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Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Friday, 8 April 2011 14:32 UK

Linfield captain Noel Bailie to retire at end of season

Linfield's Noel Bailie
Noel Bailie helped Linfield achieve a league and cup double last season

Linfield captain Noel Bailie has announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

The 40-year-old defender joined the Blues in 1986 and has clocked up an amazing 1,011 games for the club.

"I don't know if it's sad or not but I feel it's time to retire - it's something I've been thinking about for quite a while now," said Bailie.

"I want to go out on a high and I want to be part of a team that achieves success in the weeks ahead."

"If we can progress to the Irish Cup final and win that, as well as go on to win the league, that would be a good end to the season and there wouldn't be a better way to finish my career than by winning more trophies," he told the club website.

"I suppose if I had one regret it would be that I didn't get the chance to play for Northern Ireland.

"That would be my biggest regret - that when I was at my prime, whenever that would have been, I didn't get the chance to play for my country. I'd have loved to have pulled on the green jersey.

"However, I have to be grateful because I managed to achieve a lot in Irish League football.

"I'll be sad when the time comes to retire after the last match when it comes along and hopefully that will be another Irish Cup final. "

Linfield boss David Jeffrey paid the ultimate tribute to a play who has won nine league titles and seven Irish Cups during his time at Windsor Park.

"Certainly, in my time at the club stretching back to 1982, I have never known a greater Linfield player," said Jeffrey.

"There have been many great Linfield players who have tremendous contributions to this club and brought great success to the club.

"Noel is a man who has dedicated himself to serving Linfield Football Club and in my time, there has not been a better or greater Linfield player than Noel Bailie."



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see also
Crusaders 0-0 Linfield
24 Apr 10 |  Irish
Bailie in 1000th match for Blues
24 Apr 10 |  Irish


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