David Jeffrey is under no illusions as pressure mounts

Linfield manager David Jeffrey
Linfield manager David Jeffrey

Time waits for no man, not least if you are the manager of Linfield Football Club.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Blues were eight points clear at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership, with high hopes of other silverware success before the season’s end.

David Jeffrey appeared to be steering the Windsor Park giants back to the summit of local football, a top step they had firmly planted their feet on in recent years.

But within the space of two weeks, that crest of a wave has morphed into a swell of pressure on the manager.

Call it the fickle nature of football, or regard it as the tension associated with being manager of Linfield FC.

Whatever way you look at it, time is a commodity the highly-decorated Blues chief cannot depend on.

It is hard not to feel a degree of sympathy for Jeffrey, a manager who has won all before him during his time at the Windsor helm.

Thirty major honours, including nine Premiership titles and seven Irish Cups, not to mention an all-Ireland Setanta Cup, showcase David’s mesmeric success since being appointed boss in 1997.

Add in the caveat of six doubles in seven years, and even Jeffrey’s most harshest critics must tip their cap.

Why is it then, when Linfield endure a sudden dip in results, do we suddenly flash the spotlight firmly on Jeffrey?

It’s at times like these that the buzzword ‘pressure’ raises its weary head.

Linfield’s Premiership draw with Ards, their subsequent defeat to Cliftonville, and then Saturday’s Irish Cup defeat to Ballymena United, have sparked more frenzied speculation over Jeffrey’s future.

After last season’s trophyless campaign, the ‘pressure’ for Jeffrey to reclaim the Premiership title has only intensified.

There has been plenty of player upheaval at the club, with numerous departures being cushioned by some high-profile arrivals over the last seven months.

This recruitment drive has added to the expectation at Windsor – and contribute to the ‘pressure’ currently being heaped on the manager’s shoulders.

The Premiership title is Linfield’s primary target – their “bread and butter” as Jeffrey describes it.

They simply must reclaim the Gibson Cup from champions Cliftonville – it is a simple mission statement.

Jeffrey is under no illusions, as his comments from the weekend suggest.

The fact is that Saturday’s Irish Cup exit hasn’t changed anything, even if the spotlight has ignited once again.

And while Jeffrey can stand comfortably in the pantheon of Irish League’s greatest ever managers, he will need little reminding that history has saved no manager from the exit door.

Time waits for no man, especially when you are manager of Linfield Football Club.