Former player programme article - Warren Feeney senior

Posted : 14th June 2020

During this period of enforced football inactivity has provided weekly programme articles on our former players.

The series commenced eleven weeks ago with an article on Jim Lemon and has continued over the past ten weeks with features on Tommy MacDonald, Stephen McKee, Eric Bowyer, Tony Gorman, Lindsay Curry, Damien Curran, Colin McCurdy, Martin McGaughey, Roy Walsh and Frankie Parkes.

In this week's article reproduces an article from the beginning of the season in which the spotlight was focused on former forward Warren Feeney senior.

by James Kennedy

Jimmy, Warren Senior and Warren Junior. 3 generations of the Feeney family who all played for Linfield.

Warren says, “My Dad played for Linfield during the Second World War, then transferred to Swansea City, where I was born in 1950.

Jimmy and another Belfast man, striker Sammy McCrory, would later transfer to Ipswich Town for a combined fee of around £10,000, a considerable sum of money at that time.

“We moved to Suffolk not long after I was born, and a couple of years later my brother Stephen came along. Dad played for Ipswich for 5 or 6 years, then we moved to Canada where he got a job with the aircraft makers De Havilland, while also playing for, and coaching, the works team”.

Jimmy was also Player-Coach of a team called Ulster Utd in Toronto, but in 1966 the Feeney family moved back to Belfast.

With connections to The Village, you might have thought that a young Warren would have played for Linfield. But no.

“My Dad was friendly with George Eastham who was manager at Ards. I signed for them and spent a couple of seasons at Castlereagh Park”.

In 1968 Warren did sign for The Blues, in a swop deal which saw Tommy Shields move in the opposite direction.

“When I signed for Linfield, the manager was the great Scot Ewan Fenton, and while I did play plenty of games, eventually I was up against the likes of Dessie Cathcart and Billy Millen for a place up front”.

Millen, who was best man at Warren’s wedding, was a good friend, and provided a humorous moment during a European Cup tie in 1969

“We played Red Star Belgrade and got hammered by a team full of Yugoslavian internationals. In the away leg we lost 8-0, and during the game Billy and myself were over trying to help mark a player called Dragan Dzajic. Next thing I know, he’s singing ‘Here they come again, catch them if you can’. The late Ken Gilliland, who had been up against Dzajic all night didn’t really see the funny side of that!”

Warren’s next move was back across the water, this time to Stoke City, where Eastham was able to secure him a trial.

“I signed for Stoke, and former Glentoran player Terry Conroy looked after me, but I only stayed for a couple of seasons before I was back to Belfast, back to The Village, where I stayed with an aunt.

“I trained with Linfield, but manager Sammy Hatton didn’t offer me a contract, so the Eastham connections came into play again and I joined Glentoran, by then managed by George Eastham”.

Warren had six seasons in East Belfast, and played in many big games, including more in Europe.

“Of course, the biggest of these games was when Glentoran played Juventus in the European Cup, a game I remember well as I missed a penalty!”

In 1978 Warren crossed Belfast to sign for Linfield, where, as part of Roy Coyle’s team, he picked up another set of medals to go with those he had won while at The Oval.

“3 League titles in a row, 2 of them double winning seasons, wasn’t a bad return for the team, and I was proud to play my part at the start of Linfield’s dominant period of the 70s and 80s”.

A short spell at Crusaders ended with Warren hanging his boots up. Did he never fancy going into management?

“My Dad and I had taken over The Farmer’s Rest pub in Castlereagh Street, and that took up much of my time. He managed one of the bars and I did the other – so you could say I took up management after all!”

In more recent times has Warren spent his time walking his dog and watching his son Warren Junior’s Ards side, before he left to take up a post in Bulgaria.

“I don’t get to see a lot of other games, although when I get invited to a get together at Windsor Park, it’s always a good day”.
Next Match
Co Antrim Shield
Kick-off : 5th October @ 7:30pm
Venue : Windsor Park
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