Sligo Rovers can today announce a new strategic partnership with English Premier League side Everton Football Club.
The new agreement will see Sligo Rovers and Everton partner on several initiatives and cross-promotional activities including fan engagement, marketing and content collaborations.
Sligo Rovers and Everton academy coaches will also develop relationships and there will also be the opportunity for pre-season training bases for academy teams at both clubs.
The clubs will exchange knowledge across both coaching and business operations.
The hugely successful Sligo Rovers Camps for children will be expanded for the development of joint camps which include improved services, access and more coaching and enjoyment for participants.
The Bit O’ Red view this partnership as an ideal chance to expand our football club, acquire new skills and knowledge, open up new opportunities for coaches and players, grow our fanbase and all the while maintaining our model and remit as a community-driven and supporter-owned club.
Throughout the storied history of Rovers and the Blues, there has been a wealth of links between both players and fans.
Most notably, Seamus Coleman made the move from Sligo Rovers as a 20-year-old to join the Toffees in 2009. Coleman has gone on to make nearly 300 appearances for the Blues and become captain for the club and country.
In 1939 Everton giant Dixie Dean signed for Sligo Rovers, scoring 10 goals in seven games and helped Rovers to the final of the FAI Cup.
His time at Sligo Rovers is celebrated to this day and remains one of the most unique and special chapters in the history of Rovers.
The clubs have played each other in several friendlies across different age groups and, more recently, Everton fans heavily supported the Bit O’ Red Supporters Trust campaign which raised more than €85,000 to allow us fund the remainder of the 2020 season which ultimately ended in European qualification.
Everton Football Club, one of the most well-known names in English football, currently sit four points from the top of the Premier League.
The Goodison Park club have a decorated and storied presence in Merseyside for over 140 years, maintaining Irish links throughout that period and have an exciting future ahead under manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Sligo Rovers chairman Tommy Higgins said: “This is a very positive day for Sligo Rovers. We have a shared history with Everton Football Club over many decades and I believe we also have the same principles and ambition to grow. They are a perfect fit for a collaboration such as this.
“Partnering with Everton will allow us to improve in many key areas, such as commercial activity, fan services and also the development of our academy coaches which is of utmost importance.
“We have very talented staff and a group of coaches at the club who will learn and develop from the basis of this link-up.
“We hope it is the beginning of a very fruitful partnership and perhaps, in time, more names will be added to those that have proudly represented Sligo Rovers and Everton.
“Our initial focus is beginning this partnership and seeing the benefits for all parties.
“We’re delighted to welcome Everton as our new strategic partner. We have two passionate sets of supporters who will now be cheering each other on.”
Richard Kenyon, Director of Marketing, Communications and Community at Everton Football Club said: “Sligo Rovers is a historic football club with a passionate fanbase, strong community support and ambitious ownership.
“Like a lot of clubs, Sligo Rovers are working hard to build back after the impact of coronavirus and we are very pleased to be part of a strategic agreement that marks a new chapter in their future and an exciting opportunity for Everton – building on the close relationship that has endured for more than 80 years.
“This exciting partnership is another step in our own international growth plans and offers clear benefits to both clubs. From joint fan engagement opportunities, events and business knowledge exchange to soccer camps, academy training bases and access to Sligo Rovers’ scouting network – it is an exciting collaboration. We look forward to exploring new and innovative new ways of working together.”
Seamus Coleman, currently of Everton and formerly of Sligo Rovers, said: “I’m delighted with this partnership between two clubs close to my heart in Sligo Rovers and Everton.
“I’ll be forever grateful to Sligo for giving me my start in professional football and for helping to pave the way for my move to Everton, the Club I am proud to captain and represent each and every day.
“This partnership will benefit both clubs and, in particular, can provide support to Sligo from the social and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”