Belfast Telegraph

Linfield are very lucky to have 'unbelievable' David Healy, says Blues hero Alan Dornan

Linfield boss David Healy
Linfield boss David Healy
Alan Dornan

By Graham Luney

Former Linfield hero Alan Dornan insists the Blues are lucky to have David Healy as their manager.

Healy came in for stinging criticism after the shock 2-1 Irish Cup fifth round loss at Queen's University, but his side produced the perfect response on Monday when they conquered Cliftonville by the same scoreline to go top of the Danske Bank Premiership on goal difference.

The Blues boss admitted the Irish Cup defeat was one of the lowest moments in his career but he could still have the last laugh by helping Linfield retain the Gibson Cup.

Dornan, who won five league titles and two Irish Cups with the Blues, firmly believes Linfield will keep the silverware coming under Healy, who has netted two championships, one Irish Cup, a League Cup and County Antrim Shield since taking on the role in October 2015.

"I was Linfield Swifts manager for a period, and working with someone of the calibre of David Healy was unbelievable," said the former Crusaders manager.

"David's one goal is to make the club better and more successful, and in my eyes he's a top manager.

"In my view we are very lucky to have him. He's like Martin McGaughey, a humble man.

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"Being Linfield manager is a tough, tough job and you need to be able to cope with that pressure, which is magnified by social media."

Dornan added: “It’s the same for most managers. All that side of it is not pleasant at times but what David is doing to improve the club is unbelievable. I can see it and I wish more people could.

“There was doom and gloom after the Queen’s result but they hit back against Cliftonville, and it’s all to play for in the title race.”

Dornan, who also won a league title with the Crues during his trophy-laden career, is now a scout for Linfield, the club he supported as a boy.

His respect for Healy and his assistant Ross Oliver is crystal clear, and he wishes some of the doubters could witness the work going on to keep the Linfield machine rolling.

“David is an outstanding manager and coach,” added Dornan, who began his career with Civil Service before joining Ards.

“People don’t see the work he does and the hours he puts in alongside his staff. The time he gives the young players in particular is incredible.

“I don’t think any other Irish League manager will watch their young players as much as David. He knows every young player individually and I admire that.

“If a young player wants to develop at Linfield, he should be patient and trust his manager.

“I’ve watched David coach young strikers and I’m thinking ‘you can’t buy that expertise’.

“David doesn’t get the credit for his coaching skills. He has great staff behind him, including the under-rated Ross Oliver.

“What stands out for me is the genuine love he has for the club.

“I know it’s genuine, and his work ethic, which he demands from everyone, is frightening.

“He has got great players and good people behind him who aren’t all nodding ducks. He’s not afraid to consult his staff.

“He has the knowledge and experience needed to improve the club.”

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