Everton and Sligo Rovers fans had the chance to put their questions to Seamus Coleman on Wednesday night at a live virtual event to mark the new partnership between the two clubs.
Everton and Republic of Ireland captain Coleman, who joined the Blues from Sligo in 2009 for a fee of £60,000, answered questions on his time with both clubs and spoke of his delight at learning they would be uniting in a strategic link-up when it was announced in January this year.
"It's a great relationship and when the news broke, it excited me,” said Coleman, who has gone on to make 342 appearances for Everton since arriving from Sligo.
"I think it makes sense, it's a great partnership and hopefully the two clubs can have many happy years - and successful years - together.
"They're two clubs that have played a massive part in my life so I'm over the moon with the partnership."
The exclusive event was open to members of officially affiliated Everton Irish Supporters’ Clubs and Sligo Supporters’ Clubs.
Fans had the chance to submit their questions to Seamus, who spoke about the grounding he got playing Gaelic football as a youngster, his memories of representing Sligo, his competitive nature and where it comes from, and his admiration for Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Other guests on the night including former Everton and Republic of Ireland star Kevin Kilbane, Blues Club ambassador Ian Snodin and current Sligo Rovers captain Greg Bolger.
Supporters also heard from Everton Football Club’s Director of Marketing, Communications and Community Richard Kenyon, and Sligo Rovers Chairman Tommy Higgins, who spoke about the strong links between the two clubs and their plans to work together in the future.
Kenyon spoke about the historical bond of Irish Evertonians with their club, as well as Everton’s links to Sligo Rovers through players like Coleman and Dixie Dean. The conversation also referenced how the partnership with Sligo Rovers is progressing and brings together two clubs with a people-centered approach to fan engagement and football.
Higgins discussed how, despite already well-established links, the relationship evolved further after Sligo Rovers and their fans were humbled by the generosity of Evertonians when they heavily supported a crowdfunding campaign which raised more than €85,000 to help the League of Ireland club with revenue during the COVID-19 shutdown of football.
The new partnership will see Everton and Sligo Rovers partner on initiatives and cross-promotional activities ranging from fan engagement, marketing, content collaborations and tailored membership packages, to the development of joint football summer camps and the opportunity for pre-season training bases for Academy teams at both clubs.
“This event has been great and an opportunity for us to publicly talk about our partnership with supporters,” said Kenyon. “It’s slightly unusual as almost everything has been done virtually but it has not stopped us from progressing our plans and helping each other.”
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Higgins added: “The partnership is a great opportunity for Sligo to work alongside one of the best run clubs in the Premier League. Once we get back up and running with travel and the coaches can start delivering on some of their plans then I think we’re going to benefit an awful lot.”
Throughout the storied history of both clubs, there has been a wealth of links between both players and fans from the two clubs.
In 1939, Everton Giant Dean signed for Sligo Rovers, scoring 10 goals in seven games and inspiring The Bit O’Red to the final of the FAI Cup.
The clubs have also previously played each other in several friendlies across different age groups.