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Sir Alex Ferguson's inspirational words for old boy David Healy as Linfield chase treble

 

By Steven Beacom

Linfield's treble-chasing manager David Healy has revealed that an inspirational meeting with his old boss Sir Alex Ferguson will act as an extra motivating force for the rest of the season.

Healy and Blues goalkeeper Roy Carroll, who played under Ferguson at Old Trafford, were invited by another former Red Devil, Pat McGibbon, to attend yesterday's mental health awareness event in Craigavon Civic Centre, where the iconic Scot was the guest of honour.

Northern Ireland legend Healy said that it was just like old times as he listened to every word from Ferguson, admitting that, even with a record haul of international goals behind him, the nerves he had as a teenager signing for Sir Alex came flooding back in what he described as "a humbling and fantastic experience".

The meeting with Ferguson followed Linfield's most important victory of the campaign on Saturday when they defeated league leaders Crusaders 1-0 at Windsor Park to move to within one point of the top of the Danske Bank Premiership with four games to go.

Having already claimed the County Antrim Shield earlier this season and reached the Irish Cup final, Healy is fast proving his managerial credentials, stating that any time spent in the company of the most successful British boss would be a positive influence.

"Sir Alex still has an aura and presence about him. He remains a great man," said the Linfield boss.

"He's still an inspiring character for me, there is no doubt about that."

Healy added: "It was great to see him again. The man is a living legend, not just for everything he achieved with Manchester United and all the trophies he won there but football in general.

"Meeting him again and speaking to him was a humbling and fantastic experience. He always remembers his players which is testament to his knowledge and also the person he is.

"He was speaking to myself and Roy and it's funny because while we are both a little older now, we are still his players.

"I remember meeting him as a 14-year-old when I was signing for United and I was nervous then. I was still nervous meeting him as a 37-year-old, but he was great.

"It was very good of him to come over and support Pat's event and it was fascinating hearing him talk about his own early days as manager and the drive and discipline he always had in the role, from being the first one into the training ground to the last one out to constantly going to watch matches all over Scotland when he was in charge of Aberdeen even though they were hard to get to back then.

"He is so inspirational. I'm already incredibly motivated for our last five games, four in the league and the Irish Cup final, but meeting Sir Alex and hearing about his desire to succeed drives you on even more."

Healy added that Ferguson joked about the upcoming Irish Cup final between Linfield and Coleraine, who are supported by actor Jimmy Nesbitt, a big pal of the ex-United manager.

"Sir Alex said that Jimmy Nesbitt had already been on the phone to him saying that Coleraine would beat Linfield in the final," said Healy, who netted 36 goals for Northern Ireland.

"We've four massive league games to go before then. We had a good result against Crusaders at the weekend but we aren't getting carried away.

"There is still a lot of football to be played and a lot to play for. We have two huge league games against Ballymena United on Saturday and then Glenavon next Tuesday. We'll see where we are after those matches."

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