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'When we came over to Sligo, the club was completely and utterly on its knees'

Alan Rogers had an unenviable task in helping to turn the side’s season around.

Sligo manager Micky Adams celebrates with Gavin Peers at the end of the game against St Pat's at Richmond Park last October.
Sligo manager Micky Adams celebrates with Gavin Peers at the end of the game against St Pat's at Richmond Park last October.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

SLIGO ROVERS WAS a club “completely and utterly on its knees” amid a turbulent season in the Airtricity League Premier Division last year, according to their former assistant manager.

With the club performing poorly, Owen Heary departed as the Bit O’ Red’s coach last summer, as manager Micky Adams and assistant Alan Rogers took over in August, after Joseph N’Do and Gavin Dykes had been in charge of the team on a temporary basis.

The former Leicester City and Brighton boss, along with his assistant, took charge of a club that were second from bottom with 16 points from 22 matches.

Part of the statement announcing Adams’ appointment also made reference to “a recent annual draw,” which “produced a badly needed €50,000″.

Moreover, as well as financial issues, according to Rogers, morale at the club was dramatically low when he arrived.

“When we came over to Sligo, the club was completely and utterly on its knees,” he tells The42. “The first thing we did when we came in there is that we made it an atmosphere where people actually wanted to come into training. That’s what shocked us when we came into Sligo — the players were absolutely on the floor. They didn’t want to come into training.”

Adams took charge of the club for the final 11 games of the season, as they narrowly avoided the drop following an impressive 2-0 victory over St Pat’s, but the experienced coach decided to step down at the end of the campaign anyway for “family reasons”.

Ex-Peterborough boss Dave Robertson subsequently came in in place of Adams and Rogers, and has made further progress, with the team currently seventh in this season’s Airtricity League Premier Division.

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Yet there is no doubt that Adams and Rogers deserve credit for the initial degree of stability they brought to the side, and the former Nottingham Forest and Leicester player says a positive attitude was key to their success.

Luckily for us, we’ve got the (right) personalities. We flipped it around and within a day or two (after our arrival), the place was absolutely bubbling. You’ve got to make players come in and want to train, and want to play for you. If you work hard and do exactly what we’re saying, it will be enjoyable. The players have got to want to work for you and enjoy what they’re doing.

“I’m not sure what went on previously at Sligo, but the impression we got when we walked in was that nobody wanted to work or train — it was just a very unhappy environment. So if you create an environment for players that’s enjoyable, they’ll do the rest for you.

I’ve always been a believer in getting a team to work hard and do exactly what you want. You’ve got to look no further than Leicester City. They had absolutely no right to win the Premier League, but because they’re a good strong team and the work ethic is phenomenal, that’s what’s won them the league.”

And after leaving Sligo, Rogers is now set to now graduate from assistant to head coach. Earlier this month, he was confirmed as the new boss of Elann Vannin — an Isle of Man side who are rumoured to be in talks to join the League of Ireland.

The former England U21 international says he is excited at the prospect of this new role and will look no further than his old boss for inspiration.

I speak to Micky on a daily basis and he’s always there for advice — he’s totally different class,” Rogers says. “If I can be a quarter of the manager that Micky Adams has, I’ll have had an unbelievable career.”

On the Elann Vannin job, he adds: “I’m not playing careerism. I’m a winner and I also create positive atmospheres. I enjoy having a laugh and a joke around the training ground as long as the work is put in. If the work’s not put in, then it’s a different scenario. Everywhere I’ve been so far, I’ve created a positive atmosphere and made it enjoyable — and I think all the Sligo lads will vouch for that.”

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Paul Fennessy

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