About Of Duncan Ferguson - Striker | Photos and Biography


About Of Duncan Ferguson - Striker | Photos and Biography - View  Of Duncan Ferguson -  Striker - When a desperate Mike Walker recruited two Rangers players for a month's loan in October 1994 in a bid to arrest an alarming run of games without a win that had sent Everton tumbling to the bottom of the Premiership, most Evertonians knew more about midfielder Ian Durrant than towering striker Duncan Ferguson. Top FootBall.

Top Football.

However, a month later, after Walker had been sent packing and Joe Royle had assumed control of the Goodison hotseat, it was Ferguson to whom the new manager turned to form the bedrock of his fledgling tenure.  The 6' 4" Scot was signed for £4M and Everton folklore was about to be augmented by the Duncan Ferguson saga.

Having started his career at Carse Thistle, Ferguson broke into the Dundee United team at the age of 18.  A call up to the Scotland U-21s was followed in 1992 with a summons to the full national side for the game against the United States. Still relatively unproven at the higher levels, Dundee United received, and turned down, £3M bids from Bayern Munich, Leeds and Chelsea before Walter Smith decided to break the then British Transfer record and bring Ferguson to Ibrox Park for £4M.

A torrid spell of suspensions and injuries restricted Ferguson to just 14 appearances and 2 goals before he was loaned to Mike Walker's struggling Everton in the autumn of 1994 along with team-mate Durrant.  Neither player had much of an impact on the Toffeemen's fortunes and Walker was dismissed that November but Royle decided that Ferguson was worth keeping and snapped him up for £4.4M.

Ferguson's impact was immediate; on his debut proper he scored one of the goals in a now-famous 2-0 home win over Liverpool that kick-started a three-game winning streak and set the Blues on their way to safety from relegation and an FA Cup the following May.  8 goals that season, scored in just 23 appearances, turned Big Dunc into a Goodison idol as he helped the Blues to the semi-finals of the FA Cup.  The rest of the squad took over from there, setting up a substitute's appearance for an unfit Ferguson in the triumphant final against Manchester United, the team Ferguson had consigned to defeat earlier in the season with a fine headed goal that typified his style.

The 1995-96 season started full of promise for Everton with the arrival of Andrei Kanchelskis signalling the beginning of a mouth-watering partnership with Ferguson.  However, a dislocated shoulder forced the flying Ukrainian onto the sidelines and when he returned Ferguson was either injured with a prolonged hernia problem or in prison and suspended for the head butting of Raith Rovers' John McStay in April 1994.  Joe Royle claimed that, had he had Ferguson and Kanchelskis playing together for the full season, Everton would definitely have achieved European qualification at least. As it was, a goal by Dennis Bergkamp 6 minutes from time against relegated Bolton meant that Arsenal took the final UEFA Cup place on the last day of the season.

The 1996-97 campaign started well for Ferguson who was raring to go.  Three phenomenal performances in the opening games of the season, the 2-2 draw at Old Trafford in particular when Duncan blasted Everton into a 2-0 lead, were unfortunately followed by a troublesome knee injury that required keyhole surgery and restricted him to the sidelines.  Nevertheless he returned to help the club avoid the spectre of relegation after Joe Royle resigned in March 1997.

After the farcical search for Royle's successor in the summer of 1997, it appeared as though Duncan had been struck by the disappointment the fans had been enduring in recent months.  The form and maturity he showed for the first half of the season demonstrated a will to repay the adulation of the Everton faithful under the fresh start offered by Howard Kendall's return to the Goodison hotseat.  By Christmas, Ferguson had been handed the captaincy and as the team slid back into relegation danger, his worth to the team was emphasised beyond doubt when he was suspended for three games in February and March 1998.  A team stripped of his inspiration and talismanic leadership looked hopelessly bereft of direction.

International honours would be the natural progression for any other player but in 1997, Duncan Ferguson informed the Scottish FA that he would no longer be representing his country at international level, a gesture of defiance at his treatment by the SFA in 1996 when they upheld a 12-match ban on top of his prison sentence.

Having led Everton to the brink of relegation in 1997-98, Kendall was forced out by then chairman Peter Johnson and Walter Smith appointed as his successor.  His appointment and Johnson's promise of cash for player reinforcements heralded the opportunity for a new start at Goodison.  Scrapping for Premiership survival was no longer satisfactory but Ferguson's towering presence and effectiveness in the air meant the team still relied on him as the number one outlet from defence.

With the likes of midfield playmakers like Nick Barmby, John Collins and Don Hutchison being by-passed by the route-one tactics and opposition defences having learned how to deal with Ferguson, the Blues' results suffered; discontent set in.  That disquiet intensified in a 3rd Round League Cup penalty shoot-out with First Division Sunderland when Captain Ferguson refused to take a spot-kick. Everton crashed out of the competition and a week later, Ferguson was gone.

In an effort to appease the bankers, Ferguson was sold by then Chairman Johnson — right from under the feet of manager Walter Smith.  Behind the scenes at an evening game with Newcastle United, negotiations were held with the same club to transfer Duncan to St James' Park for £8M.  The shockwaves from the reaction from the supporters — they were furious not so much with the fact that Ferguson that he had been sold, more with the manner of his sale — forced Johnson to finally see sense and step down as chairman, while the cash raised from the deal went straight into easing the club's overdraft.  And era had ended.

Despite his imperfections, his horrendous injury record and the volatile streak that reared its ugly head all too often, his proud record against Liverpool and his commitment beyond the call of duty at times ensured that the man with the famous Everton tattoo would go down in Everton folklore.  The supporters were probably content to close that chapter in Everton's history, but Ferguson was back at Goodison in August 2000.

After two injury-ravaged years at Newcastle and with Everton facing the prospect of being without goalscoring hero Kevin Campbell for the first few months of the 2000-01 season, Ferguson was re-signed by Everton, this time by new owner Bill Kenwright.  While many understood the romantic sentiment of bringing the "talisman" home, it seemed as though only a minority of fans actually agreed that bringing Ferguson's injury problems back, not to mention the effect on Everton's style of play, was a good idea.  Worse, it later transpired that the £3.75M Everton paid Newcastle for his services was gambled on the successful conclusion of a media deal with NTL that was never signed.

The irony of re-signing a player known for his injury problems to replace another injured player was seemingly lost on Messrs Kenwright and Smith.  Ferguson was duly injured in only the second appearance of his return spell with the Blues.  He was in and out of the team that season with recurrent injury problems that required surgery, but he still managed to weigh in with 6 goals in 13 appearances to help Everton stave off the the threat of relegation once more.

Duncan Ferguson, much like his pigeon-fancying off-the-field persona, remains a frustrating enigma.  It appears as though he will never rediscover the form and influence he enjoyed for much of his first spell with the club.  While he seems to have curtailed the wilder side of his nature that attracted regular attention from referees, he also looks to have lost much of his motivation, mobility and hunger for the Everton cause.  However, with his manager faced with an almost perpetual injury crisis, Big Dunc will continue to be called upon, fully fit or not, to fill the breach.
After more fitful attempts to regain full fitness, and numerous miracle cures announced — like the German doctor who swore blind Dunc had a blood problem — the cause of the Big Yin's chronic injury problems was finally identified: a compressed sciatic nerve.

On opening him up they discovered that the nerve was completely flat instead of being cylindrical.  The Everton physio said that he had probably had it for 4 years and it was surprising that he could run in that time never mind play as he must have experienced a lot of pain.  The trouble with this kind of injury is that pain can be in the leg, back, pelvis or groin hence very hard to diagnose.

Ferguson eventually regained reasonable match fitness and began to score goals again in 2003-04.  But most were from the spot and his effectiveness was at best debatable.  Apart from being accused of calling Fulham's Luis Boa Morte a "black cunt", he kept his nose reasonably clean...  That was until a niggly game atLeicester when the famous red mist descended once again as he was sent off for two yellows, and proceeded to strangle Steffen Freund.

In the summer of 2004, Everton tried to buy off the last year of his contract — about £2M in salary — for a paltry £½M.  Big Dunc, as you'd expect, turned it down and adopted a new role as not-so-super sub to sustain David Moyes's assault on the top of the Premiership.

Assault being the operative word... although to be fair to Big Dunc, he did try, coming on as sub in almost every game as Everton rose to third in the Premiership.  But it was too good to be true and he walked for the seventh (and hopefully final) time in his Everton career after needlessly elbowing Hreidarsson in the face atCharlton.

But he was not even a talisman, let alone a legend.  For a brief period in the Autumn of 1994, Duncan Ferguson fully deserved his awesome reputation.  Unfortunately, the spell was soon broken and all that massive potential squandered. There may well be justifications, such as his back problem, but his failure to realise how much he meant to so many Evertonians over the years and how easy it would have been to justify his hero status with a few proactive gestures.

He could have milked the applause Gravesen fashion; he could have applauded the fans at the end of games; in short he could have been a legend.  As Everton struggled with the loss of Thomas Gravesen after January 2005, Ferguson started to quietly make some amends, becoming something of a super-sub for the Blues with key interventions that earnt Everton around 15 extra points as Champions' League qualification was finally secured.   The goal he scored in a vital and passionate win over Manchester United was the pinnacle in a season of unexpected rehabilitation.

So perhaps he won't after all be remembered as much for his money-grabbing idleness, his disputes with manager and coach, his pathetically stupid sendings-off as for the inspirational goals he scored over his time at the club.  David Moyes offered him a one-year extension, while Blackburn tried to tempt him with a £12k/wk deal.

But the Big Yin finally went for another year at Goodison, with Everton rumoured to be guaranteeing him only £6k/wk, with extra cash on appearances.  However, he was nowhere nearly as effective off the bench as he had been the previous season, and it took him until the last minute of the last game of the season — in what became his last game we — to score his only goal of the season after a rebound when the keeper saved his penalty strike. 
That set up an emotional lap of appreciation after the West Brom game in which everyone seemed to know he unspoken truth: that this was the last time Big Dunc would play for Everton. 


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