Supporters dig deep to help Sligo Rovers cope with pandemic

Sligo Rovers Football Club has recorded a financial surplus and substantially reduced its long term debt despite a huge drop in gate receipts last year because of the pandemic.

Figures presented to the club members at Monday night’s online AGM showed an overall surplus of €134,000 – largely thanks to a huge fundraising effort by supporters and the local community in 2020.

After a year of lockdowns, games played behind closed doors and prohibitive covid restrictions when it comes to keeping a football club going, Sligo Rovers financial picture looks impressive.

Club Treasurer David Rowe told members gate receipts dropped by 215,000 euro last year. Income from the club lotto almost halved.

However,  the governments wage subside schemes helped. €280,000 came Rovers way last year.

And – by the far the most striking income source came from the fans and local community. They dug deep into their pockets, raising 399,424 euros.

Not one season ticket holder asked for a refund last season despite many of them only seeing two matches prior to Covid – effectively meaning that Rovers supporters contributed about €530,000 to Rovers income stream in 2020.

As for long term debt, Rovers owed 280,000 at the end of 2019, comprising bank loans, trade creditors and revenue. Today, that figure is down to 85,000.

Rowe did sound a note of caution. The challenge now, he said, was to keep Rovers financial situation on an even keel, when the club’s back isn’t against the wall. Rovers are, he said, still way behind the big three – Shamrock Rovers, Dundalk and Bohemians – in terms of financial muscle.

Elsewhere, Club chairman Tommy Higgins confirmed that Rovesr new Masterplan is due to be published in the next six weeks – and it will be ambitious.

Secretary Brendan Lacken also confirmed that established a senior women’s team is a priority for the club in the short term – and that a plan for that is coming this summer.

The outgoing Sligo Rovers management committee was re-elected for the 2021 season.

Chairman: Tommy Higgins
Vice-chairman: Andy Dodd
Secretary: Brendan Lacken
Treasurer: David Rowe
Assistant secretary: Mark Cummins.