Duncan Ferguson takes his first bite of full-time football management


It was only after his retirement as a player whose largely successful career had spanned 16 years that it occurred to Football Daily that we had never actually heard Duncan Ferguson speak. Throughout spells at Dundee United, Rangers, Everton, Newcastle and Everton again, the fearsome striker enjoyed hero status, scored some memorable goals, and got himself in several on- and off-field scrapes, seemingly managing to do so without so much as a single public utterance. This refusal to stand in front of a microphone may have had its origins in a court conviction for an on-field incident that even nowadays would merit little more than a red card and certainly not the three-month stretch in the Big House handed down by a Scottish beak. Not entirely unreasonably, Big Dunc felt he had been the victim of a stitch-up and there were plenty who agreed with him.

While we might not have heard him talk, fans of a certain age may remember reading Ferguson’s musings. Contractually obliged by his boot manufacturers to sit down for a magazine interview during the mid-90s, after consulting with his “people” the striker point-blank refused to talk about any other subject than Mitre boots. The subsequent six-page exclusive simultaneously contrived to be the most banal and fascinating interview with a footballer that has ever been committed to the printed page. Had your Football Daily not already hung up its boots in favour of more hedonistic pursuits, we would have never let any other brand sully our size 11s from that point on, due in no small part to the amusement we derived from that interview.

Post-retirement, a new, more outgoing, jocular and – dare we say – extrovert Ferguson began to emerge. When he wasn’t engaged in the serious business of making domestic burglars regret their poor career and life choices, he could be heard conducting interviews in which he seemed happy to discuss all manner of subjects, including his new coaching role at Everton. Up for the occasional punditry role, on social media disgraces he could also be seen doing regular good deeds, admonishing idle schoolboys for being less than diligent in their studies and generally being a lovely man. He was also sighted braving touchline blizzards in his shirtsleeves upon taking caretaker charge of his beloved Everton. And now, armed with his Uefa pro licence and a wealth of knowledge learned at the knees of high-profile gaffers, Big Dunc has taken his first official job in management.

The 51-year-old has been appointed by Forest Green, who currently sit bottom of League One, are without a win in any of their past eight games and find themselves in all sorts of relegation bother. “It’s fantastic, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” tooted a beaming Ferguson at their famously eco-friendly stadium, without once mentioning which cobbler had made his shoes. “I’m really delighted to join Forest Green Rovers for the next step of my career and I plan to be here for a while. We have a bit of a fight on our hands to stay up and I am ready for the challenge. I am grateful for the opportunity to come and lead such a progressive and forward-thinking club too. Their world-leading green creds are seriously impressive.” It’s a new reign at the New Lawn and Big Dunc’s feeling good.


“At basically any point in my life, if someone had told me I’d be the head coach of a Ligue 1 side at 30, I’d have told them to punch me in the face” – Will Still’s remarkable story, from Football Manager to actual Reims manager, in his own words.


That photo of Jacob Murphy waving off Duje Caleta-Car after his red card (yesterday’s News, Bits and Bobs, full email edition) made me think: why stop there? Next time the opposition receive a red card, maybe the other team can form a guard of (dis)honour, all wave and clap as the disgraced red-carder departs the pitch, walking off on a hastily-deployed red carpet, to the sound of a 21-gun salute from canons specially deployed on top of the stand, as the floodlights flash from white to red, and Nelson Muntz’s trademark ‘ha-haaaa’ played on a loop. Maybe a quick entry in the ‘How Far Can I Kick a Drinks Bottle’ competition sponsored by a betting company on the way out too, complete with officials in white coats with tape measures? And if they take an age arguing with the ref about the decision, have an opera singer stroll out to the middle of the pitch and sing the national anthem. All six verses. Hopefully there’ll still be time for a quick firework display and marching band before they eventually get to the tunnel” – Steve Malone.

Duje Ćaleta-Car of Southampton is sarcastically waved off by Jacob Murphy.
Off. You. Pop. Photograph: Robin Jones/Getty Images

How fitting that yesterday was Burns Night, and I feel the need to give Big Website a proper scalding for their attempt at ‘100 best male footballers in the world 2022’. Being connected in some way to the self-appointed ‘best league in the world’ seems to be enough to merit a place for the likes of debut red-card enthusiast, Darwin Núñez, and stab-pass connoisseur, Declan Rice. Yer honest sonsie faces could do yersels a favour and look north of the border at red-hot Kyogo Furuhashi and the ever-present Callum McGregor for a bit of inspiration, for auld lang syne” – Johnny Connelly.

Re: yesterday’s main Football Daily story about Everton pointing in the same direction (down?) and groundbreaking films. Can I suggest Everton Everywhere All at Once? It works quite well if you do it in a Scouse accent” – Joe Lowry.

It’s testament to Everton’s bad run that Arnaut Danjuma actually managed to find an Avanti train to take him from Liverpool to London. In normal circumstances, Toffees’ suits probably could’ve tracked him down to the Caffè Nero by platform nine, staring disconsolately at his phone while he despaired about his delay” – Jim Hearson.

Mention of Bolton (yesterday’s News, Bits and Bobs, full email edition) has reminded me of the uncanny resemblance between the current Wanderers manager Ian Evatt and the Rob Hepworth character from Happy Valley” – Elaine Shaw.

I was intrigued by the 1984 photo of Chelsea players (yesterday’s Memory Lane, full email edition), while studying – not admiring – the shaven chests. I am closing in on 74 years old, with a hairy chest my wife continues to enjoy. However, in 1984 as a football player, I never saw anyone in the showers with a shaven or even a hedgehog cut. Today, studying modern players lounging on their super yachts with chests polished like a bald head, not a porcupine quill to be seen. Are the young enjoying something I have yet to experience?” – Alex Cameron.

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Joe Lowry.