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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Empty room #3 - Duncan Ferguson

The Big Man – Duncan Ferguson

A few words of advice to any budding burglar. Stay the fuck away from Big Dunc’s house. The plush Merseyside residences of many a Liverpool and Everton star have been the target for the more scrupulous of the unscrupulous. Rich pickings are there to be had – you could even watch the player in action on one of their plasma screens, safe in the knowledge that it’ll be hours before they get back. There are of course, episodes where crime doesn’t pay. In fact, there are two well documented episodes where crime only results in a trip to casualty on the way to the cop shop.

In 2001 Barry Dawson was beaten up and sat on after being found with an accomplice a la chez Ferguson. Two years later, Carl Bishop was meted out the same rough justice at the hands of Big Dunc. This time the would be thief was hospitalised for two days. Seriously – stay the fuck away from Big Dunc’s house.

Every man has the right to defend his property and his family. Ferguson went far beyond that on the pitch in 1994. Whilst playing for Rangers he tussled with Raith Rovers defender John McStay, Big Dunc felt aggrieved that anyone should even attempt to outmuscle him, and promptly head butted McStay in the face. I believe it’s known as a Glasgow kiss. The referee bizarrely didn’t even give a yellow, but the courts took a dimmer view and jailed Ferguson for three months. It was one of four convictions for assault, including another head-butt, to a Policeman.

Big Dunc’s fearsome reputation preceded him on the pitch, there is simply no such thing as a 50-50 ball with Duncan Ferguson involved. Nine red cards in total put him high up the all time hall of shame, but he also scored a lot of goals in two spells at Everton, split by a short time at Newcastle. It was Everton that really took him to heart, as they do for anyone scoring in an Merseyside derby on their full debuts. He first arrived on loan to try and rescue a woeful campaign, and ended up becoming the club’s then record signing that same season for £4 million. He became the club’s first choice target man, and later captained the side.

Newcastle was a less happy place for Big Dunc. Arriving for around £8 million, he endured two injury hit campaigns before being sold back to Everton for half the price. During his second stint at Everton, the club whose crest he has tattooed on his arm, he produced one of his more memorable displays of anger and violence, strangled Steffen Freund after receiving a second yellow.

My favourite Big Dunc tear up was in a Merseyside derby. Paul Ince challenges Ferguson on a loose ball, and Big Dunc obvsiously didn’t like that very much at all. He grabs him round the body and just slings him to the ground. Paul Ince, eager to preserve his own hard-man rep, bounces straight back up and looks for the culprit –Ahhhh fuck! It’s Duncan Ferguson – fair challenge then – he gives the big man a pat on the back and jogs off. ~The Guv’nor indeed!

Big Dunc was the hard-man’s hard-man, and not someone to be fucked about with.

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