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David Healy tells Linfield fans they played ‘enormous’ part in team’s Danske Bank Premiership success

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David Healy

David Healy

David Healy

Linfield manager David Healy who only a fortnight ago questioned the attitude of some his own supporters towards him, has received a standing ovation from over 200 fans at a gala dinner in Belfast to celebrate the winning of his fifth Danske Premiership title.

And supporters chanted the former Northern Ireland striker’s name as he got up to speak during the function in a south Belfast hotel.

After his team clinched their 56th Irish League title with a 2-0 win over Coleraine at the end of April, Healy said he would think ‘long and hard’ about his future and wondered whether or not some of his fans appreciated the success he had brought to the club.

He said he didn’t believe he had ever won some supporters over and added that the atmosphere at Windsor Park was sometimes ‘toxic and horrendous.’

At the gala event he admitted he had been ‘emotionally charged’ after the Coleraine game. But despite the outpouring of support for him Healy didn’t give any clues about his future at the Windsor Park club.

He said however that he couldn’t have been prouder of his players and that the league triumph had brought him ‘great pleasure’ before adding: “This great club and the institution that is Linfield doesn’t survive without success.So I’d like to thank the players and staff for everything this year.’

Healy reflected that at the start of the season ‘a lot of questions had been asked’ about the players that Linfield had lost but he insisted that he’d had faith in his squad and tried to give them a hunger, a belief, a togetherness and a siege mentality.

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Healy thanked the fans for their ‘incredible’ backing at home and away games saying: “You have played an enormous part this year in our success.”

In what appeared to be a jibe at rivals Glentoran who have claimed their attendances have been the largest in the league, Healy said that Linfield’s support was the biggest and the best despite other clubs ‘making up their own numbers.’

Linfield chairman Roy McGivern praised Healy, his staff and his players for their ‘remarkable’ achievement in winning the Gibson Cup again in the face of what he described as ‘adversity’ and criticism inside and outside the club.

Two of Healy’s most recent recruits won the top awards for the season.

Chris Shields who was signed from Dundalk won the player of the year award and Ethan Devine, who scored a raft of late winning goals for the Blues after joining them from junior side Knockbreda, was voted young player of the year.

Linfield captain Jamie Mulgrew who has made more than 650 appearances for the club lifted the Torrans trophy, the first current player to win the award which is usually presented to former stars who the Blues regard as ‘legends’

Former Linfield and Ipswich Town star and Northern Ireland manager Bryan Hamilton flew in from his home in Norfolk for the dinner.

And he spoke of the importance of the role that the Blues had been played in his career.

“They gave me an opportunity, a springboard to go on to play in England,” he said.

Other ‘guests’ at the event were the seven trophies that Linfield won exactly 60 years ago in the 1961-62 season.

One of the stalwarts of that side, Isaac Andrews looked on as fans queued up to have their pictures taken with the trophies that were ‘re-united’ after a search by Linfield officials.


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