers.

The two friends they want to commemorate in the first set of tiles on the The Showgrounds Wall are the late Michael J Leyden and Michael Mc Nulty.

According to Barney Bree: “ Both Michaels were passionate Rovers supporters. Michael “Mick” McNulty, like many of our group, was based in Dublin for years and we had great times, travelling to grounds around the country.

“He and his family eventually came back to settle in Kevinsfort. He was always very generous to the Rovers with his accountancy and auditing skills.”

“Michael J Leydon was originally from Market Street and he later moved to Ard na Veigh. He was a very popular teacher at Sligo Grammar School and after his retirement, he continued his interest in walking, reading and theatre. It was a huge shock when he passed away while walking the Camino in Northern Spain last November, a year after Michael Mc Nulty’s death.”

The Vintage Reds have been generous backers of Rovers fund-raising campaigns in recent years, including the ‘Rally Around the Rovers’ and ‘Up the Bit O’ Red’ campaigns.  They sponsor a home game each season and plan to do so again this year.

According to Barney: “The two guys loved the Rovers. We will have our annual gathering when we sponsor a game during the season. We look forward to seeing the Wall and the permanent place Michael Mc Nulty and Michael J Leyden will have in The Showgrounds.”

Further Stories from The Wall will feature on the Sligo Rovers website in the coming weeks.

A tile featurs three line of text with 16 characters per line including spaces.

The deadline for having a tile in the first section of the wall to coincide with the new season is January 31st.

The first section of the wall holds just over 190 tiles so we advise to buy as soon as possible.

https://srfcdirect.com/fundraising/bit-ored-wall/

The Bit O’ Red Wall

Rovers draw with Galway

Sligo Rovers drew 3-3 with Galway United in our first opening pre-season friendly of the season at Solar 21 Park in Castlebar.

Garry Buckley, Ronan Coughlan and a trialist were on target for Rovers.

Stephen Christopher set up Maurice Nugent to open the scoring for Galway after a slow start by the Bit O’ Red.

Danny Kane was forced off injured, with Regan Donelon coming on and also having to come off with a knock.

Buckley leveled early in the second period but from the kick-off Timo Parthoens scored for Galway.

Ronan Coughlan crossed for a trialist to make it 2-2.

Rovers got in front from Coughlan from the penalty spot, but Timmy Molloy converted from to leave the game level.

Sligo Rovers: McGinty, Dunleavy, Callan-McFadden, Kane, Penninkangas, Morahan, Seymore, Cawley, Noone, Buckley, Coughlan

Subs used: Mahon, Trialist, Lynch, Donelon, McGrath, Byrne, McNicholas

John Russell contract extended

Sligo Rovers can confirm that John Russell has signed a new contract with the club for 2020, continuing in his role as player-assistant manager.

The 34-year-old joined the club for his third spell last year, this time joining the management staff as assistant to Liam Buckley.

He made 10 appearances throughout the year.

It means both Buckley and Russell are contracted until the end of 2020.

Liam Buckley said: “John has been veru influential in the last 12 months and is a vital part of the staff.

“He is hugely respected at the club and rightly so because of what he has achieved as a player, and now what he is bringing as an assistant manager on a daily basis.

“He understands the football club and challenges the players to become better every single day. He is a great sounding board to me, his knowledge and wealth of talent is invaluable so I’m delighted with this news.

“We also retain him as a player. At 34 I still think he has a lot to offer and we saw him step in last year and do well.

“If you could see him in pre-season now, he is as fit as you will get. It’s a no-brainer again to have him available to play.”  

‘People and community’ – the lifeblood of The Rovers

As we draw closer to the new 2020 SSE Airtricity League, a new video about Sligo Rovers showcases the absolute sense of pride and ownership that the people and supporters have in their club’s past, present and future.

Made by StoryLab, the video captures the excitement, atmosphere and drama of match day at The Showgrounds.

It features cameos by fans of all ages as well as former boss Chris Rutherford, former Tánaiste and finance minister Ray MacSharry and a voiceover by club historian Aidan Mannion.

What is it about a local football club that stirs the soul? Why do communities continue to treasure hometown teams like Sligo Rovers?

It’s been an extremely turbulent period for the reputation and organisation of Irish soccer with controversy over the FAI’s finances but support for local football clubs across Ireland remains as vibrant as ever.

Sligo Rovers fans fundraise €450,000 each season for the club each season, excluding gate receipts and sponsorship, while season tickets sales are approaching the highest level since 2013.

Over 700 have been sold so far. Last season’s attendances averaged at 2,000 per game.

Sligo Rovers CEO Colin Feehily said: “This touching video shows how important Sligo Rovers is to people in our town and in the surrounding areas. 

“The passion in Aidan’s voice can be heard from start to finish and the images captured showcase the great colour and atmosphere of The Showgrounds on match night.

“We are very proud of our football club and very proud of everyone we have involved with us. From young to old, we have supporters of all ages, male and female, a real strong variety which the club means something to each of them. Every Irish club needs it’s supporters and volunteers, and they need the club. We all love The Rovers.”

Ciaran Byrne of StoryLab said: “It’s been a difficult period for Irish football but at what remains at the heart of all clubs like Sligo Rovers, are people. It’s people who keep the flame alive and give clubs like Rovers such a unique and special character. People make this club. They make the Rovers.”

The video will be showcased on all our social media channels

View more on from Storylab on Storylab.ie

Pre-season friendlies update

Sligo Rovers can confirm matches with Athlone Town and Ballinamallard away as part of our pre-season friendly schedule.

Our match with Drogheda United behind closed doors will also be rescheduled.

Pre-season friendly fixtures:

This Saturday, kick-off 1pm: Galway United – Solar 21 Park, Castlebar

Date to be confirmed: Drogheda United – Abbotstown, Dublin

Tuesday 28th January, kick-off TBC : Ballinamallard – Ferney Park

Saturday 1st February 2pm: Athlone Town – Athlone Town Stadium

Fit Food Meals join the Sligo Rovers team

Sligo Rovers are delighted to announce a partnership with Fit Food Meals, who will supply The Bit O’ Red first-team squad with healthy daily meals to help with their busy training schedule.

Each player will receive a five-day meal plan, with three meals per day provided.

Pre and post exercise nutrition is vitally important in a professional footballer’s lifestyle and Fit Food Meals will help get them the best foods to help them perform.

Manager Liam Buckley expressed his delight at the partnership:

“I am delighted this has come about. Radek and Matt have been a great help to us so far and I have no doubt will really benefit the lads this year.

“We’re trying to make this whole thing better both on and off the pitch and this will only help us add to that.

“The lads will be provided with good food every week, and it’s important to us to get the right nutrients and the right food into the lads to help them be best prepared for training and matches.”

Visit fifoodmeals.ie

The company are based in Galway and prepare meals from scratch by experienced, qualified chefs with fresh ingredients which include your daily consumption of all nutrients.

Radek Lewandowski from Fit Food Meals explains why they chose to work with Sligo Rovers:

We are happy to be involved with Rovers this season. Our meals will give them the right nutrients each day and help them perform better overall. We are a growing business and are excited about this partnership. We look forward to watching the lads play in the coming months.”

If supporters wish to enquire about using the services of Fit Food Meals, check their details below:

Web: fitfoodmeals.ie

Instagram: @fitfoodmeals_ireland

Facebook: @fitfoodmealsireland

Everyone at Sligo Rovers wish to thank the lads at Fit Food Meals for their support of the club in 2020.

Finnish defender Penninkangas signs

Sligo Rovers are thrilled to confirm the signing of Finnish defender Teemu Penninkangas for the 2020 season.

The 27-year-old joins the Bit O’ Red after spending all his career in his native Finland where he won several trophies including the league title and both domestic Cups.

He moves from Lahti, having also played for Inter Turku, Tampareen Ilves, SJK and Jazz.

He played Champions League qualifiers with SJK having won the league with them for the first time in their history.

At 6ft 4in, Penninkangas can play at left-back, left-wing back or centre half.

Liam Buckley said: “It’s a signing that is really going to fit in with how we play. Teemu can play as a left-back or wing-back as well as in the middle of defence and I feel we are well-stocked in that area now.

Teemu joins for 2020

“Teemu has done very well in Finland, he’s won several trophies and played in Europe. He wants to be successful here too.

“He’s tall, physical, he reads it well and he can also come up from the back and score goals which he has done consistently throughout his career.

“But first and foremost I’ve signed him as a defender and someone who will bring even more character to the group. His record in Finland is excellent and this is something he should relish, coming into a new league. We’ve added more height to the group this year as well as experience. We’ve got Garry Buckley, Teemu, and Will Seymore, who I think is going to prove to be a big player for us. That’s important in this league as we have a lot of young players as well.

“As a player I was willing to play in different countries and loved it. Outside of Ireland it’s just normal that you sign foreign players and bring them to your club. We take that approach. As our fans know it’s difficult to compete for every player in Ireland, we have to seek out the best possible value to fit within our remit and I think we’ve done that.

“There isn’t much more business to do, we are looking for a new striker. You’ll find that most clubs in the division are too so it’s not particularly easy. I can say that in this off-season I’ve researched more players than you would believe, along with Dave Campbell and John.

“Teemu arrives today on the back of that because it’s imperative we spend every cent wisely and I think you will find this will be another really positive signing for the season.”

Penninkangas said: “I’m very happy to become a Sligo Rovers player today. It has always been a dream of mine to play abroad.

“This is a very good club in a strong league and a challenge I really look forward to.

“I have had good times in Finland and been part of teams that have achieved great things. I’d like to do that here and help Sligo reach their goals.

“The manager and the coaches convinced me this is the place for me. I can’t wait to play my first game.”

Parkes joins New Mexico for 2020 season

Romeo Parkes has joined USL side New Mexico United on loan for the 2020 season.

As revealed last week, following consultation between the player and club in recent weeks it became clear that Romeo must stay in North America for 2020.

The Bit O’ Red agreed to facilitate this request.

He joins New Mexico as they take over his contract in full for this season.

Rovers retain an option for the 2021 season.

Bit O’ Red wall deadline: 31 January

The deadline to have your tile on Bit O’Red Wall for the start of the 2020 season has been confirmed as 31 January.

The new wall gives supporters and their family members the opportunity to have a permanent place and link with the home of the Rovers – The Showgrounds.

Click to buy tile here

Supporters who have already purchased do not need take action. Around 140 tiles have been sold so far. A limited amount remain.

Alongside the newly-developed outdoor museum, immediately opposite the dressing rooms on the Treacy Avenue side of the ground, the Bit O’ Red wall will be erected shortly with work beginning in the first week of February in time for the first home game against St Patrick’s Athletic on 21 February.

It will be made up of tiles, supplied by the renowned Boyle based stonemasons, Feelystone. Each tile, costing €100, will have space for 3 lines, with 16 characters per line.

Tiles not bought before 31 January will not be erected until later in the year.

Securing a permanent place on The Bit O’ Red Wall is likely to interest fans who attend Rovers games each season.

It will also provide supporters who are not based in Sligo, including the many who live abroad, with an opportunity to mark their affection for the Rovers.

Another dimension of the project is it will allow an opportunity to remember and celebrate deceased family members and their long association with the club.

The project was devised by a working group including clubsecretary, Brendan Lacken; CEO Colin Feehily, committee members Mark Cummins & Paddy Houze and supporter, Tommie Gorman.

Their objective is to raise funds to help with the running of the club but also to organise a scheme that builds the infrastructure of the Showgrounds and enhances the club’s bond with supporters.

Finbar Feely of Feelystone participated in several meetings at the Showgrounds during which the proposal was developed.

The plan is to create a structure that will last and will serve as a reminder of the community-based values at the heart of Sligo Rovers FC.

Galway United game to open pre-season

Sligo Rovers can confirm two friendlies later this month as part of our pre-season programme.

In the first outing of 2020, Rovers will take on Galway United in Solar 21 Park, Castlebar (formerly known as Milebush) on Saturday 18th January.

Kick-off is 1pm, admission will be €5. It is a repeat of the fixture at the same venue last year.

The following Friday, 24th January, Rovers will meet Drogheda United in Dublin.

The game takes place at 7pm at the FAI campus in Abbotstown. The game is not open to supporters.

Liam Buckley said: “Galway United have strengthened this year so they should provide a good test in Mayo, while Drogheda United came close to promotion last year and will be a leading contender again this season.

“We have made the commitment to travel for various reasons as I explained last week.

“It’s worth it and this will be a good start to the matches for pre-season.”