Trevor realised his boyhood dreams at Linfield

Posted : 19th October 2009

For the benefit of our many overseas supporters, here is the interview with Trevor Anderson which appeared in Saturday's Look at Linfield. The interview was completed by Roy McGivern.

This week Look at Linfield caught up with former player Trevor Anderson. Trevor enjoyed great success as both a player and manager of Linfield, the club he supported as a young boy growing up in the shadow of Windsor Park. He also holds the distinction of having played for Manchester United and Northern Ireland in a career spanning almost eighteen years.

Trevor started his career at Irish League side Portadown where he made 90 appearances and made a big impression. This led to a dream move to Old Trafford but he almost made the switch to Windsor Park before the Manchester giants came calling. Trevor takes up the story “I joined Portadown in April 1970 and left for Manchester United in October 1972. There was a lot of transfer speculation at the time and there was the real possibility of moving to Linfield that summer. Although that move didn’t materialise, the manager Gibby MacKenzie told me that Manchester United were interested. We went over and I had no hesitation in signing for Frank O’Farrell.”

O’Farrell was sacked a short time later but Trevor went on to make 13 senior appearances for United under Tommy Docherty. “It’s the biggest club in the world and it was a big culture shock for me at the time. I was 21 when I signed and it was amazing to be training with the likes of Denis Law, Bobby Charlton and the late George Best. I recall one game away to Leeds where I scored the winner in a 1-0 win and that was probably the highlight for me.”

Anderson went on the play for Swindon and Peterborough United and once scored a hat-trick of penalties in a 5-1 win against Walsall. At the age of 28, however, he made the decision to return home and was able to secure his dream move to Linfield. There were plenty of other clubs interested in signing the international striker including Linfield’s big rivals and today’s opponents Glentoran. Trevor explains “I was always planning to come back and it was Glentoran manager Ronnie McFall who made the first move for me. I then got a call from Roy Coyle and as a lifelong Linfield supporter there was only one place I was going to. I was brought up in Fane Street and remember watching the famous seven trophy team.”

Trevor enjoyed eight successful seasons as a player at Linfield, winning 19 senior medals and making just over 300 appearances. He was part of the terrific ‘five in a row’ team in the 1980’s although he still remembers the one league title that got away. “We should have won seven in a row but the Glens just pipped us to the title. We played them in the penultimate league game and could only manage a 1-1 draw after having a perfectly good goal disallowed. It was miles over the line but that sometimes happens in football. “

There were many highlights for Trevor in his Linfield career and he regards it as a privilege to have played for and managed the club.

“It was a boyhood dream to play for Linfield. Of course I was fortunate enough to have played for Manchester United and Northern Ireland which is every schoolboy’s dream but to come home and sign for Linfield meant everything to me. We had a great side in those days with players like George Dunlop, Peter Rafferty, Lindsay McKeown, Peter Dornan, Billy Murray, Stephen McKee and Warren Feeney. There was also an excellent team spirit and I was proud to play my part in the team’s success. I won the Football Writers Player of the Year Award in 1986 and topped the goal scoring chart in that season. Martin McGaughey picked up a serious cruciate injury and I took over the mantle of being the main striker. I had previously been more of a playmaker just off the main striker but in that season we had Mark Caughey supplying the crosses and Robbie Barr playing just off me and I managed over 30 goals.”

Trevor’s playing career came to an end in 1987 and, whilst it was a big wrench at the time, he realised that his time was up. “I was approaching 37 and had reached the point where I knew that I couldn’t carry on. I had been involved in the club’s centenary year in 1986 and that was a nice way to finish. “

This was not the end of his involvement with Linfield though and Trevor went on to manage the youth team before getting the post as first team manager in October 1992. He enjoyed considerable success in this role, leading the team to seven trophies include two league titles and two Irish Cup triumphs. “We had a very good side during my spell as manager. I had talented players like Pat Fenlon, Gary Peebles, Raymond Campbell and of course Noel Bailie who is still at the club. The two league title wins meant a lot to me and on both occasions we clinched it by beating the Glens. That was the highlight for me and it’s something that no-one can ever take away from me.”

Trevor Anderson will be remembered by Linfield fans as a stylish striker in that great side of the early 1980’s and as a highly successful manager of the club. The team he managed played the game with the same panache as he displayed on the field and it was a privilege to watch such a great Blueman.

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