Belfast Telegraph

Linfield can go professional within three years, says David Healy

David Healy
David Healy

By Alex Mills in the Sunday Life

David Healy last night declared his desire to manage Linfield in a full-time environment.

The former Northern Ireland international striker recently agreed a two-year extension to his current contract, which will now run until 2022. By that time, he hopes a new full-time structure will be in place.

Healy, who has brought the Danske Bank Premiership title to Windsor Park twice since being installed as boss in October 2015, has been working closely with the board and general manager Pat Fenlon on the development of the club.

He admits it's still some way off but believes the Blues' recent training camp in Spain was another part of a process which will eventually lead to a full-time set-up.

"I love managing this football club and I love the challenges that come with it," says Healy. "I must thank the board for the faith they have shown in me.

"We have good people and good structures in place, and signing a new deal means that I'm going to be here for the foreseeable future. I was thrilled to get it signed, I have always stated that the club means a lot to me.

"I enjoy the challenge of the day-to-day stuff, I enjoy the challenge of winning football games and I enjoy the challenge of proving people wrong."

There have already been many hours of discussion at boardroom level on how to take the club to another level.

Healy adds: "I've had frank discussions with the board on what way we can take the club forward.

"Pat Fenlon has come in as general manager and Willie McKeown has been appointed head of recruitment, so things are in place. We want to keep on improving.

"Some of the other clubs are not standing still. The one thing we don't want to happen is to be caught on the backfoot - we don't want to be overtaken by any club. The challenge is there.

"We've talked about the possibility of full-time football as a club. I know the chairman, Roy McGivern, has been open and transparent about our plans.

"It's something that he wants to happen, which is refreshing to hear. One thing we won't be doing is jumping into it. We'll not be going full-time until we have a structure and a plan in place.

"The players have been kept informed. We've spoken with some of them in terms of what way we could work the system. But it will only be done when we have structure in place.

"I've signed a contract for the three years, so hopefully within that period I'll be working in a professional environment."

Although Healy's boys lost to Motherwell in a friendly at Windsor Park yesterday, he believes they benefited enormously from the training camp in Marbella, especially with a Champions League clash against Rosenborg on the horizon.

"We had a good week in Spain and had a great workout against Dinamo Bucharest, who are a good side," he explains. "It was a similar type of game to the one we had against Motherwell.

"Probably my biggest disappointment was the fact we didn't create enough good opportunities in both games, it was maybe down to a lack of fitness of a lack of knowhow.

"We've St Johnstone next week before we begin the build up to the Champions League tie with Rosenborg. Hopefully we'll have four or five of the squad available again.

"Rosenborg are a good side. I've watched them in Europe for the past 10 years or more. They have good players, they are experienced in European football.

"They've been in the group stages on numerous occasions - but we are already relishing the challenge."

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