Sligo Rovers have announced an ambitious €17 million plan to redevelop The Showgrounds into a 6,000 seat stadium in time for their centenary celebrations in 2028.
Their “Development Masterplan” will upgrade the famed Sligo Town venue to UEFA category 3 standards and see covered seating on our four sides of The Showgrounds. It would also include multiple changing rooms, a gym, upgraded media facilities, hospitality spaces, offices and more.
Images from the Development Masterplan are above - simply click on the image to access the gallery.
Announcing the plan, which has been endorsed by the FAI and by Sligo County Council, Sligo Rovers FC Chairman Tommy Higgins said “We believe what we’re building for is the future of the club and make sure the club is on a good footing for the next 50 of 60 years.
“Yes, it’s ambitious, we understand that. But I firmly believe if a project is ambitious enough and good enough, it will come to fruition. We wouldn’t start off on this project if we weren’t confident we can pull it off.”
And Higgins stressed that the development is vital to Sligo Rovers’ future: “This is a necessity to keep this club going – it has been going for 93 years. I also believe in the League of Ireland, and if you believe in a project you will find a way to get it done. There is always a way, but you have to believe. We have a very very good group of people running the club at present, it is all voluntary and we all do it with a passion.”
Costing the project at €17.3m, Sligo Rovers are hopeful that they will receive local authority funding in the same way that Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers did: “There will have to be a huge element of public funding in this and I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t apply. Bohemians are getting public funding, SDCC have provided a brand new stadium for Shamrock Rovers so there will have to be an element of public funding, no question.”
Higgins believes that the new Showgrounds will also act as a community hub: “We want the Showgrounds used seven days a week, so we’ve a provision here for a restaurant, pharmacy, creche, gym, doctor’s surgery, clubhouse, offices.”
Support from Sligo Rugby Club has also been forthcoming and Higgins envisages The Showgrounds could be used for games during Rovers’ off-season: “Our stadium is empty from November for three or four months when it would be the height of the rugby season and would bring additional income into the club. It’s the norm across Europe.”
FAI Chief Executive Jonathan Hill welcomed the news: “We talk a lot about football in the community, not just here in Ireland but across the globe, and Sligo Rovers are standard bearers in this regard. I am delighted to see the range of this development plan which reflects the club’s standing in the Sligo community in a fitting manner.
“Such development is a cornerstone of our vision for the future of all our League of Ireland clubs. Well done to all involved with this project.”
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