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Duncan Ferguson (footballer)

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Title: Duncan Ferguson (footballer)  
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Subject: Ruud Gullit, Stirling, Ormskirk, Maghull, 1994–95 FA Premier League, Mike Walker (Welsh footballer), UEFA Euro 1992 squads, Daniel Amokachi, List of Everton F.C. players, Merseyside derby
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Duncan Ferguson (footballer)

For the American political activist, see Duncan Ferguson (political activist).

Duncan Ferguson
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12:40, 20 February 2010 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12:40, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Duncan Cowan Ferguson (born 27 December 1971) is a Scottish former footballer. He was notorious for his "hardman" image[2] and nicknamed "Big Dunc"[3] and "Duncan Disorderly".[4]

Ferguson began his football career at Carse Thistle before being signed by Dundee United in 1990 on his first professional contract. He moved to Rangers in 1993 for a then British transfer record of £4 million. He spent the remainder of his career in England with two spells at Everton (1994 to 1998 and 2000 to 2006) and Newcastle United between 1998 and 2000. Ferguson retired from football in 2006.

During his career, Ferguson won the FA Cup with Everton in 1995, competed in the qualifying stages of the UEFA Champions League in 2005, also with Everton, and participated in the UEFA Cup in 1999 with Newcastle and 2005 with Everton. He was capped for Scotland seven times but made himself unavailable for selection in his national team due to a dispute with the Scottish Football Association.[5] He has scored more goals than any other Scottish player in the FA Premier League.[6] Ferguson was noted for his aggressive and highly-competitive style of play, which resulted in nine red cards and a three-month prison sentence following an on field assault of Raith Rovers' John McStay in 1994.

Club career

Dundee United

Born in Stirling, Ferguson made his professional debut for Dundee United against Rangers at Ibrox Stadium on 10 November 1990. He scored one goal in the league that season against Dunfermline Athletic in March 1991. He achieved greater impact in the Scottish Cup that season, scoring three goals in five matches and helping Dundee United to reach the final. Once there, they lost to Motherwell, 4–3 after extra time.

The following season saw him become a first team regular, with 41 appearances and 16 goals he became the clubs top scorer. His good form continued in 1992–93 with 33 appearances and 15 goals. The form he displayed at Dundee United also saw him win a call up to the Scottish national team. Ferguson accrued four caps during 1992 and 1993, playing in three friendlies and one European Football Championship match. These outings yielded no goals for the striker.


Ferguson's form at Dundee United attracted the interest of several clubs. Walter Smith signed Ferguson for Rangers in July 1993, for a British record fee of £4 million. Smith had begun his managerial career at Dundee United under Jim McLean, just as Ferguson had begun his professional playing career. Soon after Smith left Dundee United to assist Graeme Souness at Rangers, where he eventually took over the managerial role in 1991. The paths of Ferguson and Smith were to cross numerous times from this point.

Ferguson made little impact at Rangers, coupling indifferent displays and persistent injury woes. He played twenty-three games and scored five goals. He was also played out of position by Smith, often as a left winger and on one occasion even as a left back in a match against Levski Sofia.

In the 1993–94 season, Ferguson played 16 games but only scored once, in a 4–0 defeat of Raith Rovers. It was in this game that Ferguson headbutted the visitors' John McStay in the south-west corner of the Ibrox pitch. Referee Kenny Clark spotted the incident and booked Ferguson but he was then subsequently charged with assault and, as it was his fourth such conviction, he received a three-month prison sentence in 1995, by which time he had left the club.[7]

In contrast, season 1994–95 saw Ferguson start in fine form. Gary Pallister and David May of Manchester United endured a torrid time in a pre–season friendly. This was followed by a last–minute winner against Motherwell, from a Brian Laudrup assist on the first game of the season.[8] Four days later, Ferguson scored a hat–trick in a 6–1 win over Arbroath.[9] The next match saw Ferguson pressure a Partick Thistle player into scoring an own goal, leading to a 2–0 win for Rangers.

A Champions League qualifier against AEK Athens left Rangers 2–0 down after the first leg.[10] Smith elected to play a partnership of Ferguson and Mark Hateley up front, in an effort to overcome the deficit. The two players were poorly suited to playing alongside each other; they often ended up competing for the same ball. Despite Ferguson having outscored Hateley in the first five games of the season, Smith decided to drop Ferguson in favour of Gordon Durie.


In October 1994, Everton were struggling under the management of Mike Walker and looking for options to reinvigorate their faltering season. The solution enacted was to take two Rangers players on loan–deal, Ian Durrant for one month and Ferguson for three.[11]

The deal failed to secure Walker's tenure, and saw the managerial role handed to Joe Royle in November. Royle decided to let Durrant return north to Rangers but then signed Ferguson permanently in a £4 million deal — making him Everton's record signing after a string of dominating performances including goals against Liverpool, Leeds Utd and Sheffield Wednesday.

While still on loan, Ferguson contributed a goal in the 2–0 Merseyside derby victory at Goodison Park on 21 November 1994 giving him almost cult like status with the Evertonians.

Ferguson also helped Everton progress to the semi–final stage of the 1995 FA Cup. Despite recovering from an injury at the time, he was given a substitute appearance in the final against Manchester United, a game that saw Everton victorious and provided Ferguson with the only honour of his career in a 1–0 result. Ferguson was described by Joe Royle as 'the biggest thing since Dixie' in reference to Ferguson's iconic status with the Evertonians, and in comparison to Everton's all time record scorer Dixie Dean.

The subsequent, 1995–96 season was less successful for Ferguson. A persistent hernia problem caused him to be unavailable for large amounts of time. He was also jailed in September 1995, for an incident in Scotland where he headbutted an opposition player. Manager Joe Royle was less than happy, stating that the club were strongly advised there was little chance of Ferguson being imprisoned upon signing him. Ferguson was released in November 1995, and played an important role in the second half of the season with important goals and performances as the Toffees climbed to 6th position in the league.[12]

From here, Ferguson continued to be the focal point of Everton's attack. In the 1996–97 season, he helped maintain the club's top-flight status but also suffered another injury setback, this time requiring surgery on his knee. He started the season in blistering form, with a man of the match display against Newcastle United on the opening day, and a brace at Old Trafford four days later in a 2-2 draw with Man Utd.Howard Kendall returned to manage the club in the 1997–98 season, and decided that season to reward Ferguson with the captaincy of the team. It was during this season that Ferguson removed himself from contention for the Scottish national team after believing they did very little to protect him from his earlier prison sentence.

After Everton were almost relegated during the 1997–98 season, Kendall made way for Walter Smith, reuniting Ferguson with his Rangers manager. Smith maintained the strategy of bypassing the midfield and instead lofting the ball straight to Ferguson which at times did see some success, but irritated some players and fans who preferred to play football on the floor.

Ferguson was controversially sold to Newcastle United for a fee of £8 million in November 1998.[13] The deal was done to sell Ferguson by the Everton chairman, Peter Johnson, without the knowledge of Walter Smith. Ferguson wrote a 2 page goodbye letter in the club magazine to fans, stating his sadness at leaving and that he would never forget them.[14]

Newcastle United

Upon bringing Ferguson to Newcastle, team manager Ruud Gullit was swiftly rewarded. Ferguson scored twice on his debut against Wimbledon in the Premier League. The final result was a 3–1 victory to Newcastle and the tantalising prospect of Ferguson and Alan Shearer forming a formidable strike partnership.

Though it was not to be; Ferguson again found himself struck down by injury and appeared only seven times for Newcastle during the 1998–99 season. He did however make a substitute appearance in the 1999 FA Cup Final. His extended absence lasted from late December until April and curbed the early promise of his Tyneside career. Likewise, the first half of 1999–2000 brought more misfortune for Ferguson.

Injury would once again hinder Ferguson's career and he was unable to participate in the final seven league matches of the season. These injury woes made his position at Newcastle untenable and he was eventually sold back to Everton by Bobby Robson for £3.75 million; almost half the price he was bought for from Everton two seasons earlier. His final appearance came in the FA Cup semi-final defeat to eventual winners Chelsea.

Return to Everton

Ferguson re-joined Everton on the eve of the 2000-2001 season, after Everton – with money to spend from player sales – made a dramatic bid under new owner Bill Kenwright to bring Ferguson back. After weeks of negotiations with Newcastle Utd, Ferguson waived his sell on payment to seal a move back to his beloved Toffees and was paraded to hundreds of joyous fans outside the club's stadium. His return to Goodison Park brought no change to his injury problems. Just two games into his second spell at Everton, he was injured. Regardless, he managed to participate in 13 Premier League games during the 2000–01 season and provided a crucial six goals in that time. This was enough to justify the return and once again keep Everton from relegation, though 16th place was their lowest under Walter Smith and fears were rife that 2001–02 would see Everton relegated. Ferguson's goal in the merseyside derby at Goodison Park saw him celebrate by showing his Everton tattoo to the travelling Liverpool fans much to their anger.

The next two seasons were largely anonymous for Ferguson with the player battling to recover from his sciatica and rediscover his best form, hardly helped by his advancing years. 2001-2002 saw Ferguson start brightly upfront in a partnership with Kevin Campbell, however he was out of the side with a back injury until March 2002, when new manager David Moyes gave Ferguson the captain's armband once again in an attempt to get the best out of him in the very important run in. Ferguson responded by playing through the pain barrier and scoring 4 goals in the final 8 games, but his season was cut short when he was sent off for punching Bolton's Bo Hansen during Everton's 3-1 win in April 2002. Ferguson went under the knife in October 2002 after playing just once in Everton's first 10 games, in an attempt to cure a long standing nerve problem in his back. He returned in April 2003 but figured just 7 times off the bench without scoring. Now in his early thirties and participating in the 2003–04 season, Ferguson again started to add value to the Everton team but he was eclipsed by the emergence of Wayne Rooney. He was once again club captain and stayed relatively injury free, scoring goals as Everton once again avoided relegation. He did however miss 2 months of the season after being sent home from training following a brawl with manager David Moyes.

During the 2004–05 season, manager David Moyes began to utilise Ferguson effectively as a substitute. With 1 year left on his contract, and rumours that he would be released at the end of the campaign, the striker's contribution from the bench was pivotal in Everton's campaign that season and his tally of five league goals helped lift Everton to a fourth–placed finish. A particular highlight was his match–winning goal against Manchester United, reminiscent of ten years prior when Ferguson scored against the same team to give Everton victory. The intervening period had seen Manchester United unbeaten by Everton in the league. By this stage, Wayne Rooney had been sold to Manchester United, but Everton had still managed to finish fourth in the final table - their highest yet in the Premier League and their highest finish overall in 17 years. Ferguson was rewarded with a one-year deal at the end of the campaign, despite attempts to bring in further forwards such as Michael Owen, Craig Bellamy and Milan Baroš.

The 2005–06 season saw Ferguson regain the number 9 shirt - the number he has tattooed inside the Everton crest on his left upper arm. However, that season was somewhat less fruitful for Ferguson with goals proving elusive and frustration dominating his displays, the latter factor reaching a head when Ferguson inadvertently headed the ball into his own net during Everton's 1-0 home defeat to Portsmouth in September 2005, a result which briefly dropped the team to the foot of the table.

Ferguson's low point of the 2005–06 season was his sending off against Wigan Athletic for violent conduct. His confrontation with Paul Scharner and subsequent fracas with Pascal Chimbonda resulted in a 7 match ban and saw his Premier League red–card count reach eight, equalling Patrick Vieira's record. Scharner later claimed that he had sworn at Ferguson in his native language and that the Everton man's punch "was a nice punch".[15]

On 7 May 2006, against West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park, Ferguson was named captain in the game that marked the end of his Everton career. His 90th minute penalty kick was saved by Tomasz Kuszczak, but he subsequently scored from the rebound, netting his final goal for the club. Towards the end of his career he got a reputation as the hardman of the English game. Ferguson was not given a new Everton deal and retired, moving his family to Mallorca and spurning advances from a number of clubs.[16]

Coaching career

Having spent five years in exile in Majorca following his retirement from playing, Ferguson contacted his former manager at Everton David Moyes. Ferguson apologised to Moyes for not shaking his hand when he exited the club in 2005.[17] The pair resolved their differences and Ferguson asked if he could work with the Everton academy students at Finch Farm.

Initially Ferguson was a voluntary worker at the academy, working for fellow Glaswegian Alan Irvine, a former mentor of his from his playing career.[18] Although Ferguson remains disappointed with the Scottish FA for what he sees as a lack of support following his sentencing in 1995,[19] he enrolled on a nine day Scottish FA organised coaching course in Largs, Scotland to earn a UEFA B-License.[20] In May 2012, he returned to Largs to achieve a UEFA A license and in January 2013 he enrolled on a further course and is working towards a UEFA Pro-License.[21]

In May 2013, former Everton manager Howard Kendall stated that Duncan Ferguson should be considered for the Everton managerial position following David Moyes' imminent exit.[22]


Burglary attempt

In 2001, Ferguson was the victim of a burglary attempt by two men at his then home in Rufford, between Liverpool and Preston. Ferguson confronted the pair and was able to detain one of them who subsequently spent three days in hospital.[23] The second man managed to flee but was eventually caught. Both men were sentenced to fifteen months imprisonment for their actions.


Ferguson has had four convictions for assault - two arising from taxi–rank scuffles,[24] one an altercation with a fisherman in an Anstruther pub[24] and the most infamous: his on–field headbutt on Raith Rovers defender John McStay in 1994 while playing for Rangers, which resulted in a three-month prison sentence. The first incident led to a £100 fine for butting a policeman (was fined a further £25 for a Breach of the Peace),[25] while the second resulted in a £200 fine for punching and kicking a supporter on crutches. He had been put on a year's probation for the third offence.[26] His imprisonment inspired the Finnish composer Osmo Tapio Räihälä to write a symphonic poem Barlinnie Nine as a "musical portrait" of Ferguson.[27]


Ferguson has pledged his support to the "Keep Everton in Our City" campaign, making a rare public statement:


All figures correct as of 07:47, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

Club performance

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Scotland League Scottish Cup League Cup Europe Total
1990-91 Dundee United Premier Division 9 1 5 3 0 0 - 14 4
1991-92 38 15 2 2 1 0 - 41 17
1992-93 30 12 1 1 2 2 - 33 15
1993-94 Rangers Premier Division 10 1 3 0 2 0 - 15 1
1994-95 4 1 0 0 2 3 - 6 4
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1994-95 Everton Premier League 23 7 4 1 1 0 - 28 8
1995-96 18 5 2 2 - - 20 7
1996-97 33 10 2 1 1 0 - 36 11
1997-98 29 11 1 0 2 0 - 32 11
1998-99 13 4 - 4 1 - 17 5
1998-99 Newcastle United Premier League 7 2 2 0 - - 9 2
1999-00 23 6 6 3 - 3 1 32 10
2000-01 Everton Premier League 12 6 1 0 - - 13 6
2001-02 22 6 2 1 1 1 - 25 8
2002-03 7 0 - 1 0 - 8 0
2003-04 20 5 2 2 2 2 - 24 9
2004-05 35 6 0 0 2 1 - 37 7
2005-06 27 1 2 0 - 4 0 33 1
Total Scotland 91 30 11 6 7 5 - 109 41
England 269 69 24 10 14 5 7 1 314 85
Career total 360 99 35 16 21 10 7 1 423 126

International appearances

Cap Date Opponent Score Result
1 17 May 1992 USA 0–1 Win
2 20 May 1992 Canada 1–3 Win
3 12 June 1992 Netherlands 0–1 Loss
4 24 March 1993 Germany 0–1 Loss
5 18 December 1994 Greece 1–0 Loss
6 31 August 1996 Austria 0–0 Draw
7 11 February 1997 Estonia 0–0 Draw

Ferguson refused international selection after 1997, in part in protest against his treatment by the SFA after his conviction for assault on John McStay, particularly the imposition of a 12-game ban on top of his 3-month prison sentence.[28]







References for statistics

  • BBC Sport
  • Guardian Unlimited
  • Statistics from Sky Sports
  • Soccerbase
  • Yahoo! Sport

External links

  • Profile by 4thegame
  • Profile by Born To Be Blue
  • ESPN Soccernet
  • Profile by Football Database
  • Profile by Glenrothes Arabs
  • Profile by icLiverpool
  • Profile by Nil Satis Nisi Optimum
  • Profile by ToffeeWeb
  • Internet Movie Database
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