The Legend

by   |   08/12/2019  23 Comments  [Jump to last]

This is the first time I have used this phrase without quotation marks. It was always intended as a pejorative comment on Duncan Ferguson. I have been relentlessly critical of him, mostly as a player, but as coach too.

I stand by much of what I said about him as a player, seeing as I witnessed it with my own eyes. However, I have criticised him as a coach and, on reflection, I must say it is without any evidence. I have no idea what his role has been.

Duncan Ferguson has changed and I am ashamed of my response to that. If anyone can see how change is possible, it should be me, but, by fuck, I am quick to judge.

Also, I saw great Everton teams. The Catterick team and the Kendall team. So I had an idea of what a legend should be. However, many younger Blues didn't and Duncan was their legend. So, it was as a sanctimonious aul shit that I decided he wasn't.

Yesterday was a moment of epiphany for me. It was a day when legends were made. Duncan did something special. I will never forget his joy, neither will the ballboys.

Duncan Ferguson, Everton Legend.

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Tony Abrahams
1 Posted 08/12/2019 at 20:03:09
I’ve never considered Duncan a legend Andy, because he never got as much out of his football career has he should have done. He was on his day a fantastic centre-forward, brave, skilful and powerful, and he always played so much better in the bigger games.

Maybe he knows he could have done more? Maybe that’s why he’s come back into the game on the coaching side?

He loves Everton and like you have said Andy, his passion really shone through at Goodison yesterday, with his team displaying all the courage you would expect from an Everton team, and many people feeling that Duncan might actually be the one to steady the ship, which is a thought that would have been unthinkable even yesterday morning before he got the players to play?

Don Alexander
2 Posted 08/12/2019 at 20:22:35
Well said Tony, he truly squandered what should have been a magnificent playing career, treated the club and the fans with consistent disdain in the process and also managed to render himself bankrupt. Jeez.

Yesterday was a major surprise to me. I still wouldn't trust him and was relieved to hear him say, in effect, he knows his place and isn't seeking promotion. The part that perplexes me is yesterday he gushed rampant adoration of all things Everton yet for years he's sat on the bench showing not so much as a flicker of animation as the ineptitude on the pitch rolls on. Not even when we score. Why was that? Who was forbidding him to display emotion? Why did he kowtow to it? Or is he still interested only in himself?

And, for the record, if animated displays like yesterday work as they did yesterday I hope the next manager ensures he's there at every match doing the very same thing.

Laurie Hartley
3 Posted 08/12/2019 at 20:29:30
Andy - don’t knock yourself around, you are not Robinson Crusoe.

It was a great day for all of us and the big fella. What a fine figure he cut in that suit, collar, and tie walking out in front of the Goodison crowd.

Lots of lessons for us all from Saturday - such as - you can play Schneiderlin and Sigurddson in the same team.

I thought they did a terrific job in front of the back four.

John McFarlane Snr
4 Posted 08/12/2019 at 21:09:47
Hi Tony [1],

I think it's true that Duncan Ferguson cannot be considered an Everton legend in comparison with Dixie Dean, Tommy Lawton, Alex Young, Alan Ball etc, but he was (on occasion) inspirational, and yesterday was one such occasion.

I'm not suggesting that he should be appointed as manager of the club on the basis of one performance. As you will have gathered from some of my posts, I steer clear of subjects I have no control of, like managerial appointments, team selection, formation, or tactics.

I abstained from reading posts since the defeats at the hands (and feet) of Leicester City and Liverpool, anticipating mass criticism of club and individuals, although I have only read some of the posts I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised to find that my expectation was unfounded.

Rightly or wrongly, I place my trust in the Board of Directors to act in the best interests of the club, it's all I can do as a supporter. I believe that there's nothing to be gained from doing anything else.

Returning to yesterday's events, I feel a lot better than I did on Friday evening. I got into conversation with a Father and Son (of 7 or 8) at Kirkdale Station after the game, and it turned out that it was the little boy's first visit to Goodison Park, I got as much pleasure from his obvious delight as I did from the victory, another addition to the ranks, he was absolutely buzzing.

Peter Mills
5 Posted 08/12/2019 at 21:29:52
Andy, I know from your posts in the past that redemption is crucial, profound and life-changing.

Who knows how important yesterday was for Duncan Ferguson? Good luck to the man.

Andrew Dempsey
6 Posted 08/12/2019 at 21:56:12
Fair play, Andy

I know older blues than me (I was 15 in ‘94) who are convinced Dunc is a cancer within the club. They don't get what we went through as kids in the '90s. And, it'll take a lot for them to back down from their position, so fair play to you, lad.

You can't deny how powerful and talismanic this guy is when the whistle blows, off the pitch he can seem clueless and dim-witted. But when it kicks off, he's a different person. Pure animal magnetism – this is what we younger Blues felt in the ‘90s. And, you can't deny the connection he has with people now, it's just there, it's real.

If Everton don't engender this good feeling, and make another foolish appointment, it really will be a travesty.

Ryan Holroyd
7 Posted 08/12/2019 at 22:04:44
To me, first watching Everton regularly in the 90s, Duncan is a hero to me and an Everton icon. He was a much better player than many give him credit for. He played in some god awful Everton teams.

Who cares if he's been bankrupt previously. Lots of (famous) people have been.

He does a hell of alot of the under privileged people of Liverpool, alot unreported. He's one of the kindest guys you'll meet.

He's Everton through and through and I love the man. I hope he's the next manager of Everton.

Paul Hewitt
8 Posted 08/12/2019 at 22:23:28
Wasn't Pep the Barcelona B manager when he was promoted to manage the first team? Now I'm not saying Dunc will get to be as good as Pep. But we won't know unless he's given a go.
Joe McMahon
9 Posted 08/12/2019 at 22:29:58
Paul, steady@@8 steady on. This is one game gone, slow down fella.
Stan Schofield
10 Posted 08/12/2019 at 22:46:30
Whoever the new permanent manager is, a requirement should be that he can take the squad he finds himself with, and organise them into an effective team. I've never bought the notion of a new manager needing new blood because the existing players don't fit 'his style'. He should be able to organise the existing players at his disposal.

Yes, he can ask for new signings to improve things as required, but getting the existing players to perform must be a given. Without this, we have a never-ending cycle of departures and signings to fit the tastes of succeeding managers.

With Ferguson, I get the impression that he'll set about organising any group of players according to their abilities. That's what he did yesterday. I'm not suggesting he should be the permanent manager, only that this attribute should be a requirement.

Jerome Shields
11 Posted 08/12/2019 at 23:05:50

If he manages to beat Man Utd away from home, will you still say steady on.

That performance on Saturday wasn't a fluke or luck. It was a well selected, well motivated, well organised and tactically astute team. They definitely did not get that way having a meeting amongst themselves. Duncan got them that way in half a day.

This week he will be at Finch Farm with a squad that will be hanging on his every word, with regained confidence. What's more Duncan has more than half a day to prepare them for the next game.

I bet he has thought a lot about, how to beat Man Utd at Old Trafford and the squad are going to hear about it this week.

Duncan has had a win, using his own ideas and has implemented them successfully. He will have increased confidence in his own ability no w.

Last year, when asked by a fan/ToffeeWebber; What are you doing about Evertons poor performance? Duncan said, 'My hands are tied. '

They are not tied now.

Andrew James
12 Posted 09/12/2019 at 00:21:47
Andrew Dempsey

I was 16 when he came to us in 1994 and you are spot on.

There was an urgency and thrust yesterday that reminded me of the Dogs of War. The media and other fans used that term against us but actually the Dogs of War were wonderful. We combined tackling, directness with flamboyance hence why Limpar was so important.

Now we might just do similar if Sidibe continues his crosses and Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison get onto stuff while the others bite into challenges.

I loved the '95 side.

Andrew Dempsey
13 Posted 09/12/2019 at 01:51:01
Regardless of my love for Dunc,
I think, on a purely technical level, anyone new guy coming in and not playing two strikers up front close together, will immediately lose the crowd, I feel.
It makes everyone feel like we’re trying to win the game, and we always have a chance (7 shots on target) if even we’ve only got 30% possession.
We’ve been shite for a while really.
Big Dunc’s style is the exact way to go at the moment; we’ll win most home games, and we’ll gain confidence as a side. This team still needs to be built.
Players playing for each other regularly, partnerships forming, we haven’t really seen any of this from these players yet.
Duncan is the right man at the right time.
Whatever you think of him, those players love him. If I looked at his YouTube reel as a young player there, I’d be seriously impressed.
His goals were World Class and unstoppable. Joe Royle told him he could be Christian Vieri if he put his mind to it. He didn’t.
But Duncan was that good, though. Maybe he regrets not using his powers fully. Maybe he has something to prove?
Everything just points towards him being our next great manager.

Andrew Dempsey
14 Posted 09/12/2019 at 03:23:19
But yeh, the ‘95 side.

Was at Wembley, semi-final was the only game I couldn’t go to.
You knew we were going to win the cup, it was the strongest feeling, and everyone had it. We all kept it quiet though, just in case.
Limpar was the outstanding skilful player, you’re right. A joy to watch most weeks really, I loved him.
I had Parkinson 18 on the back of my kit, almost as a joke at first really if I’m honest, but then eventually respected myself for doing it.
I used to get laughed at in 5 a side games, wearing that, because I got it done early doors, like right away when we first signed him.
People were like ‘Who?’
I was a complete pisstaker, and still am, I’ll admit. It was meant to be a joke.
But I ended up wearing that shirt till it no longer fit.

Big Dunc has stirred up some old feelings. The Board have to pretend they’re looking for someone, keep Dunc on his toes.
But if he ends up having 5-6 games and wins most of them, they have to give it him till May. Keeps the perfect amount of pressure on him.
They should still continue the search for a manager and Dunc should be aware of it.
Gives him and Goodison Park the sense of urgency it’s so desperately been missing.
And not to mention, actual emotion and on the edge of your seat (or standing on the flipping thing), so anxious and desperate for us to win.
He’s a natural leader, he made me care so much. I haven’t been like that watching a game for ages.
It felt like something was ‘back’.
It was that good but anxious feeling.
The drama, the weight of being an Evertonian was back, and it was a great but always slightly worrying feeling.

It wasn’t a comforting feeling, but it was exciting. Why do I care so much?
Best not trying to put it into words, but Duncan’s shamanic presence just crystallises it all perfectly for Evertonians at the moment.
We understand this, we can respond to this, this feels real.
Come on, Dunc!

Derek Knox
15 Posted 09/12/2019 at 09:40:47
Some very interesting responses to Andy's article, and accurate observations, yes Saturday was just the tonic we all desperately needed, and while it was not a masterclass, it just shows what can be achieved with a group of players that many, thought incapable of hard graft, were transformed and galvanised.

I have been one of Schneiderlin's biggest critics, but even he surprised me, with a commitment never seen before, and able to dispel the myth that he and Siggy can function in the same side.

The big question now, and it remains to be seen, what will be their collective approach at Old Trafford, can they replicate Saturday's never say die performance, against a much improved United side?

I am not getting too carried away, enjoyed the euphoria of Saturday, and the feel good factor that produced, but does Dunc stay in the post, or is he not ready long term? If someone else is decided upon, where does that leave Duncan? More questions and too early in my opinion to be answered.

John McFarlane Snr, great to see you back with us, although your absence has been relatively short you have, nevertheless been missed.

Steve Ferns
16 Posted 09/12/2019 at 09:50:41
DK - you saw the commitment from Schniederlin several times in the past. When it suits Morgan the individual, you see a performance like that. He's playing to work his way into the thoughts of the incoming manager, or to get himself a move. There's a misconception that Schneiderlin was a Silva favourite, when he was 4th or 5th choice, with Davies at the start of the season. Injuries have given him a go in the side. He did not give his all, looking at times like he was going through the motions, although he was still capable of some good moments. The most infuriating thing about Schneiderlin is how good he could and should be.

John McF Snr, welcome back mate. Glad your nephew was on though to make sure we knew you were well. On that note, any sign of Darren Hinds yet?

Adrian Evans
17 Posted 09/12/2019 at 10:16:46
Weve all witnessed the abject football Silva was playing.
This role it out from the back way is ok as part of a system.
When one of ya major weapons, Pickfords distrabution from the boot om the deck or hand is not used, ?????
Of course play football on the deck, feom the back if the opposition have been forced to play 9 in their third from Pickford having in his possesion.
Thats creating the space to play.
Try plaing through RS,Utd Spurs now and get countered.

Dunc will develope some pretty tasty tactics I reckon over the next few weeks.
Nothing complicated, but if the opposition drop off into their box because they will have watched us now, we can play in the middle half up to their third.
Dunc aint stupid,he will have solutions.
But they all know what there going to get coming to Goodison now,thank christ.We earn the space to play.
Throw it in the mixer and we will score goals.
Go get another proper No9, what about the young 6'5" lad playing for Wales,Euro's, hes perfect for Goodison Park.Richarlison can create havoc everywhere then.
Dun, leave him with it.Make a condition of the next manager he must have a role,a voice on the bench.

Ajay Gopal
18 Posted 09/12/2019 at 17:33:04
Nice and honest article, Andy. Like many Evertonians, I desperately want Dunc to succeed, not for his sake, but for the sake of our club. We have wasted too much time and money without seeing success.

This club deserves to see success soon. I suddenly feel more confident with exactly the same set of players as last week, who I thought were not good enough for a top team.

Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin seem threatening, and I don't think any defence would fancy playing against these 2. If Walcott, Iwobi, Sigurdsson and Schneiderlin can continue with the effort they put in last week, complemented by the return of Delph and Davies's energy, we will not get overrun in midfield.

In the French duo of Sidibe and Digne, we have very technically gifted full backs, who can be as good as any in the league. Pickford, Holgate and Keane complete a very tough, British defence. In Kean, Bernard, Mina, Baningime, Gbamin, we have exciting young talent ready to come in and contribute. I hope Dunc can push on and show us what he is made of as a manager.

Kevin Prytherch
19 Posted 09/12/2019 at 17:44:38
What’s the harm at the moment in saying “we’ll stick with Dunc until
The new year then re-evaluate then”. It buys us time to search for the right manager and gives Dunc a few games to prove himself.

In January - if he’s still doing well, it’s “Dunc stays in charge until the end of the season”. That gives Dunc, the board and the fans an extended period of time to see whether he is the best solution going forward. It also gives us plenty of time if he isn’t to court the best possible replacement.

I can’t imagine any other manager getting a performance out of the players like Dunc should against Utd. Imagine if we appoint a new manager now and play 4-2-3-1 and lose then next 2 games. Duncan - and Everton - have effectively got a free pass for the next 2 games at least.

Adam Carey
20 Posted 09/12/2019 at 21:22:11
To top it all off, it seems he wore Howard Kendall's watch during the match at the request of Lily Kendall.
Brent Stephens
21 Posted 09/12/2019 at 21:23:35
And the watch didn't work. Time stood still.
Andrew James
22 Posted 10/12/2019 at 01:06:02

The crash test dummy will promptly return to the cowardly useless millionaire he is. I give it 3 games.

He puts in a great performance under a new coach and then lets them down badly.

Worst Everton player in a decade.

Steve Carse
23 Posted 19/12/2019 at 23:42:13
The decision to replace our last caretaker manager was undertaken too quickly. The dreadful performance under Unsworth at Southampton led directly to the awful decision to get Allardyce in. Unsworth then proceeded to wield the axe on some of his senior players who had downed tools at Southampton and we beat WHU 4-0. Too late. The Allardyce appointment was made between the two fixtures.

I fear nothing has been learned from this episode. Our sole target this season will be staying in the division. There is no one more likely to succeed in that than Ferguson. There has been enough evidence in his three games in charge to counter the widely held belief that the man had no tactical competence. Instead, he has chosen sides that do a job, tweaking the approach between and within games.

It would obviously be a loss of face to defer negotiations with Ancelotti at this advanced stage but maybe Ancelotti himself would not be averse to taking over in the summer instead of now.

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