Updated: 06/04/17 : 05:27:40
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Search begins for new guv'nor at Showgrounds

By Eugene McGloin
THE UNCOUPLING of Sligo Rovers and its manager these past seventeen months was expressed in very civilised terms yesterday, Wednesday

But the upshot of yesterday afternoon's ''amicable'' parting is that the former commando is no longer in command of the Bit O' Red.

Of course, that parting of Dave Robertson from the Rovers after seventeen months is, well, par for the course.

Average Lifespan

It was Leo Gray, the esteemed retired sports editor with The Sligo Champion who once sketched the (relatively) short average lifespan of a Sligo Rovers manager.

The clock always stopped far short of two years for so many managers; 18-20 months, that part became so, so predictable.

Equally predictable over the past forty years or so has been the stranglehold held on the manager's (hot) seat in the Showgrounds by a stream of British accents.

That reflects fans' obsession(s) moreso than any official policy of the club, written or unwritten.

Not many voices ever ask, or are listened to, but is this near-inevitability of (always) a British manager the correct approach, huh?

How many British managers are there now at the top clubs in Britain. 

Anyway, Dave Robertson, a former British soldier with two tours of duty in Belfast on his CV, came to the Showgrounds as manager in November 2015. See below.

He did so at short notice and he probably did enough to depart with a better CV than when he arrived.

Well Chosen

Not likely to be on his CV but memorable nevertheless was his short personal tribute last month when Derry City captain Ryan McBride, died suddenly, aged 27.

Robertson's well chosen words about Ryan McBride on RTE's ''Soccer Republic'' special tribute show deserve to be remembered, and the man who spoke them, too.

Generally speaking, the business of (professional) soccer is becoming shabbier.

Too seldom is it now ever 'the beautiful game' spoken of by soccer pundits.

Betting has turned it even more brutish than it already was; if 'Reservoir Dogs' had been about Sport, the results-driven racket of soccer would have been its plaything.

That is the picture of soccer worldwide and in recent decades there have been wobbles in major leagues in these isles, too.

Great Fillip

Domestic soccer in Ireland, in contrast to all that garishness dressed too often as glamour, can be a drab affair.

Not always, though, and the domestic game has got a great fillip from the activity, knowledge, interest and attendance of President Michael D Higgins at games.

President Higgins probably does more to promote the domestic game than the grandly titled Football Association of Ireland.

It is against all these clouds and rainbows that the Bit O' Red will do their best to bring ''the best available'' to the Showgrounds as manager. Once more.

In the current decade, the five most recent Sligo Rovers (permanent) managers have departed, for different reasons, in the MIDDLE of seasons.

That index of change as a constancy has to be curtailed and certainly so as the club inches towards its centenary in 2028.

Being impatient for success is a legitimate aspiration for clubs AND supporters but showing impatience while on that path is less legitimate.

Remarkably Low

Conversely, some commentators, for whatever reason, set the original bar -- of expectation -- remarkably low for Dave Robertson when he came in 2015. 

The return of European football to Sligo with its attendant financial bonanzas should have been top priority set down by the employer for that manager in his first full season.

Yet the commentariat still talked of settling for a top six finish in the SSE Airtricty League.

Top Six? In a league whose standard declined during this decade and where the gulf between top and bottom clubs is no longer just a sum of points, six is ''also-ran'' territory.

For his part, Dave Robertson exceeded the original expectation publicly suggested for him and Sligo Rovers finished in the top five last season.

But that placing outside the Top Four meant no European football this summer, either, at ''The Showgies.''

It was the (always) excellent Alan Cawley on RTE's ''Soccer Republic'' who highlighted flaws which were hidden in plain sight:-

1. Sligo Rovers had a poor record of player discipline last season;

2. This season it had the worst defensive record in the entire league.

For other managers who had served with distinction this past decade, there was something else, too, hidden in plain sight.

Namely, players who were indifferently processed at the Showgrounds rose to be stars elsewhere. 

The best (worst) example is Seanie Maguire, sent to The Showgrounds on loan by West Ham United.

He is the single biggest attraction the game has this season as his goals have propelled Cork City to the number one spot, unbeaten.

Most Successful

West Ham should have recalled Maguire as he was left to waltz up and down the line at Sligo, waiting to get a game.

Maguire did too many warm-ups routines as a late sub for the liking of this paying spectator.

Yet, that Sligo manager making those particular calls was the most successful in the club's history, Ian Baraclough.

The next manager who comes to Sligo needs to show -- AND be given the time and space to show -- '20 20 Vision.'

Meaning the year itself, 2020, but also to develop and to deliver a wider vision and a plan for getting European football back to The Showgrounds.

The (minimum) bar height needs to be set there, that should be the max leverage given to the next guv'nor at The Showgrounds. Now, go get 'im!