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Feeney: Daughter's birthday phone call sealed decision to quit

By Lesley Houston

Published 07/10/2015

Family man: Warren Feeney has quit as Linfield boss to be closer to daughters Lucy and Darcy
Family man: Warren Feeney has quit as Linfield boss to be closer to daughters Lucy and Darcy
Warren Feeney 's wife Katy

Warren Feeney has revealed it was a telephone call from his daughter on her birthday over the weekend that helped seal his decision to quit as Linfield manager.

The former Northern Ireland striker confirmed his resignation from the Danske Bank Premiership leaders yesterday as he accepted the offer to become assistant boss of English League Two side Newport County.

The 34-year-old last night said the "tough, tough" decision to quit the Blues was due to a number of factors - but most of them concerned his desire to be closer to his family across the Irish Sea.

Linfield chairman Jim Kerr has said it was a "very, very sad" day for the club which offered Feeney improved terms last night in an eleventh-hour bid to keep him at Windsor Park.

Feeney has been managing the south Belfast outfit since April 2014.

He will now join struggling Newport just a week after ex-Republic of Ireland midfielder John Sheridan was appointed manager following the departure of Terry Butcher.

It is understood Feeney's new role will result in a significant salary increase.

"It is more than a football decision," said the Belfast-born former Northern Ireland international.

"My wife and four kids all live in the Newport area so logistically it is an ideal job for me."

"It was a tough, tough decision for me," he stressed. "I do want to manage at the highest level I can and be the best."

The decision is understood to have been taken following a considerable soul-searching.

"I went over everything over the weekend. I was going, I wasn't. I was going, I wasn't.

"I have come to the decision. My family and my wife are a mile away.

"It was my daughter's birthday yesterday and she came on the phone."

Commenting further on his departure, Feeney paid tribute to the "special" club and expressed his hopes people will understand his decision.

"I know a lot of people will feel angry towards me, but I am big enough to take it," he said.

"I had a fantastic time here. It's a special club with special people.

"I know with the people around the whole club that they will go on to succeed. I have no doubts whatsoever that Linfield can win the league this season.

"I told the players that they have proved they are the best, they will be the best and they have got to put their full support behind Alfie Wylie and Andy Todd.

"I have no doubt whatsoever that this club can get back to where it belongs and those players can go on and win the league."

On his switch to the Welsh club, Feeney added: "I have fond memories of playing in this part of the world, my family home is still in Langstone and I have undertaken my coaching qualifications through the FA of Wales."

Paying tribute to Feeney's leadership, Linfield chairman Jim Kerr said: "It's a very, very sad day for Linfield Football Club.

"He leaves with the club sitting at the top of the league and that is down, in no small part, to Warren.

"The club did make him an improved contract extension, but his family played a major part in his decision to go.

"We have already started the search for a new manager."

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