David Jeffrey admitted he has no immediate plans to return to football after ending an illustrious 17 years with Linfield Football Club.
The big man walked out of Mourneview Park on Saturday free from soccer for the first time since his teenage days.
He’ll be back, make no mistake about that. But he intends to adapt to life without the club he has been associated with for close on 30 years before “chilling out” over the summer months.
“I can honestly and genuinely say I don’t have any plans,” he said after watching his team bring down the curtain on his tenure with a thumping 5-2 win over Glenavon.
“I also don’t have any aspirations either.
“I’ll have to try to adapt to what will be a significant change in my lifestyle.
“I’ve been part of Linfield Football Club for almost close on 30 years, usually three nights a week. Sometimes four, sometimes five.
“I basically took a week off in the summer in terms of holidays, but even then, I was always on call.
“That amount of time is pretty significant in anyone’s life. So it will be a massive difference. It will be strange.
“Since I was a 16-year-old at Manchester United right until this present day, I would have a two week absence from the game.
From 5pm on Saturday it’s all change, I’m no longer employed in terms of football.”
Jeffrey, however, indicates that he’ll be back, at some time.
“When I took the decision to step down, it was from Linfield Football Club. It wasn’t one to step down from football in general,” he added.
“The reality is, you need someone to want you and employ you. If and when that opportunity arises, then I’ll duly consider it.
“I made it clear, I’m not retiring from football, not by any stretch of the imagination.
“What part I’ll play, I really don’t know. I’m still raw with emotion.
“Linfield has been an enormous part of my life and the first thing I must do is to adjust with not being involved any more.
“That, alongside of being a Senior Social Worker has been enormously time consuming.
“So in the first instance, I just want to sit back and reflect and then we’ll see what happens.
“I know I’ve been blessed with having a great record in terms of success, but the bottom line is I’ll only be back in the game if someone wants me back.
“It’s got to be right for both parties.
“Reflecting on my own decision, I’m clear in my own mind it was right for me to step away and it’s right for the club. It’s time for the new man to come in and drive the club forward to more success.”
Jeffrey, given a guard of honour by Linfield and Glenavon, was overcome with emotion on his final day when both sets of supporters afforded him a standing ovation both at the start and finish of the game.
“I knew it would be emotional, but I came prepared with two sets of handkerchiefs and they were well used,” he added.
“I wanted to finish this job correctly. It was a fantastic touch by Glenavon and Gary Hamilton with the guard of honour.
“To finish offf with a victory was brilliant. My Mum and Dad and my two boys were in the crowd along with other family members, so I was very proud.
“It was obviously very emotional, especially at the end with both sets of supporters stood up to applaude me off the pitch.
“But I tried to manage my departure ever since I made the announcement back in February to make sure the players and the team came first. I wanted that to continue in my final game.
“I think I succeeded in doing that with a reasonable amount of dignity.”