Queen of the South (1st spell)
Willie Ferguson first joined fledgling Queen of the South in nearby Dumfries during season 1921-22, their third season after formation. Ferguson was the fourth of the players at the club in its first three seasons who would go on build successful careers in England's top division. The others were Dave Halliday, Ian Dickson and Hughie Gallacher. Ferguson failed to complete the season at Queens as his talents attracted big name attention.
The club were relegated in 1923-24 and in four of the next five seasons were to narrowly miss out on promotion, finishing 5th, 3rd, 4th and 3rd. They finally reached the First Division again in 1929-30, where they were to remain for the next 32 years.
To capitalise on the 1930 promotion, the club spent £25,000 ($49,000) on three big-name players; Scots Hughie Gallacher, Alex Jackson and Alec Cheyne. Gallacher in particular was one of the biggest talents of his era, known for his goalscoring and for having captained Newcastle to a championship in 1926-27. Gallacher and Jackson had also been members of the Wembley Wizards team, the Scotland team which beat England 5-1 at Wembley in 1928. Gallacher was Chelsea's top scorer in each of his four seasons, scoring 81 goals in total, but his time in west London was filled by long suspensions for indiscipline. Though the team sometimes clicked, such as in a 6-2 win over Manchester United and a 5-0 win over Sunderland trophies remained elusive through the 30s. Some felt money was too often spent on inappropriate players, especially forwards, while the defence remained neglected.
The FA Cup was to be the closest the club came to silverware. In 1932, the team secured impressive wins over Liverpool and Sheffield Wednesday, and were drawn against Newcastle United in the semi-finals. Tommy Lang inspired Newcastle to a 2-0 lead, before Gallacher pulled one back for Chelsea. The Blues laid siege to the United goal in the second half, but were unable to make a breakthrough and the Geordies went on to lift the trophy.
Ferguson returned to Scotland mid season and played 17 games in the second part of 1932-33 with St Bernard's F.C.
Queen of the South (2nd spell)
Ferguson re-joined Queen of the South as the club's notable signing in the Summer of 1933 ahead of the club's debut season in Scottish Football's top division. They had been promoted as runners up to Hibernian the season before. Willie's brother Pearson Ferguson played five games for Queens between January and April of the previous season. The two never played in the same Queens team together.
As a player Ferguson was part of two landmark events in the history of Queen of the South:-
- Queens highly successful first season in the top division finishing 4th - their highest finish to date. Queens also made it to the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup for the first time (a feat the club now counts into double figures).
- He was part of the 16 player squad for the 11 game 1936 overseas tour and the Algiers invitational tournament. Queens returned with the trophy after beating Racing de Santander in the final
After combining playing with coaching the reserve side in the last year and earning much praise Ferguson took over from George McLachlan as Queens manager in 1937. Ferguson gave Jackie Oakes his first team debut shortly after taking over. Ferguson's most notable result as manager was at Ibrox Park, the first time when Queens condemned Rangers to a league defeat (Queens had condemned Rangers to a Scottish Cup defeat the season before at Palmerston Park). Phil Watson in 1938 was another player signed by Ferguson.
A popular figure at the club it was a surprise when he announced his resignation in the Summer of 1938. Ferguson wanted to focus on his confectionery and tobacconist business recently acquired from ex Queens goalkeeper George Woods. All of Ferguson's time at Queens was spent in Scotland's top division (excluding war time interruption Queens spent only one season out of the top division between 1933 and 1959).
He was succeeded as manager on 2 July 1938 by Jimmy McKinnell Sr, the day on which Ferguson's contracted was terminated after his resignation.
Willie Ferguson owned the tobacconist shop on Great King St in Dumfries opposite the G.P.O. His son Chris ran the business until the early 1990s.
- Willie Ferguson full career profile on www.qosfc.com
- "The Queens" by Iain McCartney on Creedon Publications, 2004
- Chelsea Football Club. :: Website opened on 17 September 2005. Site owned by Ian Dickinson
- Queen of the South season 1933/34 report in the Willie Savage career profile on "Queens Legends" on the official Queen of the South FC website
- George McLachlan profile and 1936 Overseas tour feature on "Queens Legends" on the official Queen of the South FC website
- Rangers 2, Queen of the South 3, Ibrox Park 1938 in the George Hamilton profile on "Queens Legends" on the official Queen of the South FC website
- Meeting with Ian Black, QoS FC historian, Palmerston Park, Dumfries, 29/7/2008