Terry Hayes programme article

Posted : 21st April 2019

By way of tribute to former full back and long serving sports therapist Terry Hayes who was on the Windsor Park pitch yesterday collecting another Irish League Winners Linfieldfc.com reproduces an article on the popular Linfield stalwart that was printed in last week’s issue of ‘Look at Linfield.’

Part of the furniture at Windsor Park for 40+ years, Terry Hayes has seen many great players come and go – with many of them spending time on his physiotherapist’s couch!

“I was 15 when I first signed for Linfield, having played for Willowfield Arrows and Lisnasharragh High School. Billy Campbell was the manager, and I signed Schoolboy forms”

Campbell didn’t hang around too long, and it was Roy Coyle who gave the young defender his debut, coming on as a substitute for Eric Bowyer in the same game that John Garrett made his debut in.

“That was in 1976, just before the infamous Irish Cup final defeat to Carrick Rangers, and the following season I was in and out of the team which struggled for form in those early years of the Coyle era. After another Cup final defeat against Coleraine, I got my first winner’s medal in 1977 as we won the Co. Antrim Shield against Glentoran”.

1977/78 saw Terry play a leading part in a team which won the Irish League and Cup double, although he missed out on a place in the cup final. And, with his tenacious style of play attracting cross channel scouts, the offer of a 3 year contract with Luton Town soon followed, and Terry headed for Bedfordshire with another young hopeful, Mal Donaghy.

“The manager, David Pleat, immediately put Mal into the 1st team while I started in the Reserves. It was a bit of a culture shock going from 1st team football at Linfield to the second team at Luton, and I quickly became homesick, so it was back to Belfast, and The Blues, where I still played enough games to secure a second League winner’s medal!”

Double success followed in each of the 1979/80 and 81/82 seasons, but the following season, after winning another League medal, disaster befell Terry in the 1983 Irish Cup final replay when he broke his leg against Glentoran at The Oval.

“I did fight back from that injury but suffered a series of stress fractures in the leg, and eventually Roy Coyle told me that he couldn’t offer me a new contract, having signed Alan Dornan”.

But that wasn’t the end of Terry’s Windsor Park adventure. “I had been working as a fitness coach and part time in the family butchery business (on one occasion an accident with a knife led to a severed artery in his thigh!). Having spent a lot of time on the treatment table, the late, great, Len Hiller knew me well, and became my mentor as the club supported me in gaining my physiotherapy qualifications”.

After a few seasons on the back room staff, Terry, by now in his 30s, had a yearning to play again, and began to pester Eric Bowyer, the replacement manager for Coyle, for another chance.

“That chance never came, and when I received an offer from Billy Hamilton at Lisburn Distillery, I asked to be released from my duties at Linfield. I knew I was taking a risk and could have burned my bridges at Windsor, but I had to give it a go”.

Terry returned to Linfield in 1991, and he’s been there ever since. “I have now served under 7 managers, and have seen many great players and characters pass through the medical rooms. I was also privileged enough to serve my country as a physio on over 130 occasions”.

So who’s the player, or players, that Terry has been come best acquainted with in his role as physio? “The game is a lot different now than it was when I first started. Most of the players now are fitter, better prepared, and there is much more detail in how they train. Noel Bailie, Martin McGaughey and Alan Dornan were always regulars with me, but there’s not many who finish up black and blue as often as current club skipper Jamie Mulgrew!”
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