Season Review 2016 - Sligo Rovers

Mon, Oct 31 2016

Dave Robertson has done a decent job in his first year at the club. Credit: John Doyle (ETPhotos)

Team: Sligo Rovers


Manager: Dave Robertson 


Top Scorer: Raffaele Cretaro and Kieran Sadlier 10 each. 


Highest Attendance: 3,068 v Shamrock Rovers


Lowest Attendance: 852 v Cabinteely


Star Player: A tough category to decide upon. Some like Tobi Adebayor-Rowling grew in to their role at the club after he had a poor start to the season, while some like Regan Donelon showed exactly why he was offered a new contract and that there is so much more to come from the young left back. Craig Rodden showed glimpses of magic, cleaning up opposition attacks and starting attacks for the Bit O'Red but if I have to pick one it would be the Tubbercurry Tornado, Raffaele Cretaro. This season he turned back the clock and was playing at times like he was 21 again. His 10 league goals throughout the campaign is testament to the season he has had. At 36, Raff looks like he still has a good few years left in him playing for Rovers


Best Young Player: There's only one choice for me and that's Kieran Sadlier. Sadlier joined Rovers in January 2016 from Peterborough United, having previously played for West Ham United, Halifax Town and St Mirren. The signing of the ex-Irish underage international was viewed as quite a coup by many supporters. He finished joint top scorer this season with Raffaele Cretaro and will hope to push on next season to show fans what he can do on a more regular basis. 


Best New Signing: I could say Sadlier but for this I'm going to go with ex-Liverpool Academy player Craig Rodden. Rodden from the first game at the Showgrounds for me was different gravy. His willingness to get on the ball and his ability to break up opposition attacks was something to behold. While he didn't get the accolades of those around him, he is one of the main factors that Rovers finished where they did in the league this season. 


What we expected they would do: After the farce that was last season many fans would have been happy with another tenth place finish. Out of the relegation zone but comfortable enough to stay in the league while some may also have been expecting the manager merry-go-round to continue especially after the poor start to Dave Robertson’s career at the club.


What they actually did: Rovers finished an impressive 5th this season, six points behind fourth placed Shamrock Rovers and three points ahead of Bray Wanderers. Only for a few bad results against the likes of Derry City, Bray Wanderers and Finn Harps, Rovers could and should have been in the mix for a European spot at the end of this season. 


What they need to improve on: Next season will be a defining season for Sligo Rovers. For the first time since 2012 the manager doesn't need a complete overhaul of the team. The average players brought in at the start of last season are a distant memory. Robertson has also signalled his intentions for next season early by signing up so many of this seasons squad for next year. If he can somehow bring in two decent and proven centre backs and a quality striker who can adapt to the League of Ireland quickly I would expect at least a top four finish next season.


#GreatestLeagueInTheWorld Moment: It has to be the washed out game against Finn Harps. I was at the game reporting for extratime.ie and twenty minutes before the game I knew the pitch was unplayable. But the referee on the night knew better and went ahead with the game. The game only lasted, if memory serves right, for 15-20 minutes before the referee saw sense and called it off.