Duncan Ferguson

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Duncan Ferguson
Duncan Ferguson 2013.jpg
Ferguson in 2013
Personal information
Full name Duncan Cowan Ferguson[1]
Date of birth (1971-12-27) 27 December 1971 (age 47)
Place of birth Stirling, Scotland
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Everton (Coach)
Youth career
1989–1990 Carse Thistle
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1990–1993 Dundee United 77 (28)
1993–1994 Rangers 14 (2)
1994Everton (loan) 9 (2)
1994–1998 Everton 107 (35)
1998–2000 Newcastle United 30 (8)
2000–2006 Everton 123 (23)
Total 360 (98)
National team
1992–1997 Scotland 7 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Duncan Cowan Ferguson (born 27 December 1971) is a Scottish football player and coach. He began his professional career at Dundee United in 1990. He moved to Rangers in 1993 for a then British transfer record fee. He spent the remainder of his career in England, with two spells at Everton split by a stint with Newcastle United between 1998 and 2000. Ferguson retired from football in 2006.

During his career, Ferguson won the FA Cup with Everton in 1995. He was capped for Scotland seven times but made himself unavailable for selection for the national team due to a dispute with the Scottish Football Association.[2] He has scored more goals than any other Scottish player in England's Premier League since its creation in 1992.[3]

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. Eight of those red cards were in the Premier League, where he holds the joint-record for dismissals along with Patrick Vieira and Richard Dunne.[4] He was nicknamed "Big Dunc"[5] and "Duncan Disorderly".[6]

Club career[edit]

Dundee United[edit]

Born in Stirling, Ferguson played for the juvenile side Carse Thistle. Dundee United signed him as a schoolboy and he went on to win the BP Youth Cup in 1990.[7] Later that year Ferguson made his professional debut for Dundee United against Rangers at Ibrox Stadium on 10 November 1990.[7] His first goal was an extra time winner against East Fife in the Scottish Cup on 29 January 1991.[7]

The following season saw him become a first team regular, with 41 appearances and 16 goals he became the club's top scorer.[7] 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.[7]


Ferguson in April 1994, during his spell at Rangers

Ferguson moved to Rangers in 1993 for a transfer fee of £4 million, which set a new British record.[8]

During a match with Raith Rovers in April 1994, Ferguson headbutted the visitors' John McStay in the south-west corner of the Ibrox pitch.[9] Referee Kenny Clark did not see the incident, but he was subsequently charged and found guilty of assault.[10] As it was his third conviction for assault, in addition to two other convictions, he received a three-month prison sentence in October 1995.[10][11]

Ferguson scored a last–minute winner against Motherwell, from a Brian Laudrup assist on the first game of the season.[12] Four days later, Ferguson scored a hat–trick in a 6–1 win over Arbroath.[13]


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. Ferguson's move to Everton was later made permanent by Walker's successor Joe Royle, and Ferguson played a key role in not only saving Everton from relegation, but also helping them win the 1994–95 FA Cup.[14]

The subsequent, 1995–96 season was less successful for Ferguson. A persistent hernia problem caused him to be unavailable for large amounts of time, as did his brief spell in prison during the first half of the season.[15]

On 28 December 1997, Ferguson scored a hat-trick against Bolton Wanderers in a 3–2 victory, the first time that a hat-trick of headers had been scored in the Premier League.[16][17] Everton finished the season surviving relegation only on goal difference.

Ferguson was controversially sold to Newcastle United for a fee of £8 million in November 1998.[18] 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.[19]

Newcastle United[edit]

After bringing Ferguson to Newcastle team manager Ruud Gullit was swiftly rewarded when 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. That did not happen after Ferguson, yet again, was injured and, hence, played only seven times in 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 when injury again hindered his career making him unable to play in the last seven league matches of the season. Eventually his history of injuries made him unwanted at the club and he was sold back to Everton by Bobby Robson for £3.75 million; about half the price he had been bought for, from the same club, just two seasons earlier. His final appearance came in the FA Cup semi-final defeat to eventual winners Chelsea.

Return to Everton[edit]

Ferguson on his testimonial in 2015.

Ferguson was accused of racial abuse by Fulham's Luís Boa Morte after an FA Cup fourth round match in January 2004. The accusation was dismissed by the Football Association, who found insufficient evidence.[20]

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 seven-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".[21]

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. Ferguson was not given a new Everton deal and retired, moving his family to Mallorca and spurning advances from a number of clubs.[22]

Ferguson played for Everton in a testimonial match in his honour on 2 August 2015.[23]

International career[edit]

Ferguson made his first full international appearance for Scotland in May 1992.[24] His most memorable moment in a Scotland shirt was when he hit the crossbar with an overhead kick during a friendly match with Germany.[8] He made seven Scotland appearances in all, with his last appearance coming in February 1997.[24][25][26] He refused international selection after 1997, partly in protest against his treatment by the SFA after his conviction for assault on John McStay and in particular the imposition of a 12-game ban on top of his 3-month prison sentence.[27]

Coaching career[edit]

Having spent five years in Mallorca 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 left the club in 2005.[28] 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.[29] Although Ferguson remains disappointed with the Scottish FA for what he sees as a lack of support following his sentencing in 1995,[30] he enrolled on a nine-day Scottish FA organised coaching course in Largs, Scotland to earn a UEFA B-Licence.[31] In May 2012, he returned to Largs to achieve a UEFA A licence and in January 2013 he enrolled on a further course and is working towards a UEFA Pro-Licence. In February 2014 Ferguson was promoted to the first team coaching staff at Everton. His first game in the role was a home game against West Ham United on 1 March 2014.[32][33]

Personal life[edit]

Burglary attempts at his homes[edit]

In 2001 two burglars broke into Ferguson's home in Rufford, between Liverpool and Preston, at night. Ferguson confronted them and was able to detain one of them who subsequently spent three days in hospital.[34] The second man managed to flee but was eventually caught. Both men were sentenced to fifteen months' imprisonment for their actions.

Two years later Ferguson caught another burglar in his home in Formby; the burglar attacked Ferguson, who retaliated; the burglar, who was hospitalised, alleged that Ferguson had assaulted him, but this was dismissed by police.[34][35]

Convictions for physical altercations[edit]

Ferguson has had four convictions for assault - two arising from taxi–rank scuffles,[2] one an altercation with a fisherman in an Anstruther pub[2] and, the most infamous, his on–field headbutt on Raith Rovers defender John McStay in 1994 while playing for Rangers, which resulted in a rare conviction for an on-the-field incident.

The first incident led to a £100 fine for headbutting a policeman (he was fined a further £25 for a Breach of the Peace),[36] while the second resulted in a £200 fine for punching and kicking a supporter on crutches. He was sentenced to a year's probation for the third offence.[37] For the 1994 on-the-field headbutting of the opposition's footballer, he received and served a three-month jail term for assault.[38]

Ferguson's troubles with the law and his imprisonment inspired Finnish composer Osmo Tapio Räihälä to write a symphonic poem as a "musical portrait" of Ferguson, titled Barlinnie Nine, presumably a reference to HM Prison Barlinnie where Ferguson served his sentence.[39]


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

Career statistics[edit]



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 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 7 2 2 0 - - 9 2
1999–00 23 6 6 3 - 3 1 32 10
2000–01 Everton 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 5 0 0 2 1 - 37 6
2005–06 27 1 2 0 - 4 0 33 1
Total Scotland 91 30 11 6 7 5 - 109 41
England 269 68 24 10 14 5 7 1 314 84
Career total 360 98 35 16 21 10 7 1 423 126


Dundee United



Newcastle United



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  4. ^ "Premier League is 25 years old: Facts and figures behind the first quarter-century". 8 August 2017.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Fearon, Matthew (3 March 2010). "The ten best self-destructive sports stars". The Independent. London.
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  17. ^ "West Bromwich Albion 3–1 Swansea City". BBC Sport. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
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  20. ^ Nisbet, John (1 April 2004). "FA dismisses Ferguson racial abuse allegations". The Independent. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  21. ^ Edwards, John (5 October 2007). "Making space on planet Scharner". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 29 October 2007.
  22. ^ "Review of the Year 2006". Article on Evertonfc.com. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  23. ^ McVeigh, Niall (2 August 2015). "Wayne Rooney makes his Everton return in Duncan Ferguson testimonial". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  24. ^ a b Duncan Ferguson at the Scottish Football Association
  25. ^ Football: Scots open door to reluctant Ferguson, The Independent, 3 April 1999
  26. ^ Silent hero enjoying life, The Guardian, 19 March 2000
  27. ^ Ferguson in ToffeeWeb Archived 7 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
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  30. ^ "Duncan Ferguson ends feud by joining SFA coaching course". Scotsman. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  31. ^ Swan, Craig (6 June 2011). "Paul Hartley: Joining SFA coaching course felt like I was just starting out in the game". Daily Record. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  32. ^ "Everton - TEAMtalk - Latest Football News, Results and Fixtures".
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  35. ^ "Jail for Ferguson's bruised burglar". BBC. 13 February 2003. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  36. ^ Duncan Cowan Ferguson v Andrew Christie Normand (Procurator Fiscal, Glasgow) 1995 S.C.C.R. 770
  37. ^ "Football: Trials of the pounds 4m man: James Traynor looks at the troubled life and career of Rangers' record signing", The Independent, 24 October 1993
  38. ^ Pattullo, Alan (13 April 2014). "Duncan Ferguson: Glasgow kiss that lingered". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  39. ^ "Osmo Tapio Räihälä".
  40. ^ "Ex-Everton icon backs battle to keep club in city". Liverpool Daily Post. 5 April 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
  41. ^ Duncan Ferguson at Soccerway
  42. ^ "Scottish Cup Final Archive: Dundee United v Motherwell 3-4". Scottish Football Association.
  43. ^ "Scotland 1993/94".
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  46. ^ Double joy for Man United, BBC News, 22 May 1999
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External links[edit]