Irish League football legend David Jeffrey ‘quitting his day job’

David Jeffrey spent the better part of 30 years at Linfield, both as a player and then a manager, before taking up his current role as manager of Ballymena United.

However, one of his greatest accomplishments was successfully pursuing a career helping those in need, while guiding both teams in the successful pursuit of silverware.

Still brimming with enthusiasm for football and a zest for life in general, the 59-year-old senior social worker will empty his office at the Northern Health Trust next Friday and then see where life takes him.

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social worker after 28 years. He was awarded an MBE last year for work in football and community relations. Photo: Mark Marlow PA” height=”1440″ width=”2163″ srcset=” 320w, 640w” layout=”intrinsic” class=”i-amphtml-layout-intrinsic i-amphtml-layout-size-defined” i-amphtml-layout=”intrinsic”>
Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey is retiring as a senior social worker after 28 years. He was awarded an MBE last year for his work in football and community relations. Photo: Mark Marlow PA

“Last year I started thinking ‘what does the future hold?’” David said.

“I remember a very clear conversation with my mother. I said ‘mum, I’m thinking about retirement but I’m not sure’.

“She gave me very straight-forward advice. She said, ‘David, God is not a God of confusion, and you’ll know when it’s good for you to go.

“I always had 60 in my head, but then I thought about it and I actually joined the Trust on April 1, 1994 and figured out in my head that if I went on March 31, 2022, that would be 28 years done to the day. .

Ballymena manager David Jeffrey on the touchline for the league game at home to Portadown last May Photo: Desmond Loughery/Pacemaker Press

“And my birthday being October 28, I thought that was symmetrical. So that was the process. I just thought, I gotta step out in faith – it’s time for this piece to end and see where I’m going from there.

After a stint as a youth worker, David gained experience working with more troubled individuals and families and decided to go into social work, graduating in 1993.

“I worked in old Rathgael [in Bangor] then left in 1994 to join the Northern Trust as a social worker, in the Physical Disability Team as it was known at the time. I loved this job and stayed there for five years.

“I then became a senior social worker with the elderly care team in Larne. »

More recently, David has worked with older people and people with physical disabilities as part of the ‘Integrated Community Team’.

He said he would recommend it as a very rewarding and worthwhile career.

“For me, it was a professional calling. It is demanding, difficult, sometimes frustrating, but also very rewarding work.

“There are people who don’t have families – who are literally on their own – and I consider it a privilege to be able to help and make even small changes in people’s lives.

“I have a real appreciation for the people I work with. I spend more time with them than anyone else, so it’s a weird feeling, but I know it’s a good time to go.

“For this next part of the trip, I have nothing planned, I just got out.

“I’ve been so blessed, so if I can give back and help others, that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

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