Michael Hayde in conversation with Jamie Megarry

Posted : 10th May 2020

Linfieldfc.com continues with the theme of nostalgic articles, this time bringing supporters an interview which Jamie Megarry conducted in recent days with a man who enjoyed his short loan spell at Windsor Park in 1990.

We took Merseysider Mick (Michael) Hayde back to where it all started. Born in St. Helen’s on June 20, 1971, it must have been quite an experience for Mick to represent Liverpool. He joined Liverpool’s Academy at the age of 13, and as he recollects, signed full-time at 16.

Mick spent four years and three months with the Anfield club, progressing up through the Academy, before reaching the reserve team for whom he made 30 appearances. Alongside him in the reserves, Liverpool included well-known former Northern Ireland International, Jim Magilton, as well as a host of formidable names in the world of football.

“I joined Liverpool full time from school at 16 and before too long, I was playing for the reserves.

I never got a sniff of the first team but I was a 16 year old boy and would have been out of my depth, if I’m honest. Liverpool at that time were an unbelievable team with the likes of Alan Hanson, Steve McMahon, Ronnie Whelan, John Barnes, Peter Beardsley, etc. dominating most games they played in.

“The reserves was also strong and included Jim Magilton, Steve Staunton, Mike Marsh, with the likes of Jan Molby and Jim Beglin flitting between the two. To be involved at that level, especially having Phil Thompson as reserve manager was an amazing experience and I often wish I could go back and have my time again.

“I was Kenny Dalglish’s boot boy and looked after his kit. I took great pride in cleaning his boots and whatever the weather every morning, his boots were gleaming! He always had time for us and words of encouragement and when he joined in training with us, I had to pinch myself that I was actually on the same pitch as him. I remember being included in a reserve squad, with him in the team and that was surreal. He had an aura about him that fits the legendary status he has.

“Although growing up as an Everton fan, it didn’t take me long to switch allegiances to the Reds and I still get stick for that from friends now! Although gutted I wasn’t given a professional contract by Liverpool, I was also realistic in that the standards were so high and I hadn’t been consistent enough, particularly in my second year and was determined to earn a contract elsewhere.”

In the Summer of 1989, Mick’s time at Liverpool ended and he travelled down the road a short distance to put pen to paper for Chester City. As Mick explains, the move didn’t work out as he’d have hoped.

“Luckily, Chester City who were in the old Division 3 which would be League 1 now, liked what they saw whilst I was on trial, so they offered me a 1 year deal. I did well in pre season and was involved in the first 2 league games but remember having a poor game a few weeks in and was hammered by the manager Harry McNally.

“In my opinion, his man management wasn’t the best but also feel I could have dealt with this better and as the situation deteriorated, it totally knocked all my confidence, to the extent I used to hate going in each day.

Roy Coyle was the manager who brought Mick to Linfield on a short loan to add add cover for injuries and to further boost squad competition for places. Although the 1989/90 wasn’t a successful one for Linfield, it is pleasing to hear that Mick enjoyed his short spell with The Blues.

“I don’t know how the opportunity to go on loan to Linfield came but when Harry told me, I jumped at it because I was desperate to get away from Chester. To be honest, I didn’t know a great deal about Linfield but remember being really excited!

“I only played under Roy Coyle a handful of times because if I remember right, he either resigned or was sacked, I’m not sure?

From what I remember, he was a quietly spoken man but certainly passionate and someone I wanted to do well for.

“I absolutely loved my time in Belfast and am so proud that I played for Linfield, even for a short time. To be honest, I was really naive and didn’t have a clue about life in Belfast and Northern Ireland but straight away, felt an affinity for Linfield. I consider myself a fan and still look out for their results.”

The former left back reminisces about many of the same names which the Linfield support still talk about to this day.

“There was some proper players at the club at the time... David Jeffrey, Jeff Spiers, Noel Bailie, George Dunlop, Martin McGaughey, to name but a few. They all to a man made me feel at home and welcome.

“The stand out player for me however, was Lindsay McKeown who looked after me, like you wouldn’t believe. As big a character and personality as he was, he took it upon himself to go out of his way to make sure I wasn’t on my own throughout my time there, for which I am still thankful.

He also introduced me to the Belfast nightlife and in particular, Pips International Nightclub!”

Mick’s eight Linfield appearances included two ‘Big Two’ derby fixtures – one in the Irish Cup and a County Antrim Shield final.

Unfortunately, both ended in defeat, yet it was still a memorable experience for Mick to be involved in.

“I was told about the Glentoran games and they certainly lived up to the hype. I hated losing the two games against them and I think in the CAS final, I was booked for kicking out at Billy Caskey!"

It still seems quite surreal to many that in 1990, World Champions Argentina warmed up for the ‘Italia 90’ World Cup with a friendly against Linfield at Windsor Park.

As seen in the pictures below, Mick was involved. What an experience that must have been?

“Playing against Argentina was fantastic and when we went 1-0 down after a few minutes, I thought “Oh no, here we go” but we did really well that night and in the end should have at least got a draw out of the game.

Mick returned to England where he’d play the remainder of his 14 year career and was well thought of at the clubs he represented.

“Returning to Chester, I knew I wouldn’t be getting another contract, even taking into account my time at Linfield where I thought I did ok?

I drifted into non league then and played locally for my home town club St Helens Town for a season, before getting a move to Altrincham who played in the then Vauxhall Conference, which was equivalent to the National League now. I stayed there for 3 years before moving to Worcester City because my job had taken me to the midlands.

After 18 months I moved to Moor Green where I really enjoyed my 5 seasons there. I then moved to Solihull Borough for 2 seasons, before finally retiring in 2003 after a couple of bad injuries.

Incidentally Solihull and Moor Green amalgamated and are now known as Solihull Moors and play in the National League.”

It was great to hear the feelings Mick had for Linfield, despite his stay in Belfast being such a short one.

Mick made his debut in a 3-0 league win over Bangor on 28th March 1990 and lived in the Botanic area of Belfast during his spell with Linfield when he trained every day.

And from an issue of Look at Linfield from during his spell with the club.

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