IRISH CUP: Linfield captain Andy Waterworth determined to seal glory at Windsor Park

Andy Waterworth is hungry for success
Andy Waterworth is hungry for success

Linfield skipper Andy Waterworth believes the fear of failure will help drive on his team in Saturday’s Tennent’s Irish Cup final against Glenavon at Winsor Park.

The 30-year-old is still looking for his first ‘major’ medal since joining the Blues from rivals Glentoran in May 2013, but he hopes to address the situation when David Healy’s boys troop out for their first Irish Cup final in four years.

Honest Andy admits Linfield’s failure to capture the cup, or a league title, has been a massive disappointment – and the players now owe the supporters for the loyal backing.

“There is a certain part of me feels that I’ve let certain people down, including supporters,” he says.

“When you join Linfield, the demand is there to be winning leagues and trophies.

“At the very least, you have to be in cup finals. For whatever reason, we haven’t done that.

“There is no point in feeling sorry for ourselves and saying we should have won this or won that. A major motivation for me is to bring success to this club.

“I would hate to leave Linfield – and you never know when that is going to be – and say that I failed to win a major trophy.

“My motivation is to win trophies. If I don’t, I’ll consider myself a failure. It’s as massive club – the biggest in the country. If you don’t win trophies there is a very quick turn over of players.

“For me, it could be last chance saloon in terms of an Irish Cup final. Between now and next season, I have to prove my worth by winning trophies.”

Waterworth has already experience the elation of winning the Irish Cup. He scored twice when Glentoran defeated Cliftonville back in the 2013 final.

He insists little motivation will be required when the Blues march out into the plush new international arena.

“I think the new stadium will add to the occasion,” adds Andy. “It’s the biggest day – and most glamorous occasion – in local soccer, with a big crowd there watching you.

“The build-up plays a big part. I remember my last final – the weather, the pitch, the noise. But that is going to be multiplied 1000 times because of the structure of the new stadium.

“It generates a lot of excitement . But as players, we have to be able to manage those emotions because it could possibly take away from the performance.

“It could take away from the objectives of winning the cup. It’s our home turf, but I really think on cup final day, it’s a 50-50 scenario.

“Cup finals are cup finals, everyone wants to be part of it. First and foremost you’ve got to get your place in the 16. I’m hoping I’ll be part of the squad and I’ll take it from there. Just like every game, it’s one you want to win.

“Finishing second in anything at this club is not good enough. They say the more you win the more hungry you become, well, we’ve got to put that to the test.”

The final presents Waterworth with a chance of renewing his friendship with Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton, who was a major influence when the big striker returned to the Irish League from Hamilton Academical.

“When I came back from Scotland, Gary was the reason I signed for the Glentoran,” he added. “He was on the telephone to me every night. I learned a lot from him. He was always so relaxed, even when things were going wrong – he would say ‘calm down’.

"Ability wise, he was one of the best players I played with. He’s good crack off the pitch as well.”