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Green to Blues

Posted: Thu 12 Jun 2014
Author: Rick Cowdery

ARGYLE defender Jamie Richards is joining Northern Ireland top-flight side Linfield.

The Essex-born Pilgrim is linking up with former Home Park colleague Warren Feeney, who recently became manager of the Belfast-based Blues, on a seven-month loan.

Jamie, who is 20 in two weeks, is in the final year of his current Home Park deal and has made three appearances for the Pilgrims after graduating from the Home Park ranks.

His professional debut - and only start - came, courtesy of manager Carl Fletcher, in a 2-1 Johnstone's Paint Trophy second-round win over Aldershot Town in October 2012.

His first league match was in a 1-1 SkyBet League 2 draw at Wimbledon the following February, when John Sheridan sent him on as an early substitute for injured scorer Jason Banton.

South Dartmoor Community College graduate Jamie made one appearance last season, on the opening day of the campaign, when he again came off the bench, after Paul Wotton broke a rib in a collision with goalkeeper Luke McCormick.

Northern Ireland international striker Warren took charge of NIFL Danske Bank Premiership Linfield in May - their first managerial change for 17 years - having left Home Park in July last year to become Salisbury City's player-assistant manager.

The Blues are the NIFL's most successful side, by a long chalk.

They were the inaugural winners of the Irish League in 1890–91 and have a record 51 championships to their name - the second-highest number of national top-flight titles behind only Rangers' 54 Scottish league titles. 

They have never suffered relegation; won the Irish Cup a record 42 times; claimed the League and Cup Double on 23 occasions – a world record; and lifted the Irish League Cup a record nine times.

Last season, they finished league runners-up to Cliftonville, qualifying for the Europa Cup. It will be their 43rd European campaign since 1959, the most successful of which saw them reach the last eight of the European Cup in 1966-67.