Rovers president delighted with UBOR
If you hear someone talking locally about their engaging, passionate and ever-popular president, they may not necessarily be referring to the current incumbent of the Aras.
They may have in mind the honorary president of Sligo Rovers, Eddie McCullagh.
Eddie has been following his beloved Rovers for over 60 years. He has witnessed good times and bad, but for our president, the one factor that has remained consistent is the enduring loyalty and generosity of the people of Sligo.
He said: "There is a feeling of goodwill to Sligo Rovers that extends beyond the club. I think over the years people of Sligo appreciated the challenges we have overcome and they have always rallied to our side."
Throughout his many years as a committee member and volunteer for Rovers, Eddie has seen that community spirit at first hand on numerous occasions. He recalls going around the housing estates in Sligo town in the late 60’s collecting money to repay the purchase loan on the Showgrounds.
"Even people who never went to our games took a special pride in the fact that Rovers had a home of their own, and in those hard times I picked up a shilling every week from households that were scarcely flush - but their feeling for Rovers ran deep. That feeling hasn't changed."
That community spirit has been evident in many other ways. During the early 2000’s, Rovers constructed a new stand along its boundary with Treacy Avenue. The new facility was much bigger than the one it replaced. Yet there was nothing but support and encouragement from the people of Treacy Avenue who were directly affected by the development.
It is doubtful of any other club in the country would have received the unqualified backing of the local community for a project of this scale, almost literally on their doorsteps. The same occured for the development of the new Railway End stand where local businesses and individuals contributed €2,500 each to get a project off the ground and change the Showgrounds completely.
Eddie firmly believes the ‘Rovers family’ and wider community will once again prove their loyalty and affinity for their club and that the 'Up The Bit O’ Red ' campaign will harness the goodwill towards the club beyond the immediate support base. Today it passed €25,000.
He sums up his view this way.
"The manager proved his ability last year in keeping us in the Premier Division. Now he deserves the chance to maintain this progress, develop his team, and hopefully we will be back where we belong, at the upper end of the League challenging for Europe. As I see it, the people of Sligo deserve and expect no less."
Interview by Kevin Colreavy