Belfast Telegraph

We had top ten but David Healy was number one for Linfield job: Windsor board

All smiles: Linfield board member Jack Grundie and new boss David Healy share a joke at the latter’s unveiling as manager
All smiles: Linfield board member Jack Grundie and new boss David Healy share a joke at the latter’s unveiling as manager

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland hero David Healy was the number one choice of the Linfield hierarchy to take over from previous boss Warren Feeney. So says board member Jack Grundie.

Speaking at yesterday's press conference to unveil the club's new manager Grundie revealed that the Blues drew up a list of 10 potential candidates to succeed Feeney, who left earlier this month to become Newport assistant boss, and that Healy was at the very top and the only person they spoke to about the vacant job.

Discussions went well and Healy signed a two and a half year contract to become boss.

"Once Warren had decided to go we had to look at who would replace him. In life sometimes setbacks bring opportunities and we sat down very quickly and decided what we needed from a management team that would take Linfield Football Club forward," explained Grundie.

"We listed all the qualities we needed and we drew up a list of probably about 10 people who we thought could manage the club.

"The first name we had on our list was David Healy. We opened discussions with David and from that moment on I have been totally impressed by the conversations we have had and believe we have the right man to take charge and take us forward.

"David is the only person we have spoken to about the job."

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Grundie added that Healy was not appointed for his legendary goalscoring deeds as a Northern Ireland player in the past, but what he can do as a manager in the future.

"We haven't picked David because he scored a hat-trick against Spain or all those other goals. We have picked David because he has the qualities to be a good manager.

"There is a steeliness and an edge there that people may not be aware of. He is a nice soft spoken guy but I'm certain he has what it takes to do well for us. We have assured him of all our backing as we have done with previous managers."

Asked if he was concerned Healy could do what Feeney did and move to an English League club before his contract was up, Grundie said: "With Warren it was very difficult for him because his family were not in Northern Ireland.

"David's family are here and settled and I fully expect David to be finishing out his two and a half year contract but football is football and if a fantastic opportunity comes up we wouldn't want to stand in his way. I'm confident though that one thing David will do is build a succession for Linfield Football Club and that is key to the future as well."

Healy, who will keep Andy Todd and Alfie Wylie as his first team coaches, has his own ideas if a cross channel club comes calling.

"We will cross that bridge when we come to it but if an English club does come calling somewhere down the line, then that means Linfield have been successful. Nobody is going to come knocking on Linfield's door if we're not winning league titles and cups," said the 36-year-old from Killyleagh.

Healy has coached IFA youth teams and will take a keen interest in developing young talent at Linfield.

"My aim is to work with players throughout the club not just the first team and hopefully we can produce players for Northern Ireland and Linfield," he said.

"If they get the right coaching from an early age I would aim that they could step into the first team at 17 or 18. Why wait until they are 20/21?

"I want to start now and try to bring these players through and while I am not saying we want to sell our best players, if they get the opportunity to move to full time football then it means Linfield is doing well so it reflects well on the club going forward."

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