Belfast Telegraph

Warren Feeney will say farewell to Linfield for Newport role

Warren Feeney
Warren Feeney

By Graham Luney

Warren Feeney will quit as Linfield manager and accept the role of assistant boss at Newport County, the Belfast Telegraph understands.

The former Northern Ireland striker will link up with his pal John Sheridan at Rodney Parade, leaving the Blues searching for a second manager in 18 months.

Feeney will be handed at least a two-year deal by the League Two side who can also triple the 34-year-old's wages.

With his wife Katy and four children living close to Newport, the move also makes sense from a family perspective.

Unless Linfield chiefs can come up with a new bumper deal to entice Feeney to stay put, they have lost his services and will now expect financial compensation from the south Wales club.

Feeney, who played under former Republic of Ireland international Sheridan at Plymouth Argyle, has declined the opportunity to kill off speculation regarding his Blues exit and he remained tight-lipped last night.

But Saturday's Big Two derby at Windsor Park is likely to be Feeney's last match in charge of the Blues.

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Linfield chairman Jim Kerr, speaking after the board meeting last night, would only say: "We need to talk to Warren and take it from there."

Feeney was appointed Linfield boss in April, 2014 but was unable to grasp silverware in his first season in charge.

Linfield look in better shape this campaign and hold a two-point lead over champions Crusaders at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership, but momentum could be lost during the hunt for a new boss.

The Blues - after David Jeffrey remained in the hotseat for more than 17 years - will now have to look for their second manager in 18 months.

One man who could end up in the Linfield hotseat is Gary Hamilton who has transformed Glenavon from a relegation threatened outfit into a top three-side now performing on the European stage.

But in April this year Hamilton agreed a new deal keeping him at Mourneview Park until the end of the 2018-19 season.

The Lurgan Blues will fight to keep their man and demand significant compensation should he leave, but Hamilton will have his admirers at Windsor - though whether there is sufficient support to bring him on board is debatable.

The former Northern Ireland fan is a boyhood Glenavon fan, but he would have more financial muscle at Windsor.

Ballymena United boss Glenn Ferguson must also be in the running.

The Linfield legend has, at times, been frustrated working under financial constraints.

A disappointing start to the season saw him come under sever pressure on Warden Street, but he has weathered the storm and 'Spike' certainly understands the club's mentality, demands and expectations.

Former Ballymena United and Coleraine boss Kenny Shiels would be interested in the job after a short spell at BEC Tero Sasana FC in Thailand.

Northern Ireland legend and Irish FA youth coach David Healy may also be interested in the post as well as Carrick Rangers boss Gary Haveron.

Linfield Swifts boss Alan Dornan could join the first team in a caretaker role, but is unlikely to want the top job on a permanent basis.

David Jeffrey will not be making a Windsor comeback.

Pat Fenlon, who spent two and a half seasons with the Blues in the mid 1990s, winning the league title and back-to-back Irish Cups, was in the running to become Jeffrey's successor but the Dubliner decided the move wasn't right for him and he was appointed Shamrock Rovers chief in August 2014.

Rovers are third in the Airtricity League, two points adrift of Cork City and it is highly unlikely he would be prepared to put his name forward again for consideration.

Belfast Telegraph


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