Linfield FC can confirm several departures from our first team squad at the end of the 2022-23 season.
The board and management have decided that now is the time to refresh and rebuild our squad, as we seek to embark on a new European and league campaign for the upcoming 2023/24 season. Plans for the pre-season ahead are now confirmed, with several friendlies due to be announced over the coming weeks. Recruitment plans for the new season continue, with the focus on several key positions.
Refreshing a squad requires difficult decisions and we appreciate the positive dialogue that has taken place with all the departing players.
The club can confirm that Jimmy Callacher and Niall Quinn will leave our club after 9 and 11 years respectively. Both players have been excellent and loyal servants to our club and have epitomised exactly what it means to be a Blueman. Both have 5 Irish League winners medals and 2 Irish Cup winners medals from their time at Linfield.
Local lad, Jimmy, played 368 games and scored 47 goals, between January 2014 and April 2023. His service to the club was recognised when he won individual NI Football Awards and Ulster Footballer of the Year awards, as well as several other individual awards and his league and cup winners medals. It is with a ‘heavy heart’ that we can confirm that Jimmy will leave Windsor when following a discussion between our management, board and player, it was agreed that now was the right time for him to move on to the next challenge in his stellar career.
Niall Quinn graduated from the club's academy to the first team squad in March 2012, playing 364 games and scoring 29 goals. He was a stalwart in the left back (and other) position(s), and was rewarded with a well-deserved testimonial season for 2022/23. He also won countless individual awards along with his league and cup winners medals, which outlined the quality he possesses. Niall will now continue with his teaching career, whilst pursuing his football commitments elsewhere.
Sam Roscoe will return to his native northern England with the very best wishes of everyone at the club. 2 years ago, the club saw an opportunity to provide him with a platform to display his obvious potential. Given he played as many minutes as any professional in Europe this season, he underlined that the club's recruitment was ‘on point’.
The club can also confirm that Cammy Palmer, Eetu Vertainen and Kyle Lafferty will also leave the club at the end of their current contracts. We are grateful to the players for their service, and wish them all the very best for the next chapter in their football journey.
David Healy, Club Manager, outlined the rationale behind the decisions outlined above.
“Player recruitment is never an easy task. Whether that be signings or departures, we consider a wide range of factors when we are reaching our decisions.
I am particularly indebted to Jimmy Callacher and Niall Quinn who both leave with my very best wishes for the future. Jimmy and I had an open and frank discussion in which we acknowledged that now was probably the right time for him to move on. He has his own business commitments and I know he wants to continue to grow this, as he builds a future for his young family.
He has been an immense defender and leader, never letting me down and battling back from injury on several occasions. He is, and always will be, 'one of our own'.
Niall Quinn has been a loyal and faithful servant to this club, especially since I joined in 2015. It was another difficult decision to allow Niall to leave, but again, the timing was right, as Niall has a clear and understandable desire to pursue his teaching career.
He is a very talented footballer and the fact he received a testimonial season which was so well supported by our fans, highlights the huge contribution and impact he has made.
I am very keen to utilise our academy and young players and I expect to see some of these players increase their playing minutes throughout preseason. Positive discussions continue with several players who I believe can bring added quality and hunger to our squad.
I would also like to wish Sam, Cammy, Eetu and Kyle all the very best for the future. Cammy showed his talent on many occasions and although he struggled with injury this season, it was not an easy decision to move him on.
Eetu scored 23 goals for us since joining in 2021, with a standout his late winner at the Oval on Boxing Day of 2022. I have no doubt that he will push on and make further progress in his career.
Sam was a ‘rock’ at the centre of our defence. His physical profile and technical ability allowed us to play out from the back. He is an intelligent footballer and a real professional.
Sam has made it clear for some time now that he wanted to return to England, so he could be closer to his family. This is a decision that I respect and I am grateful for his professionalism throughout his time at Windsor.
Overall, I am keen to refresh and rebuild our squad from a position of relative strength. The squad now have some downtime to recharge their batteries, before returning for preseason in early June. We have a huge task ahead of us, but one I am hungry to take on as we aim to continue to bring success to this great club.”