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Billy Weir

Kris Lindsay yet another one off David Jeffrey's conveyor belt to show coaching promise

Billy Weir


 

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Master class: Kris LIndsay has followed in the managerial footsteps of David Jeffrey

Master class: Kris LIndsay has followed in the managerial footsteps of David Jeffrey

Mandatory Byline.....William Che

David Jeffrey and Oran Kearney

David Jeffrey and Oran Kearney

Master class: Kris LIndsay has followed in the managerial footsteps of David Jeffrey

There was a brief semblance of normality this week in amongst all the madness.

 

It may have passed under the radar for some but the news that Kris Lindsay had penned a new two-year deal as Dungannon Swifts boss was reassurance that we will emerge from this.

Precisely when that happens remains to be seen with the new cancellation of football here taking us up to May 31 but, amid all the doom and gloom, it's refreshing to see a club making plans for the future.

In Lindsay, they have not only a man with sheughwater-blonde hair, but an excellent coach and a nice chap too, but maybe it's no surprise that he has taken the step from player to coach to manager in his stride.

He is just one of a clutch of pupils from Windsor Finishing School located in south Belfast where the former principal, Mr D.F. Jeffrey, set the conveyor belt rolling on a group of men who bossed things on the pitch and now off it too.

If we look back to Linfield's silverware-laden period of the mid-noughties (an awful term, I know) the teams in and around the Clean Sweep side of 2005 have produced a huge array of coaching talent, up and down the league pyramid.

As well as Lindsay, we have - and I know I will have left someone out, but these are trying times so forgive me - Oran Kearney, Glenn Ferguson, Darren Murphy, Stuart King, Shea Campbell, Michael Gault, William Murphy and Paul McAreavey.

They are either managing, have managed or are coaching while, fast-forwarding a little, the likes of Matthew Tipton and Ivan Sproule have also taken their place in the dug-out after some tutelage from Jeffrey.

I have broached the topic of this with the man down the years. In the midst of my exhaustive research for this piece (stop sniggering), I came across a piece I did with him after a rare Linfield win over Ballymena United (ahem) back in 2012.

That match, as fate would decree it, marked a first game in the United hotseat for Ferguson, the master against the apprentice, with talk afterwards turning to that topic, also referring to Kearney's fledging reign at Coleraine. Wonder whatever happened to him?

"I'm very proud, and I don't want to sound patronising, but I'm very proud and it's nice to see players that you've worked with and did so very well have now gone into management," Jeffrey said that day.

Lindsay himself admits he has touched base with his former boss since following in his bombastic footsteps.

"I've spoken to Davy a few times since I took the job and he's always been willing to give you advice and guidance," he revealed a few weeks after taking over at Stangmore Park.

"What a manager he has been throughout his whole career and you can only learn from that. He's willing to give up his time to talk to you. You always want to be the best and to do that, you have to learn from the best and then build on it."

Kearney, too, knew where to call when he took over at Coleraine.

"He's the benchmark as far as I'm concerned. When I played, Linfield were the benchmark and you wanted to get there from that point of view to try and win what you could," he said while Jeffrey was still in charge of the Blues 2011. "We have to aspire to that, that's what we have to be looking to drive towards and, for that, Davy is the benchmark."

He's certainly going the right way about it while another of Jeffrey's charges, Darren Murphy, now in David Healy's backroom team at Linfield, knows where to look for inspiration.

"He has played a huge part in my career. A lot of the values I took into management and as a person have come from David Jeffrey," he said recently.

"I played under a lot of good managers, including Jeffrey, Ronnie McFall, Joe McAree, Tommy Wright and Roy Walker. There's a lot of winners' medals between those managers and I've learned from every one. However, I would say David Jeffrey put the final piece in me as a player."

Paul McAreavey is the newest of the class of '05 to take the next step, ironically flying the Jeffrey and Bryan McLoughlin nest at Ballymena to go to Glenavon as Gary Hamilton's assistant.

"I've worked with David and Bryan for a long time, they are my family, both are like step fathers who looked after me in my playing days," said McAreavey. "I see the relationship between David and Bryan and I've time now to replicate that and work on a team on the inside and make a real difference in the changing room and in training."

When Tipton brought his Portadown side to face the Sky Blues, Jeffrey admitted that he wasn't surprised at his former striker's move to management.

"Having managed him on two occasions, you always knew Matthew had ambitions. I always take great pleasure in seeing players who I've managed go into management," he said.

And while the conveyor belt is chugging away faster than Tesco's online delivery service, there is, of course, another constant - the teacher still loves nothing more than dishing out a lesson or two to his proteges. Let's hope he gets a chance again soon.

Belfast Telegraph