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Stevens: I'll bring belief

FORMER England international Gary Stevens has promised to put his wealth of experience at the top level of the game to good use in his new role at Sligo Rovers.

The League of Ireland champions confirmed over the weekend that boss Ian Baraclough had appointed ex-Tottenham man Stevens as his new No 2, succeeding Gerry Carr.

Stevens had a successful playing career, which included a Wembley appearance in the 1983 FA Cup final and he also won a UEFA Cup medal with Spurs in 1984, also earning seven England caps and a trip to the 1986 World Cup finals.

Recently coaching in Azerbaijan, the 50-year-old is keen to start work in Ireland alongside Baraclough.

"What I bring is experience and knowledge that I have developed over decades. I spent a life in football and I like teams to play football," said Stevens.


"Football for me is all about passing the ball, being positive and Ian and I share that belief and while you should have the same principles, it is also important that you are able to speak your mind in situations and have input and Ian is the same way. Assistant managers are not supposed to be yes men and I think we can form a great team together with the rest of the staff to try keep the club on a forward movement.

"My passion is football, this is a great opportunity for me. The team has won the league and it means Champions League qualifiers this year. It means we have a title to defend. It has only happened 17 or 18 times where a team has defended the League of Ireland title and that is something we have to try to go and do," added Stevens, who is ready for the move to Ireland.

"I know it is a good standard, I have been watching DVDs of matches in the Premier Division in the last couple of months and I know of the large number of players that have made their way to England and Scotland, some of which have gone on to big clubs and done extremely well."

Baraclough took his time in appointing a number two but settled on Stevens. "Each time Ian and I were working together on the Pro Licence we spent a lot of time talking and stayed in touch over the last 18 months or so," added Stevens.

"I was in contact with Ian when he got the job at Sligo Rovers to congratulate him and when he started so well and kept in touch since.

"When he said there was an opportunity with the assistant manager role at Sligo Rovers, it interested me and I knew I would like to work with him. I was in Sligo last month, I met the chairman Dermot Kelly, the treasurer David Rowe and saw the facilities like the Clarion Hotel and IT Sligo where the team train.

"I looked at the new stand (Volkswagen Bank End) in The Showgrounds and the entire situation shows Sligo Rovers is a extremely progressive football club.

"It was clear there was a passion for Rovers in the community and it seemed for the vast majority of people in the city the club is a big part of their lives. It was attractive and very appealing.

"I was assistant academy director and worked with the reserve team at Charlton Athletic at a time when a number of players were making progress like Paul Konchesky and Scott Parker and our role was to develop and improve the players. I like to think I played a part in their development and certainly in Sligo the target will be the same. We want to develop the players for the club to prosper and the players' career also."