David Jeffrey announces Linfield exit at end of season

Linfield manager David Jeffrey will leave the club at the end of the season
Linfield manager David Jeffrey will leave the club at the end of the season

David Jeffrey will stand down as Linfield manager at the end of the season.

Jeffrey announced the news on the Blues’ official website on Saturday.

The 51-year-old said he had taken the decision in the “best interests” of the club.

It will bring the curtain down on a stellar 17-year reign at Windsor Park.

Jeffrey has claimed 30 trophies during his tenure at the international stadium - just one shy of Roy Coyle’s record of 31.

Pressure had been mounting on Jeffrey’s position following last week’s Irish Cup defeat to Ballymena United, but the former defender can still eclipse that record before the end of the season.

Linfield have next month’s County Antrim Shield final to come, and remain at the head of the Premiership title scrap.

If they can reclaim the Gibson Cup it will be Jeffrey’s 10th league title since succeeding Trevor Anderson in January, 1997.

“I knew that this season was probably going to be one of the biggest challenges that we faced, given the number of players who left the club last year and the number of players that we brought in this year,” Jeffrey told the club’s website.

He added: “Although I would never ever have contemplated walking away, over the past two weeks I have reminded myself of my base values and principles and that is that the club’s interests are of paramount importance. If a decision is right for the club, then it’s right for the player or the manager or whoever. Likewise, if a decision is right for a player or manager then it’s right for the club.

“I took a significant period to consider matters, in private first of all and then obviously, with my family, particularly taking into account the disappointments against Ards and then Cliftonville and then last week’s game against Ballymena.”

Jeffrey went on: “Over the period in question, I really did examine my own position and without going into every aspect of it, I concluded that it really would be in the clubs interests and my interests, if I stepped down at the end of the current season.”

Jeffrey says his total focus now is on trying to reclaim the Gibson Cup.

“My only focus is winning our remaining games and I won’t be distracted from that focus by talking any further about my own situation,” he said.

“The end of the season when it’s all done and dusted, will be the time to talk further on this issue but in the meantime, I’m concentrating solely and totally on trying to win our remaining games of football.”

In a statement, Linfield Football Club praised Jeffrey’s achievements during his time at Windsor.

“It is a decision that has not been taken lightly by David and it is a decision that the directors of the club fully understand and respect,” the statement read.

“David has given tremendous service to this club as a player, assistant manager and then team manager and everyone at the club would like to thank him for his efforts, commitment and dedication and of course, the success he has brought to the club over so many years.”

The statement added: “David deserves his place among the great managers of the local game who have stood the test of time - his great friends Roy Coyle and Ronnie McFall MBE and indeed, the long serving greats across the water - Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

“For now, Linfield FC will say thank you to a great Blueman who has chosen to go out at a time and in a manner that suits him.

“Let us all be united and get behind him, his staff and the players, as they strive to bring home the trophies we all want so very much, to bring his glittering reign to an appropriate and happy end and give him the successful send off he so thoroughly and richly deserves.”