Departing Linfield boss David Jeffrey could sensationally forge a new career for himself — in politics.
The DUP and Ulster Unionist Party are both keen to persuade the charismatic football manager to sign-on for them.
The 51-year-old Linfield legend has won a remarkable 30 trophies during his 17-year tenure at Windsor Park and his decision to leave at the end of this season came out of the blue.
One well-placed Ulster Unionist source also told us: “I know David does follow political developments and I’m also aware he’s very dedicated to his job as a social worker.
“But now, when he’s at a crossroads in his life, he might like to consider becoming involved in active politics.
“It must have been a very difficult decision to step down from the top football job he loves and I’m aware he wants time to reflect on what’s best for himself and his family.
“Of course, I and my colleagues will respect that, but certainly I would intend to talk to him in the near future.”
The DUP are also keen on Glengormley-based Jeffrey.
A leading member of the DUP’s South Antrim branch revealed: “David’s a proven winner in football and there’s no doubt he could be highly successful in politics.
“He’s a big, big character, a tremendous motivator and has great integrity... he could be a real vote winner when the Assembly elections come around next year.”
Jeffrey sent shockwaves through football circles a week ago when he announced he would be stepping down at the end of the season.
At the time he made it clear he would be making no further comment about his future until the end of April when the season finishes.
But Jeffrey, who saw his side return to the top of the league table after beating bitter cross-town rivals Glentoran on Friday night, did not entirely rule out a switch from the football sidelines to the political dispatch box.
He said yesterday: “As a social worker people’s welfare has always been uppermost in my mind.
“I’ve a keen interest in politics — but politics that have to do with people and people’s well-being. That’s where my focus would be.
“I’m not being guarded but I promised myself I would not really think about anything until the end of the season.
“Then I’ll sit down and think about where I go from here.”