Aaron Cawley: Sligo's break with Dave Robertson the right choice for both parties

Thu, Apr 06 2017

The Englishman guided Sligo to a fifth-place finish last year. Credit: John Doyle

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Sligo Rovers' decision to part company with Robertson was the right choice for both parties.

 

When Robertson was brought in for the start of the 2016 season, he came in to do one job, and that was to steady the ship after a disastrous 2015 season.

 

Robertson quickly wielded the axe and many of the fan favourites were let go, as the former Peterborough United boss looked to put his own stamp on the Bit O'Red team.

 

He brought in young players from the UK, including Kieran Sadlier, Tobi Adebayo-Rowling and most notably, ex-Liverpool Academy player Craig Rodden.

 

Robertson, it seemed, had a plan and he was sticking to it come hell or high water.

 

After a less than convincing start to the 2016 season, many fans believed that another relegation battle was in store for the Bit O' Red, but as the season progressed those players Robertson put his faith in started to perform.

 

Sadlier and Adebayo-Rowling found their feet in the league and performances on the pitch improved dramatically.

 

These improved performances helped the club to finish an impressive fifth last season, a finishing position any fan would have bitten your hand off for after going winless for the first eight games.

 

Much was expected for the 2017 season, as fans hoped that Robertson's imports could push on and make a tilt for the top three in the league.

 

However defeats to Limerick, Cork and Dundalk in the first seven games of the season has seen the Sligo Rovers board sack the English manager.

 

Robertson's failure to sign an experienced centre back and forward have seen Sligo struggle for goals this season and ship in easy goals.

 

The Londoner's reliance on young inexperienced players was, to an extent, his downfall.

 

His failure to change things when needed was frustrating as he was making the same mistakes over and over again.

 

That stubbornness has seen the Bit O' Red win only once this season, and they currently lie second from bottom in the league, ahead of Galway United, with just one win and a draw from seven.

 

Rumoured to have one of the smallest budgets in the league, Robertson struggled to attract top players, but letting Achille Campion leave for Cork City was criminal even by Sligo's standards.

 

The board should have paid the wages to keep him at the club because, as last season was drawing to a close, he was beginning to find his feet at the club.

 

Given a full pre season, and being the main focal point of the Rovers attack, he could have struck up a fairly decent partnership with the likes of Raff Cretaro and Sadlier.

 

With a new manager on the way in, if I was a Sligo Rovers player I would be worried – very worried.

 

A new manager owes players nothing and will have his own ideas in which players he can use to keep Rovers in the Premier Division for next season.

 

While Robertson's departure was inevitable, it was still a shock, coming so quickly as it did after the Galway match.

 

The board now have a decision to make – bring in someone who is experienced in the league, or bring in someone to build a long term plan with.

 

Someone who they will support with a decent budget – otherwise they will have demonstrated they failed to learn from past mistakes.