The city of Liverpool. A city of music. A city of football. A city where you are either a Red or Blue.
For Duncan Ferguson, there is no question where his loyalties lie. The Scot is an adapted Evertonian; after making nearly 250 league appearances for the Toffees, he is a real Merseyside cult hero.
Despite his name being forever linked with the North West of England, Ferguson started his career in his homeland, Scotland. Graduating through the Carse Thistle academy, the Stirling-born striker began his footballing career featuring for Dundee United; ironically, making his debut against a future team of his, Rangers.
After registering 14 league goals for Jim McClean’s men in 1991-92, it was time to move on to new pastures. By 1993, he had made the move to Ibrox. While this spell would only last a year with the Glasgow side, it would prove to be a definitive time in Ferguson’s career.
Why? Because, it was at this point that the public began to identify the Scot’s temper, after headbutting Raith Rover’s John McStay in April 1994 – it would lead to him being sentenced to three months in prison, making him the first ever British international to be jailed for assaulting a fellow player on the field of play.
He wasn’t afraid of breaking disciplinary records, that’s for sure!
By the time he was sentenced, Ferguson was applying his trade south of the border; former Norwich City boss Mike Walker had persuaded the Scot to join Everton on a loan deal in October 1994 – who knew, at that stage, that it would be the start of a long love affair with the 1987 English champions.
After Walker’s successor, Joe Royle, signed Ferguson permanently the following year, the former Dundee man became a fans favourite. Despite a frustrating season in the Premier League that year, Everton enjoyed FA Cup success.
Ferguson’s first taste of Wembley ended in triumph; Dave Watson lifted the FA Cup for Everton for the first time since 1984 after Paul Rideout’s only goal earnt the Toffee’s a 1-0 victory over Manchester United who, just a week earlier, missed out on the league title to Blackburn Rovers.
A frustrating campaign followed. Five goals in 18 league appearances was not ideal for Ferguson; his game-time was cut short due to injury and he spent time behind bars. However, the following two seasons proved to be slightly more successful.
Despite the North-West side not flourishing as a team, Ferguson certainly cultivated his game immeasurably, the pick of the bunch being a hat-trick against Bolton Wanderers just days after Christmas Day in 1997 – surely it was the greatest Christmas present possible for any Evertonian.
The goal would prove to be crucial as Everton, at the end of the season, only remained in the division on goal difference.
By 1998, it was time to move on. He made the move from the North West to the North East to partner Alan Shearer at Newcastle United; “Sexy football” was surely guaranteed as manager Ruud Gullit promised, right?
It didn’t quite work out that way, as Ferguson was only able to find the net on eight occasions in the league, during his two-year spell with the Toon (he was able to score eight league goals within four months at a stage while at Goodison).
So, surely it just felt right to return to Stanley Park? In 2000, he returned to Everton. It was clear, however, he had not lost his aggression.
His lowest point came in January 2006, when referee Mike Dean sent off Ferguson for a confrontation for with Paul Scharner; it was his seventh red card in the world’s greatest league – equalling Patrick Viera’s record.