Pat Fenlon wants to leave a legacy at Shamrock Rovers

New manager wants to improves club’s structure as well as winning trophies

New manager Pat Fenlon: “My ambition is to try to build the club here”. Photograph: Inpho

New manager Pat Fenlon: “My ambition is to try to build the club here”. Photograph: Inpho


The last time Pat Fenlon joined Shamrock Rovers, he recalled yesterday, the then midfielder signed a three year deal but was sold after just one while he was on holidays.

“I didn’t have too much to do with it, to be honest” he says with a shrug. “That’s part and parcel of the game. At the time Rovers needed some money so they saw me as a little bit of an asset and were able to get some money.”

The 45-year-old has been around the block quite a few times since then and even as he was unveiled as the club’s new manager yesterday he was anticipating the day when he will depart again. This time, though, he wants to leave rather more of a legacy than his contribution then to a Leinster Cup success.

“My ambition is to try to build the club here,” he says as he starts on what is intended to be an initial three and a half year stint in charge.

‘Win things’

“I know it’s changed over a period of time. Obviously Trevor’s gone but he has left a lot of good stuff here and it’s important that we try to improve. My job is to try to win things with the first team but it’s also important that we try to build the structure for when that day comes, because it will come, when I go and somebody else comes in.”

The youth development structure including the new first division team are all things he will weigh up over time.

The important thing, he says, is that there is a firm foundation to build on and the scope to spend time doing that for the future rather than having to fire-fight to keep the first team show on the road as he often had to during highly successful but often difficult spells at Shelbourne and Bohemians.

Route to Europe

His time at Hibernian was less successful and Fenlon is determined to return to winning ways in Tallaght with the title still in his sights for the moment even if the FAI Cup or a top three finish represents a more realistic route back to Europe for the team he has inherited.

“We’ve got to win probably 99 per cent of our games to have any realistic chance [of finishing top],” he says.

“We’ve got to beat the teams that are ahead of us. That will be difficult but it is doable and we’ve got to make sure we give ourselves a little bit of a chance and get ourselves into a position where maybe people look behind and see us making a little bit of a charge.

“I think the really serious goal is to make sure we get that European place. It’s important for the supporters. It was disappointing for them when it came round this year and they saw Pat’s using this ground for Europe.

“And from a financial view as well, it’s a help for the club moving forward. That’s probably the bigger goal but we’re not giving up on anything.”

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