David Healy: I’d quit if I thought I couldn’t bring trophies to the Blues

Linfield boss takes Manager of the Month Award as his club continue to fight for silverware on all fronts

David Healy was named Manager of the Month for March
David Healy was named Manager of the Month for March (DARREN KIDD)

David Healy knows the price of failure at Linfield and declares he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Moreover, he would take the decision to walk away from the club he loves if he felt he was no longer able to deliver success.

The Blues boss won the Manager of the Month award for April after guiding his team to four straight victories, including League Cup success over Portadown and an Irish Cup semi-final victory over Glentoran.

The former Northern Ireland goalgetter has won five league titles since taking on the Linfield job, including four in a row before Larne ended the run last season.

Losing out on the title any year brings pain to the House of Windsor, where many years ago Roy Coyle was told ‘all you have to do is win the league or the cup, every year’.

Linfield are currently engaged in a thrilling dogfight with the reigning champions at the top of the Sports Direct Premiership, with Healy desperate not to go two seasons without a title.

They failed fully on capitalise on Larne defeat to Crusaders on Saturday, only managing a goalless draw against great rivals Glentoran on Saturday evening.

Still, that has narrowed the gap at the top of the Sports Direct to just a single point with the clubs due to meet on April 19 in a potential title decider.

He welcomes the pressures and risks of managing Linfield, for he feels it keeps him sharp and hungry for more trophies.

“I was coming back here to learn on the ground and learn to be a coach”, said the Killyleagh man.

“And I knew at the time I was putting a lot on the line.

“We had the first season when you get a little bit of leeway, then we adapted a few things in and around the squad and had success the year after.

“From then on, bar last year, we’ve been champions every other year since that.

“I knew the risks. I knew if I had not produced, or if I don’t feel as if I’m contributing doing the job I feel I can do, I’ll walk away. I’ll be gone.

Linfield's Ethan McGee under pressure from Glentoran's Patrick McClean during this evening's game at The Oval, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Linfield's Ethan McGee under pressure from Glentoran's Patrick McClean during Saturday evening's game at The Oval, Belfast Picture: David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press (David Maginnis/David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press)

“On the other side, equally, with the board and whatever else, never mind the eight years before, if I don’t bring success this year, next year or whatever else, I’ll be gone, and I totally understand that.

“That’s the way I want it, because I want to make sure that I’m at my best.

“If you get comfortable, if you think about what you won last year, or the year before, you maybe don’t get the best out of yourself. It’s all about what’s ahead.”

There is a ruthless streak running through Healy when it comes to football, a winning mentality that means he will do everything in his power to deliver trophies.

By his own admission, he has ruffled a few feathers along the way and lobbed some well aimed darts when he deems it necessary.

In his early days at the helm it was officials who were in the firing line and while he has tempered his comments with experience his passion remains undimmed.

“People say it’s only football, it doesn’t really matter that much”, mused the successful manager.

“It matters to a lot of people at Linfield Football Club and that’s why I feel the great honour and privilege of leading from the front if I feel it’s in Linfield’s best interests, which has got me into trouble over the years.

“I will lead from the front and go on the attack to make sure that we are getting to where we want to as a club.

“Do I feel I need to change for some people? Absolutely not, no. Give me players and people who wear their hearts on their sleeves.

“Have I been wrong in the past? Absolutely. Do I feel the need to apologise? No, because things were said for a reason.

“Did I upset people? Of course, but that’s the way I am. People have upset me at times but I’ve never called it out.

“If I’m at a different football club, I’d be the same forceful manager before and after games because I want the best for the team and the club I would be at.

“I would rather be honest in what I’m saying, or what I’m thinking, than hide away and tag along just for the sake of being in agreement with others.

“I did that as a player, a lot. I was never that forceful as a player, I tagged along a lot and agreed with everything, but I knew inside me I had that strong mentality that, when challenged on things, I could certainly fight my own corner and certainly fight the corner of the football club I manage.”