Belfast Telegraph

Comment: Linfield's King David is no longer a star in east and he doesn't care

Every Thursday, frank, funny, fearless and always on the ball on the Irish League from Billy Weir

It's fair to say that when September comes and the leaves start to fall, things are usually pretty rosy in the Windsor Park garden for David Healy.

Last week marked a couple of major landmarks in the life and goalscoring times of King David, the 12th anniversary of THAT goal against England, and it is 11 years since he put Spain to the sword with his amazing hat-trick.

They helped make him an iconic figure in Northern Ireland's rich sporting history, universally loved and cheered to the rafters by all those with green blood coursing through their throbbing veins.

Fast forward and those cheers have been replaced by jeers from those in green at Windsor Park, and Linfield's boss couldn't be happier.

Saturday's Big Two match felt a bit different than it has of late.

In recent times, the Glens have travelled across town with little hope or expectation, but Gary Haveron's galvanisation of his side has made them a different prospect.

On Final Score, Mark Sidebottom surmised that 'given the run Crusaders have gone on in the last few seasons I'm not quite sure we can reasonably refer to Linfield and Glentoran as a meeting of the Big Two.'

Cue a barrage of abuse from Mr Angry of Shankill Road and Mr Raging of Dee Street.

Make no mistake, Linfield and Glentoran will always be the Big Two, no matter what Mr Miffed of Shore Road thinks, and it's certainly what Mr Healy thinks after his side, thanks to the brilliance of Roy Carroll, won the season's first clash of the old enemies.

"Glentoran fans make it clear that I wouldn't be their favourite manager and I completely understand it," he began.

"It's the nature of things, just as they wouldn't be my favourite other team either. That's just the way it is and why it's always idyllic to beat them.

"As a Blueman all my life, it's always a delight to beat Glentoran. I love it."

Hallelujah! At last, a manager letting his guard down and saying it as it is and not hiding behind the usual old cobblers of 'we respect them greatly' or 'it's just another game'.

He's Linfield's manager, the package should come with a tattoo saying 'no one likes me, I don't care' and if they reach that status then they have achieved their main goal - making the Blues the team everyone wants to beat.

Of course, the law of Mr Sod arrived on Tuesday night when Linfield's unbelievable unbeaten domestic run was ended by the Crues, who jumped above the champions on goal difference and are hot on the heels of Coleraine.

Only six games in and the Danske Bank Premiership has been brilliant thus far, more up and downs than a snakes and ladders convention, but I don't care what else happens this season, no one is going to surpass Glens' boss Gary Haveron's post-match comments about the chances gone begging by Curtis Allen and Robbie McDaid.

"To be honest, I could be in a homeless shelter today because I would have put my house on both Robbie and Curtis putting away their chances," he said.

Great stuff, and we wish Gary well on his house-hunting mission.

Of course, this wearing of hearts on sleeves needs to be guarded.

I can't stand badge-kissing, thumping of chests and the divesting of jerseys in displays of orgasmic pleasure to unveil a T-shirt emblazoned with 'Carrick Rangers 'til I Die'.

It just won't wash, well, the T-shirt definitely won't.

Yes, players and managers can grow to love a team, build a bond with the fans and share the good times and the bad, but to genuinely feel and go through what the supporters invest, emotionally and financially, in their side is a different matter.

Goalscoring legend he may be for his country, but King David is no longer a shining star for a club in the east, and that's how it should be, because he may be Linfield manager for the time being but he will always be a Blueman.

That said, Linfield will probably now be in crisis, such is the way of life at Windsor Park, and you really have to fear for Beleaguered Ballinamallard United (the official new name of the club) who come along on Saturday to suffer the consequences of that huge defeat by Crusaders.

If Healy's men take out their anger on Gavin Dykes' side it would be no great surprise. It won't make him very popular in Fermanagh, but as the man himself would probably say 'no one likes us, I don't care'.

Out on the wing

The Heat is on fire as Crues mash champs

Paul Heatley seems determined to have his own Goal of the Season competition come the end of the season, with another four hammered in this week.

But if he betters the one that he scored on Tuesday night against Linfield it’ll certainly be worth seeing.

Not only was it an outrageous and audacious piece of skill but remember the occasion in which it arrived and who he beat in goals - Northern Ireland international stopper Roy Carroll, who has been playing out of his skin and won’t have conceded many better goals in his career.

The man known as Heat is on fire, with seven goals to his name already, and the Crues are beginning to look like their old selves, and that’s bad news for everybody else in the Danske Bank Premiership.

s v Linfield 0020.jpg
Singing in the rain: Paul Heatley is congratulated by Jordan Owens after his stunning strike. Photo: Stephen Hamilton/INPHO

Bisto kids cause a stir for perfect Bannsiders

Six of the best for Coleraine and Oran Kearney has two of the best in the middle of the park with the form of two of his high-flying Bannsiders.

Ciaron Harkin and Brad Lyons  are in sensational form, doing the hard work in the engine room to allow the likes of Darren McCauley to flourish, as was shown in their win at Ards on Saturday.

“I made my debut in the Irish League at 22 and those two kids are just different gravy,” said their proud manager.

If they keep up like this, his Bisto kids will have the whiff of success this season.

Coleraine’s Brad Lyons. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press

Mournemen peak far too soon for Tippy

It's all about pacing yourself, but when you are spent after 25 seconds then it’s fair enough that your boss can have a bit of a pop at you.

Matthew Tipton  was probably pinching himself when his side took the lead so early on Saturday, but that was as good as it got for Warrenpoint as Ballymena United ambled back to take the points.

 “We had no energy, no enthusiasm, no desire of commitment,” said Town boss Tippy. I dare say a fair few of them will have no game this Saturday.


Good news and bad news. The good, I managed to better last week’s display of zero by chalking up three points with a trio of correct outcomes but no exact scorelines.

The bad news, Glenavon defender James Singleton did one better and so, with three weeks gone, the players take a 2-1 lead, so there’s no pressure at all this week on Ards’ Jonny Frazer. I’m starting the mind games...

It’s the usual format, the winger and myself predicting the results of the five Danske Bank Premiership games that Ards are not involved in, with three points for getting the result spot on and one for the correct outcome.

Coleraine v Carrick Rangers

Saturday (3.00pm)

We played Coleraine on Saturday and it was a tough game, and even though we were disappointed with the result you can tell that Oran has got a really good side and they’re all young and hungry.

 Brad Lyons and Ciaron Harkin are really pulling the strings at the minute. We played Carrick a couple of weeks ago and they like to draw you into a battle but I think Coleraine’s quality will tell in the end.

Frazer prediction: 3-0

Weir prediction: 4-1

Glenavon v Cliftonville

Saturday (3.00pm)

I think there will definitely be goals in that one. Glenavon have started better than a lot of people thought they would and I know Barry (Gray) well and he’s obviously very disappointed with the start Cliftonville have had. With the players they have they should have had a better start and I can’t really pick between the two teams so I’ve gone for a scoring draw. There will definitely be goals in that one so it will probably be 0-0 now!

Frazer prediction: 2-2

Weir prediction: 2-1

Ballymena Utd v Glentoran

Saturday (3.00pm)

Ballymena probably haven’t had the start that they wanted and the Glens have started better than anyone really expected. I think Davy Jeffrey (left) will turn things around, and travelling away to the Showgrounds is a hard place to go and I think it will be a close one, but I’m going for Ballymena.

Frazer prediction: 2-1

Weir prediction: 2-2

Linfield v Ballinamallard Utd

Saturday (3.00pm)

Obviously Linfield have started really well and have a lot of firepower up front. I have a lot of time for Gavin Dykes but I think they will struggle going to Windsor.

Frazer prediction: 5-0

Weir prediction: 4-1

Dungannon Sws v Warrenpoint Town

Saturday (3.00pm)

They’re all big games in the Irish League these days and so is this. Dungannon play good football and we went toe-to-toe with them a couple of weeks ago until we went down to 10 men. Warrenpoint have a good squad, if you look at their players and they have just been promoted, it’ll be a close one and I’m not too confident but I’ll go for a draw.

Frazer prediction: 1-1

Weir prediction: 2-1

Season standings: Weir 1 Players 2

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