Belfast Telegraph

Boo-boys should be showing Ronnie more respect: Healy

By Adrian Rutherford

David Healy has hit out at Portadown fans who have turned against Ronnie McFall, saying his achievements deserve more recognition.

The Ports host Linfield in the standout match from the weekend's fixture list.

It's a game which brings together two managers under mounting pressure, with McFall in particular feeling the ire of some supporters in recent times.

But ahead of the game, Healy claimed McFall should be given more credit.

"I don't know what's going on down there," he said, when asked for his view of the growing dissent on the Shamrock Park terraces.

"I think he deserves a bit of credit."

Today's clash promises an intriguing match-up between two men at opposite ends of their managerial careers.

McFall is European football's longest serving boss, taking charge of the Ports in 1986.

At that time the Berlin Wall was still standing while Europe's The Final Countdown was number one in the charts.

Since then he has led the Mid-Ulster club to numerous trophies, but has come under pressure this season because of poor results.

He was even booed by a section of fans during last month's home defeat to Crusaders.

Asked about the pressure, Healy added: "It's football - that's the way it is. I'm looking forward to seeing him this weekend."

Healy, meanwhile, is already gaining an insight into the high-pressure world of Irish League football.

Last weekend's 3-2 defeat at Glenavon was Linfield's third in a row.

That hasn't happened since December 2002 - and you have to delve even further into the record books to find a run of four straight defeats.

That grim statistic surfaced in March, 1997.

But Healy has been quick to shoot down talk of a crisis at Windsor Park.

He also insists he did not underestimate the size of the job he took on after replacing Warren Feeney five weeks ago, but there is no doubt he is under pressure to turn around Linfield's faltering season sooner rather than later.

Not that the weight of expectation bothers Healy.

"There is always pressure - every game I step into as manager of Linfield there's pressure on me," he added.

"I don't need pressure from supporters or anybody else. The pressure comes from me.

"We're not good enough at the moment and it's something I have to address, and hopefully over the coming weeks I will."

Asked if he thrives under pressure, Healy (pictured) added: "I hope so."

Portadown sit seventh and any hope of a title challenge is already over.

Indeed, they face a battle to even make the top six.

Yet the clash between two powerhouses of the local game is always one which stands out in the fixture calendar.

Linfield traditionally find it tough at Shamrock Park, and have failed to win any of their last three visits there in the league and cup.

Healy is expecting another tough game today.

"I'm looking forward to it, it should be a good game," he added.

"It will be tough, it has always been over the years for Linfield, but it's one that I'm looking forward to and hopefully the players are as well."

Despite the sides' poor form - between them they have managed just two wins from their last 10 league games- Healy expects a decent game.

"Portadown are obviously on a little bit of a rocky spell but people will be looking at Linfield going there," he added.

"We're also having a bit of a rocky spell but it should be a good game."

Belfast Telegraph


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