Belfast Telegraph

Good start for David Healy, but tougher tests are looming for Linfield

By Stuart McKinley

As far as ticking boxes goes, David Healy got everything he could have asked for from his first game as Linfield manager.

A win a, a clean sheet, gone top of the league. Top marks all round at this stage.

A recurring theme while speaking to former Linfield managers last week in relation to Healy's appointment was that everything's great being in charge at Windsor Park - as long as you're winning.

A 3-0 victory at Warrenpoint Town wasn't a bad way to start then.

It's just as well he's not managing Glentoran. It seems that over on the east side of Belfast, winning itself isn't enough.

Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson, less than six months after winning the Irish Cup for the second time in three seasons, was sacked just half an hour after recording a second home victory in a week.

Maybe the Glens board thought that Linfield had hogged the headlines too much over the last couple of weeks and needed to do something to get back into the limelight.

Even Healy himself admitted that his team didn't play particularly well at Warrenpoint. They did get the job done though.

Healy will want to entertain the fans too and now he will try to add style to the substance.

He has time on his side in that mission. The Blues have a run of very winnable league games - the type of games that any Linfield team with title ambitions should be knocking off without too many problems - before a tougher set of fixtures in November.

When they meet Cliftonville, Crusaders, Glenavon and Portadown it will, however, be all about winning and at the end of the season the league table will only tell who won the most games, not who played the prettiest football.

Healy's appointment has been viewed by some as a gamble, but he is no more of a risk than any other Linfield manager of the last 40 years.

Neither Roy Coyle, Trevor Anderson or David Jeffrey had a managerial track record to speak of before being handed the keys to the Windsor Park manager's office and they did more than alright - winning major trophies and in the case of Coyle and Jeffrey, doing it over a long spell of time.

Even back as far as the great Jackie Milburn in the late 1950s Linfield weren't afraid to give a big name player a shot at management.

The Geordie legend won the big prizes too and that's the next box for Healy to tick.

Belfast Telegraph


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