MAR
08
2012
Azzurri Gio...
The Power Of One
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Duncan Ferguson Tells A Fine Tale
Duncan Ferguson Tells A Fine Tale
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They say you should never meet your heroes but at a recent charity event I had the chance to meet my biggest footballing hero of all time, and didn't. Instead I sat for most of the evening no more than five feet from the man, yet although I considered approaching him several times there was something holding me back. This wasn't because I thought it would be a disappointment, there was absolutely no chance of that, it was more the fact that I didn't trust myself to be able to speak to him without blubbering.

I'm not known as an over emotional person, with "cold hearted bastard" being a phrase I've often heard aimed at me, but there are a few things that are guaranteed to bring a tear to my eyes such as the sound of Z Cars, the crowd chanting the name of Duncan Ferguson, and the sight of the man himself filling up as he acknowledges his fans. On Thursday night all three of those things combined as Duncan attended a charity event in aid of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, and I found myself amongst the standing ovation that greeted him as he entered the room, using my shoulders to wipe tears from my cheeks, hoping that nobody noticed.

People say there is an aura about Duncan, and although I've never really understood what an aura actually is I got the feeling as I looked around the room that every man present wished that he was Dunc's brother, grandfather, dad, son or best friend, while every female simply wanted to be his wife, (along with one misguided male fan who shouted his proposal during the question and answer section of the evening).

Somehow his presence in the room seemed to make everyone feel special, honoured to be in his company, but also made to feel very welcome by Dunc himself.

Duncan's reaction appeared to be a mixture of embarrassment and pride, still looking like the young Scotsman attending his first Everton press conference while at the same time being shocked that he could still command this outpouring of adulation simply by entering a room. He shouldn't have been surprised, he is a legend.

Since the first day he joined Everton I have only ever encountered two Evertonians who weren't fans of Duncan. They pointed out his bad behaviour on and off the field, his numerous injuries, and the fact that they felt let down by his avoidable red cards. I'm not proud to say that I took these comments almost personally and my encounters with these people resulted in stand up confrontations, heated but fortunately not violent, and with neither side willing to back down on their stance.

Duncan may not be perfect but I accept all of his faults. His lack of discipline and reaction to provocation on the pitch was well known and easily exploited by opposing players, (Freund and Scharner to name just two). Injuries happen to every footballer and although Dunc had more than his fair share I don't think you can actually blame him for that. Then there is the claim that he was to blame for the "Long Ball" tactic. You may remember this one was where every player would launch the ball towards him from all over the pitch, expecting him to trap it on his head, totally ignoring the fact that he preferred the ball played to his feet, or pulled back from the goal line for him to run on to. I suppose it's his fault for being six foot four.

When people point out these faults, and then follow it up with goalscoring stats showing that even our previous Ferguson, (Mick to those of you too young to remember him), had a better goals per game ratio and ask me what Duncan has ever done for us I wonder if they've ever attended a game where he has been involved.

I've watched some great Everton teams with some fantastic players but I can't remember the sight of any other player lifting the atmosphere of the entire stadium the way that Duncan Ferguson could.

My first Goodison hero Joe Royle was quoted as saying that maybe Duncan had become a legend before he became a footballer at Everton, and that may have some truth to it. I prefer to go with the description from one of the guests sharing our table last week, (who also didn't trust himself to go and speak to Dunc), who described him as "A Hero When We Needed One". That's what he was, and judging by the reaction he still gets now, that's exactly what he still is.

GIO

Comments about The Power Of One
11
Great Read I Was There Also At The Charity Night. The Funny Memories He Shared With Us. Even Tho There Were 2 Other Legends In The Room Temple An Snodin Nothin Seems To Beat Duncans Legendary Status Its Like He's The Fans Champion. The Question At The End Were A Woman Asked If He Would Ever Be Evertons Manager You Could Hear A Pin Drop Waiting For His Answer, He Couldnt Answer That. Duncan Loves Everton An The Fans An Thats Why He Will Always Be Loved By The Fans... He Could Enter Another Charity Night When He Will Be 90yrs Of Age An Still Get A Huge Cheer. The Man Is God
Peter Dutton, Wirral, 11:56 PM 9/03/2012
10
I remember standing on the Gwladys end in the sun when Dunc and Cadamatri scored in the derby, thought my heart was going to burst!!
Neil, Wirral, 5:42 PM 9/03/2012
9
A true legend indeed. I doubt I'll ever feel the same way about another player again. I'm comfortable with that.
Ronnie Mukherjee, Liverpool, 12:59 PM 9/03/2012
8
One word sums up this fellow " LEGEND"
Craig, Wigan, 12:14 PM 9/03/2012
7
So nicely put. Cast aside the stats etc etc etc. Duncan Ferguson single handedly lifted the team, the fans and the spirit of the club at a time when we were a hairs width away from falling into the abyss. He was not perfect but he was 100% Everton. Everyone at Everton has stood on the shoulders of this giant man.
Peter011270, London, 11:34 PM 8/03/2012
6
I was there, what a man. Didn't think I could think any higher of him but I was wrong. He waited to shake hands and get photos with everyone. He even indulged my drunken request for him to friend me for a photo! Legend.
Ant, Liverpool, 5:47 PM 8/03/2012
5
The thing that sticks in my memory with Duncan is the first time I met him alongside members of my family. The club used to have meals in one of the lounges on the Friday before a home game. It was £10 a head, and all the players used to come along after training and meet the fans. The first time we went was in August 1995. My younger sister was 8 at this time and into football, but hadn't necessarily settled on a team yet. Indeed, over the course of the 94/95 season she supported pretty much every team in the league for a short time! However, from the moment she met Dunc it was only Everton. She's now 25 and still as much Royal Blue as ever. She talks more footy sense than most lads do, and at her year 11 parents evening her form tutor - another Blue - made a point of telling my parents how incredible her knowledge was when it came to arguing the Blue cause with her classmates. Anyway, the first time she spoke to Duncan she was unusually shy and just asked for his autograph. About an hour and a half later she went back to get a signature for a teacher at her school. Dunc remembered her name, and had a chat with her for about 10 minutes about Everton and football in general. An hour and a half doesn't sound long, but there were a lot of people at this event, and Dunc was the star attraction. An absolute gent.
Grongy, Salford, 5:45 PM 8/03/2012
4
I met the Big Man at Finch Farm about a month ago. Absolutly great fella. Only problem was I asked for a pic and asked the wife to take it and she pressed the wrong button on my phone. She's now my ex wife.
Ian , St Helens, 4:50 PM 8/03/2012
3
I met him once when i was working at the fair in southport, he was there with his kids and wife and he came up to my window for some doughnuts(6 in a bag) i put about 15 in his bag and told him not to worry about the money. Giving away free food was a no no and was an instant dismissal but when i was asked about it i didnt even try to deny it, my boss being a blue told every red who was calling for my head to do one.
Mark, Liverpool, 2:15 PM 8/03/2012
2
I met him a few years back at a charity event. He does so much off the field and has always been a great ambassador for Everton. People don't see that side of him...he raised money all over the country for good causes...I even mentioned it in the tribute to him done a few years ago in a book...can't remember what it was called, still have it stored away somewhere...So I don't care what he did on the field, he was a motivator, he fired everyone up before a game, and I was more than glad to go and watch him play in our blue shirt and sometimes would have paid double to see him score winners against the so called Big 4 at that time...Love him to death....
Richy Styles, Kirkdale, 12:50 PM 8/03/2012
1
I met Dunc once when I went to Bellefield to watch Everton train. I was that much of a blubbering idiot that I just held out my shirt for him to sign and shook. He said I take it you want me to sign that to which I just nodded. I'm not known for being speechless but still couldn't find the words to say when I got my camera out so again he said you want a picture with me and again I just nodded and managed to mumble out a thanks. He is such a great guy and just laughed off my starstruck status made me feel comfortable with him although I couldn't speak :) best day of my life :)
Stephanie , Liverpool, 12:44 PM 8/03/2012
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