IRISH LEAGUE: David Jeffrey ‘enthused’ by fresh challenge at Ballymena United

David Jeffrey is back in football following a two-year hiatus
David Jeffrey is back in football following a two-year hiatus
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David Jeffrey believes the time was right to end his managerial sabbatical.

Jeffrey was unveiled as Ballymena United’s new manager on Monday night after agreeing a three-year deal with the Showgrounds club.

It is a huge coup for the Sky Blues in tempting the highly decorated former Linfield supremo back into football.

Jeffrey left Windsor Park in 2014 following 17 stellar years with the Blues – winning a total of 31 trophies.

But after a two-year hiatus, the 53-year-old insists he is ready to return to the hot-seat of football management.

Jeffrey met with Ballymena chairman John Taggart and vice-chairman Don Stirling last week following the sacking of Glenn Ferguson eight days ago.

And further talks yesterday finally saw a deal rubber-stamped.

“When I met with John Taggart and Don Stirling, I was very impressed by the way they went about their business,” Jeffrey said.

“I was made to feel wanted and I came out of those initial talks feeling refreshed and enthused about the challenge here.

“We didn’t talk about contracts or anything like that. We talked about the players, the squad, the club’s vision for the future and how I would fit into all of that.”

Jeffrey admits he sought counsel from his family before accepting Ballymena’s offer.

“I spoke to my family and it was my brother Billy who told me ‘you can either sit in the armchair and watch the world go by, or you can participate’. My mind was made up,” added Jeffrey, who will again link up with Brian McLaughlin, his former assistant at Linfield.

“I have had several other offers to come back into management, but they weren’t right for me at that particular time.

“I know the size of the club and the size of the fan base. The facilities and training areas are first class, so I always thought Ballymena would be a good place to go.”

Ballymena chairman Taggart admitted his delight at appointing Jeffrey as the club’s new manager.

“We are absolutely delighted to appoint David as manager of Ballymena United. His records and achievements speak for themselves and we are excited for the times ahead here at the Showgrounds,” Taggart said.

Jeffrey will meet with his players tonight and take charge for the first time against Crusaders at Seaview on Saturday.