The word legend is one of the most overused in football. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word legend as…
An extremely famous or notorious person, especially in a particular field or A traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but not authenticated.
Well I think Duncan Ferguson can fulfil both of those definitions. His standing amongst Evertonians, certainly those who had to withstand years of mediocrity in the mid to late 90s and at the turn of the Millennium, is unrivalled. A Scotsman who fell in love with Everton, the city of Liverpool and Scousers. He was a leader on the pitch, a man feared by the opposition and on his day almost unplayable.
There are also many legends told about this great man. Like the story of an unfortunate burglar who certainly picked the wrong house when he broke into the Ferguson residence. There are the stories of numerous bust ups with managers, particularly his fellow firery Scot, David Moyes and then there’s Duncan the Pigeon fancier.
On Sunday Everton take on Villarreal at Goodison for Duncan Ferguson’s richly deserved testimonial. He will be greeted by thousands of adoring Evertonians and once again his name will be sung loudly and proudly from the Gwldays Street. For one day only, Evertonians will have a number nine they can be proud of once more.
Ferguson originally joined the Blues on loan with the club in a perilous position at the foot of the Premier League table. It was intended by all parties to be a short term arrangement but a managerial change and a goal against Liverpool was about to change his life forever.
The Everton public fell in love with the combative Scot immediately, his commitment to the cause set him above his peers and his vital goals secured the Blues their Premier League lifeline. Unfortunately injury prevented him from playing a more starring role in Everton’s victorious FA Cup campaign that same season but he still dragged himself off the treatment table to play a bit part in the final at Wembley.
Ferguson had all the ingredients to be a top centre forward. Strong in the air, but with a fantastic touch and a powerful left foot, Ferguson was blessed with the skills to be a world-class footballer. Much to his displeasure he was also fragile, both in mind and body. All too often, his head would explode and as his temper flared, the inevitable red card would follow. He was also beset with injury throughout his career and despite representing Everton for a total of 10 years, he only managed 273 appearances (191 starts), scoring a total of 72 goals.
He often won games almost single-handed, with memorable matches against Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle living long in the memory. Ferguson often raised his game when the big teams were in town and when he made his final appearance for the Blues, against West Brom in 2006, he capped it with an equalizing goal in the closing minutes of the game.
In a club with a rich history, Ferguson is described by many as a hero, a true Goodison Giant, an Evertonian and an honorary scouser.