Barry Ferguson

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This article is about the Scottish footballer. For the Irish footballer, see Barry Ferguson (Irish footballer).
Barry Ferguson
BarryFerguson Augsburg.jpg
Ferguson with Birmingham City, 2009 pre-season
Personal information
Full name Barry Ferguson[1]
Date of birth (1978-02-02) 2 February 1978 (age 36)
Place of birth Hamilton, Scotland
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Clyde (player/manager)
Youth career
1994–1996 Rangers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1996–2003 Rangers 151 (24)
2003–2005 Blackburn Rovers 36 (3)
2005–2009 Rangers 137 (20)
2009–2011 Birmingham City 72 (0)
2011–2014 Blackpool 80 (1)
2012 Fleetwood Town (loan) 6 (0)
2014– Clyde 2 (0)
National team
1997–1998 Scotland U21 12 (1)
1998–2009 Scotland 45 (3)
Teams managed
2014 Blackpool (caretaker)
2014– Clyde
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11:12, 23 January 2015 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).

Barry Ferguson MBE (born 2 February 1978)[3] is a Scottish footballer who is the player/manager of Scottish League Two club Clyde.

Ferguson has previously played for Rangers (two spells), Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Blackpool and Fleetwood Town. Towards the end of his playing spell with Blackpool, he was appointed caretaker manager of the club. Ferguson was appointed player/manager of Clyde in June 2014.

Ferguson made 45 appearances for the Scotland national team. In 2009, following behavioural incidents while on Scotland duty, he was stripped of the captaincy of Rangers and told he would no longer be considered for international selection.[4][5] Ferguson was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire on 17 June 2006.[6]

Early life[edit]

Born in Hamilton,[3] Ferguson has been a keen Rangers fan since childhood. His older brother, Derek, was a member of the Rangers squad in the 1980s (though the younger sibling's achievements would eventually eclipse those of the older sibling) and the young Barry was exposed to the inner circle of the club long before joining Rangers.

Club career[edit]

First spell at Rangers[edit]

Ferguson was promoted to the first team squad for the 1996–97 season. He made his debut on the last day of that season against Hearts on 10 May 1997. He would make a number of sporadic appearances the following season under manager Walter Smith's policy of easing him into the first team. Ferguson became a regular fixture in the first team during the 1998–99 season under new manager Dick Advocaat. The Dutchman soon secured Ferguson on a long-term contract as he became an important member of a multi-million pound squad. He scored his first career goal in a League Cup match against Alloa Athletic on 18 August 1998. Injury prevented him from being involved in the 1998–99 season run-in as the club achieved the Treble. Ferguson watched the 1999 Scottish Cup Final from the stands as Rangers won the match 1–0, thanks to Rod Wallace's 48th minute goal.

Ferguson was so influential the following season that he was given an extended six-year deal at Rangers in October 1999. He was named the Scottish Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year for 1999–2000, with Giovanni van Bronckhorst second.

In the autumn of 2000, with Rangers having a poor start to the season and the defence in particular having a horrendous run of form, Advocaat was already thinking about changes. Ferguson received minor facial injuries after engaging in a drunken hotel brawl following the 6–2 defeat to Celtic in August 2000. After being sent off in the match, Ferguson had made obscene gestures to the crowd then gone drinking in Bothwell in his club tracksuit.[7][8] When the club crashed out of the UEFA Champions League group stage at the hands of AS Monaco largely because of a mistake by captain Lorenzo Amoruso,[9] he was stripped of the captaincy and it instead went to the 22-year-old Ferguson.[10] An incident in which two bags of ice were thrown at the Celtic dug-out during a 2–0 defeat at Ibrox in September 2001 was attributed to Ferguson, who was criticised for his petulance and immaturity.[11][12] Celtic manager Martin O'Neill played down the incident, saying he thought the ice had been thrown by his club's doctor.[13] The young Ferguson would go on to successfully guide his team to a League Cup and Scottish Cup later that season, under manager Alex McLeish who replaced Advocaat in December 2001.

During their second season together, 2002–03, Ferguson captained the side to a domestic treble. After scoring eighteen goals from midfield he also won Scottish Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year and Scottish PFA Players' Player of the Year.

Move to Blackburn Rovers[edit]

On 29 August 2003, Ferguson joined Premier League club Blackburn Rovers for a fee of £7.5 million.[14] With Everton also chasing Ferguson,[15] Rangers had initially denied that he was leaving.[16] He made his Blackburn debut in a Premier League match against Liverpool on 19 September at Ewood Park,[17] and scored his first goal against the same team, also at Ewood Park, during a League Cup match on 29 October.[18]

Graeme Souness made Ferguson captain of Blackburn in July 2004 and he seemed to be adapting well to Premiership football, despite the team still struggling and a managerial change, which saw Mark Hughes replacing Souness. However, after just 16 months at the club, including a lengthy period out through injury after fracturing his kneecap in a Premiership match against Newcastle United,[19] Ferguson submitted a written transfer request, admitting that the draw of playing in the Premiership and a Lancashire derby could not compare with an Old Firm match.[20] After much discussion between the clubs, a fee of £4.5 million was agreed and Ferguson rejoined Rangers just before the close of the transfer window in January 2005.[21] Ferguson would later reveal in his book that the fee Rangers paid was actually £100,000 plus the fees Blackburn owed from the original transfer.[citation needed]

Return to Ibrox[edit]

Ferguson's second debut for Rangers came in a League Cup semi final victory over Dundee United. He was a 69th-minute substitute for Alex Rae during the 7–1 win. His first goal after his return was the opening goal in a 1–1 draw against Inverness CT on 5 March 2005. Ferguson played in the 2005 Scottish League Cup Final and was part of the Rangers team that won the league on the last day of the season.

Ferguson playing for Rangers against Barcelona in a UEFA Champions League match in 2007

At the start of the 2005–06 season, manager Alex McLeish re-appointed Ferguson as club captain. McLeish had not wanted to remove the captaincy mid-season from Fernando Ricksen. Ferguson played the latter part of the season carrying an ankle injury as Rangers ended up in a poor third place finish in the Scottish Premier League. At the end of the season, Ferguson revealed that he had snapped ligaments and confessed that he should have undergone the surgery sooner.[22]

After an incident in the dressing room at Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, on 27 December 2006,[23] it was announced on BBC Radio Scotland's New Year's Day broadcast of Sportsound that Ferguson had been stripped of the Rangers captaincy after a meeting with then manager Paul Le Guen. He was also dropped from the squad for the next match. Later Le Guen claimed Ferguson was undermining him.[24] The match at Motherwell was won 1–0 by Rangers, and goalscorer Kris Boyd reportedly showed solidarity with the deposed skipper by holding up 6 fingers: Ferguson's shirt number.[25] Following the resignation of Le Guen as manager on 4 January,[26] Ferguson was re-instated to the Rangers side by caretaker manager Ian Durrant and was also re-appointed as captain. Later that year, sports journalist Graham Spiers published Paul Le Guen: Enigma, documenting his tenure at the club. According to Spiers, Le Guen left the club because he was being "undermined" by other Rangers personnel, including Ferguson and then club doctor, Ian McGuinness.[27]

Barry Ferguson playing for Birmingham City

The 2007–08 season began well for Ferguson as he scored a brace in the first SPL match against Inverness.[28] His scoring form continued and he netted the second in a 3–0 win over rivals Celtic as well as in the UEFA Champions League against VfB Stuttgart.[29] The Old Firm goal was Ferguson's first against Celtic since the 2002 Scottish Cup Final. In January 2008, he scored a controversial goal in Rangers' 2007-08 Scottish League Cup semi-final win against Hearts. Ferguson later admitted handling the ball in the buildup to the goal but that the infringement was unintentional.[30]

Ferguson as captain of Blackpool with Kevin Nolan before the 2012 Football League Championship play-off Final

On 14 May 2008, Ferguson made his 400th appearance for Rangers in the UEFA Cup Final against Zenit Saint Petersburg at the City of Manchester Stadium. He captained the side to a 2–0 defeat.[31] The summer of 2008 saw Ferguson undergo an operation on a fresh injury problem that would see him ruled out until early November.[32] The injury was not the same one that plagued him towards the end of the last season.[32] He returned to the first team on 1 November in a 5–0 league win over Inverness at Ibrox. After an extended drinking session with Rangers and Scotland team mate Allan McGregor after the Netherlands match which they lost 3–0 and along with making inappropriate gestures while on the bench during a Scotland match against Iceland, he was stripped of the captain's arm band for both club and country.[4]

Ferguson made 82 appearances in European competitions, all of them for Rangers,[33][34] which makes him the record European appearance holder at the club. Ferguson overtook David Narey's record for the number of European appearances made whilst playing for a Scottish club, by starting in a UEFA Cup match against Werder Bremen. He broke Kenny Dalglish's record for the number of competitive European appearances by a Scottish footballer when he played in his 80th match in Europe, against Sporting CP.

Ferguson was inducted into the Rangers F.C. Hall of Fame.[when?][citation needed]

Birmingham City[edit]

On 17 July 2009, Ferguson completed a move to English Premier League newcomers Birmingham City on a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee,[35] reported as "in the region of £1.2m".[36] Joining up with boss Alex McLeish once again, the former Rangers manager said that Ferguson has "unfinished business in England" and that he believed the former Scottish international is "very capable of competing with the best players in the Premier League."[37] He made his debut in the opening game of the season, against Manchester United on 15 August 2009, and his first goal for the club came as the only goal of the FA Cup third round replay against Nottingham Forest in January 2010.[38] On his first return to former club Blackburn Rovers, in March 2010, Ferguson was reported by the Daily Mirror to have sworn at Rovers' manager Sam Allardyce.[39] Ferguson won the Birmingham City players' Player of the Year award for 2009–10.[40] Ferguson helped Birmingham beat Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup Final at Wembley, despite playing the last hour of the game with a broken rib.[41]


With Birmingham needing to reduce their wage bill following their relegation from the Premier League, Ferguson joined Championship club Blackpool on 22 July 2011 for an undisclosed fee, reported to be around £750,000. This enabled him to move closer to his family in Scotland, and he signed a two-year deal, with the option of staying on for a further year.[42][43][44] He was given the captain's armband for the club's opening League fixture at Hull City on 5 August.[45]

Ferguson scored his first goal for the Seasiders in a 2–0 victory over Ipswich Town at Bloomfield Road on 10 September.[46] It was his first goal in English league football for seven years.

After a four-month exile from the team, most of which was spent on loan at Fleetwood Town, Ferguson was reinstated to the side by Paul Ince on 20 February in his first game in charge, a 2–0 League defeat at Leeds United. He had been named as a substitute for the previous couple of games, under the caretaker-managership of Steve Thompson. He was given the captain's armband, in the absence of Alex Baptiste, for the home victory over Derby County on 26 April.

On 21 January 2014, Ferguson was installed as Blackpool's caretaker manager in the wake of Paul Ince's sacking. He initially stated that he would not be playing while in the managerial role,[47] but on 12 April, at Leeds United, he named himself in the starting line-up in an attempt to stave off the threat of relegation. He had not played since January. Ferguson left Blackpool at the end of the 2013–14 season.[48]

International career[edit]

Ferguson made twelve appearances for Scotland's under-21 team.[49] He made his full international debut at the age of 20 against Lithuania on 5 September 1998.[50] However, an injury-plagued season prevented him from picking up more caps. Indeed, Ferguson did not return to the Scotland set up until a year later, starting in a 2–1 win against Bosnia-Herzegovina on 4 September 1999.

Ferguson played alongside Craig Burley in both legs of Scotland's Euro 2000 play-off aggregate defeat to England. He was appointed captain of the national side in 2004 by then-manager Berti Vogts, following the retirement of Paul Lambert.

Ferguson captained Scotland a total of 28 times. He led the side to a single-goal victory over former World Champions France 1–0 at the Parc des Princes in Paris on 12 September 2007. This completed a double-header of 1–0 wins against the French during the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.

Ferguson has received criticism for being a disruptive influence on the team despite captaining his country for years.[51] On 3 April 2009, he was banned from ever representing Scotland again after serious breaches of squad discipline,[5] and the captain's armband was given to Darren Fletcher. Additionally, his club, Rangers, stripped Ferguson of his captain's role and suspended him for two weeks without pay.[4]

Following the dismissal of George Burley as manager of Scotland, SFA chief executive Gordon Smith confirmed that the incoming manager would be free to select Ferguson should he so wish.[52] On 6 July 2010, Scotland coach Craig Levein confirmed that Ferguson will not play for Scotland again. Levein had hoped he would return, but Ferguson informed him that he wanted to focus on club football instead.[53]

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Scotland's goal tally first.

Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 30 May 2000 Lansdowne Road, Dublin  Republic of Ireland 2–1 2–1 Friendly match
2. 7 September 2002 Svangaskarð, Toftir  Faroe Islands 2–2 2–2 UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying
3. 17 November 2007 Hampden Park, Glasgow  Italy 1–1 1–2 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying

Management career[edit]

Following the sacking of manager Paul Ince in January 2014, Ferguson was appointed as caretaker manager of Blackpool on 21 January 2014.[54] Although Blackpool won only three of their twenty games with Ferguson in charge, they avoided relegation by two points.[55] Ferguson left Blackpool at the end of the season.[48][56]

Clyde FC[edit]

Ferguson was appointed player-manager of Scottish League Two club Clyde in June 2014.[57] Clyde were drawn away to Rangers in the Challenge Cup after a 2–0 home win against Ayr United; Rangers won 8–1.[58] On 27 September, Ferguson made his playing debut against Annan Athletic in a 1–1 draw at Broadwood, but came off early in the second half with an injury.[59] Towards the end of the 2–0 defeat to Lowland League club Spartans in the second round of the Scottish Cup, Ferguson was sent to the stands after a verbal altercation with Clyde supporters.[60]

Personal life[edit]

Ferguson is married to Margaret. They have three children: Connor, Kyle and Cara.[61][62]

In August 2013, he began writing a weekly column for the Daily Record.[63]

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 24 January 2015

Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Blackpool (caretaker) England January 2014 June 2014 20 3 5 12 15.00
Clyde Scotland June 2014 present 26 7 5 14 26.92


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  63. ^ Barry Ferguson — Daily Record

External links[edit]