Darren Murphy: I wondered if anyone liked me during last 18 months at Dungannon

Darren Murphy
Murphy was an Elite Performance Coach at the IFA after leaving Dungannon in October 2015

Darren Murphy has revealed how his last 18 months as Dungannon Swifts manager made him feel "paranoid" because of the pressures of the job.

Speaking on this week's Irish League Show, the Linfield coach said he got so uncomfortable he used to wonder if anyone at the club liked him.

The former Blues and Glenavon midfielder quit as Swifts boss in October 2015 and took up his current role at Windsor Park last summer.

"I struggled with the game," he said.

"My last 18 months at Dungannon weren't nice, they were very uncomfortable. Not because of anything to do with Dungannon as a football club, but because of me personally.

"It was a really difficult time in my life and people who are close to me know what I went through.

"I became paranoid and used to walk about the football club wandering 'does anyone like me?'. It was a really strange place to be.

"I used to put a face on to do my TV interviews and everyone enjoyed watching them, but I hated doing every one of them. I just wanted to get them done and get away.

"Thankfully, I'm out of that now. I'm back to who I am and know what I want and where I want to go. I've set myself targets and hopefully I'm able to achieve them."

Murphy enjoyed success as a player with Linfield
Murphy enjoyed success as a player with Linfield

'I learnt a lot about myself'

Murphy said the time he had away from the Irish League gave him the chance to reflect on the impact that being a manager was having on him.

He took up a coaching role at the Irish FA, working with former Northern Ireland captain Jim Magilton, which he believed helped him on a personal level.

"I learnt a lot about myself - I had time to analyse me and who I am," Murphy continued.

"I was very fortunate that Jim gave me an unbelievable opportunity to work in the IFA. In those three years I was able to reinvent myself and find out who I really am.

"When the opportunity came along to get back in the game with Linfield, I thought it was too good to pass by and I knew I was ready."

'Managers help support each other'

Murphy added that he believes the demands on Irish League managers are such that the job is "24/7", even though the majority of bosses are doing the role on a part-time basis.

He believes there is a vacuum for a focused support mechanism for Irish League bosses.

"I think there is something that could be done (to support managers) but I'm not sure if it should be NIFL or the IFA that does that," he explained.

"The managers' job is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are dealing with injuries, transfers, board meetings and money.

"The 12 managers all support each other, because every one of them knows what the other is going through.

"During my time as a manager one of my big helps was Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter. If I ever had a problem I could call Stephen and he would be there on the end of the phone."

The full Irish League Show is available on the BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website.

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