David Jeffrey appointed as new Ballymena manager

David Jeffrey spoke to BBC Sport NI's Thomas Niblock on BBC Newsline

David Jeffrey is the new manager of Ballymena United and has signed a three-year contract with the Sky Blues.

The former Linfield boss held preliminary talks with club officials last week and was appointed following further discussions on Monday.

Jeffrey, 53, told BBC Sport NI it was "a very easy decision to make".

He succeeds Glenn Ferguson, who was sacked last week, and takes charge for the first time in Saturday's league game against Crusaders at Seaview.

Jeffrey left Linfield at the end of the 2013-14 season after a 17-year managerial tenure which yielded a remarkable haul of 31 trophies.

He will again link up with Brian McLoughlin, his assistant during a stellar managerial career at Windsor Park, who now departs his role as first team coach at Glenavon.

Jeffrey claimed the interest from Ballymena, who sacked Glenn Ferguson after a run of five straight league defeats, was "very much out of the blue".

"At no time was I planning to come back in, I hadn't targeted anything, I wasn't looking at any particular club.

"At the beginning of this process, it was very much informal talks. I wanted to see what the club's plans were, what vision they had, and I took time to consider and reflect upon it.

"I thought it was a fresh challenge and after nearly two years out, maybe it was about time to get back in again."

Ballymena sit ninth in the Premiership table, just five points above in-form basement club Warrenpoint Town.

Jeffrey, so used to a winning environment at Linfield, insisted the club can expect "110 per cent commitment" from him but refused to make any rash predictions about transforming the side into title contenders.

"I know where I'd like to go with the club and the club know where they'd like to go," he said.

"Hopefully we will get there together."

Meanwhile Portadown's all-time leading goalscorer Vinny Arkins has offered to help the club in the wake of long-serving manager Ronnie McFall's resignation on Saturday after his side lost 3-2 to Lurgan Celtic in the Irish Cup.

McFall was Europe's longest-serving manager, having been at the helm at Shamrock Park for more than 29 years.