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Jim Feeney

Jim Feeney was the first in a dynasty, continued by his son and grandson...

Name: James McBurney Feeney
Born: 23 June 1921, Belfast
Died: March 1985
Height: 5.09½ ft
Weight: 11.04 st
Position: Full-Back

Representative Honours: Ireland: 2 Full Caps (1946-1949), 2 Victory International Caps (1946).
Club Honours: (with Linfield) Northern Regional "War-Time" League Champion 1942/43, 1944/45, 1945/46; Irish Cup Winner 1941/42, 1944/45, 1945/46, Runner-Up 1943/44; (with Swansea) Football League Division Three (South) Champion 1948/49; (with Ipswich) Football League Division Three (South) Champion 1953/54.

Club Career:
FA Cup
Swansea Town
Ipswich Town


Jim Feeney made his name as a winger with Linfield during the Second World War before developing into one of the hardest full-backs in the game. He picked up winner's medals in the Irish Cup, Gold Cup and War-Time League while at Windsor Park, and played for Ireland in the post-war Victory Internationals against England and Scotland. As the the British Championship resumed in the 1946/47 season Feeney was one of a number of full-backs tried out, and he played at left-back in a 0-0 draw with Scotland. The presence of an array of talented all-Ireland full-backs - including the likes of Jackie Carey, Con Martin, Tom Aherne and Bill Gorman - meant Feeney wouldn't win a second cap for three years.

On 11 December 1946 Feeney was transferred to Swansea Town, joining up with ex-Blues teammate Sammy McCrory who had made the same move two months earlier. Appointed captain in the late-forties, Feeney led Swansea to the Division Three (South) title in 1949. He also earned a recall to the Ireland side, but it was to be an unhappy return with England dishing out a 9-2 hammering at Maine Road, Manchester, with Feeney at right-back.

In March 1950 Ipswich Town offered a, then club record, combined fee of £10,500 for Feeney and McCrory. At Portman Road, Feeney featured regularly at centre-half, and in 1954 he won his second Division Three (South) championship. He couldn't however keep Ipswich in Division Two, as they finished second bottom and were relegated after just one season. Feeney played his 233rd and final match for Ipswich on the 29 September 1955 at Brighton, and injury forced him to retire the following April.

In the late-1950s he spent some years in Canada, acting as player-coach then general manager at Toronto Ulster United. He was also head coach at St Andrew's in the Ontario Soccer League. He served as trainer at Larne, taking over as manager in September 1969, but resigned after less than a year.

Feeney's style of defending was quite simple, he once said of wingers, "If they go to the toilet, I had to follow them", and that an opposition player who "crossed the half-way line was raw meat". With his playing days behind him, Feeney returned to Belfast to run a bar and coach at Ards, bringing with him his young son Warren - himself a future international.

Canadian National Soccer League

Ireland Cap Details:
27-11-1946 Scotland A D 0-0 BC
06-11-1949 England. A L 2-9 BC

Summary: 2/0. Won 0, Drew 1, Lost 1.


Anonymous said…
On several international matches Jim Feeney held his own with Stanley Matthews. He was much better playing at left back than right back.
Anonymous said…
A consistant defender. Feeney was a difficult task for any winger in his day. He could read the game had speed and tackled hard.