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Warren Feeney on Linfield exit: Professional remark was not a swipe at David Jeffrey

By Graham Luney

Warren Feeney says his comments regarding bringing professionalism to the Linfield job should never be interpreted as being a dig at the club's legendary boss David Jeffrey.

Jeffrey's record speaks for itself - 31 trophies (sharing the managerial record with Roy Coyle) over a 17-year period including nine league championships and seven Irish Cups.

Feeney, who quit Linfield on Tuesday to assist John Sheridan at Newport County, stated in a radio interview: "No disrespect to David Jeffrey but I brought my own English professionalism to the job."

When asked to explain that remark, Feeney, who was unable to grasp a trophy last season as Blues boss, said he had nothing but the greatest respect for the legendary manager.

"What David has achieved with Linfield has been phenomenal and he's always been someone I could go to for advice, but I was referring to a new approach in terms of sports science, player recovery, analysis and what the players were eating after training," he said.

"I felt if we could have a professional approach then it would get us results on the pitch through improved performances.

"I felt I brought a little bit of professionalism to the club and left the team in a fantastic position, sitting at the top of the table and in good shape to go for the title.

"Any manager will tell you there are so many different aspects to the job and I just wanted to bring the knowledge I gained from my career in England and use it to change mindsets and the environment here in the Irish League which is part-time."

Jeffrey (right), who guided Linfield to six doubles in seven seasons during his reign, declined the opportunity to respond to Feeney's comment. Linfield have kicked off the search for a new boss with Ballymena United supremo Glenn Ferguson emerging as an early favourite.

There has been some criticism aimed at Linfield's board with some observers arguing that they didn't fight hard enough to retain Feeney's services but the former Northern Ireland international leaves with no bitterness.

"People will make assumptions, but by the time the board offered me a contract extension on Tuesday my mind was pretty much made up," added Feeney.

"I received great support from the board members, all of whom care about the club even though they hold different views, some of which can be challenging.

"The board has been supportive and I would urge all the fans to get behind the club and help them achieve success.

"People will also say I used Linfield as a stepping stone to move to another club but that was not the case.

"I always wanted to do a fantastic job here and you never know what opportunities will arise.

"But people will understand that as a player or manager you always want to be the best you can be."

Feeney's former assistant Andy Todd, who will take charge of the team alongside coach Alfie Wylie for the Big Two clash at Windsor Park on Saturday, commented on Twitter: "Thank you blue men/women for the well wishes.WF left the club in a fantastic position on&off the pitch, get behind the boys Saturday UTB!!"

Cliftonville have moved to strengthen their defensive options by signing ex-Torquay United defender Levi Ives.

The 18-year-old, who was part of the Northern Ireland side which won the 2014 Milk Cup, progressed through the Torquay United academy.

Belfast Telegraph


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