Duncan Ferguson: Everton caretaker manager reignites Toffees' passion

Duncan Ferguson
Ferguson has taken the helm in the wake of Marco Silva's sacking

Duncan Ferguson may not be Everton's long-term choice to succeed sacked manager Marco Silva - but he produced enough in 90 minutes to ensure his time in charge will never be forgotten at Goodison Park.

The giant Scot acquired cult status among large sections of Everton's support for his anti-hero persona as a player - silent off the pitch but a big noise on it in every context.

Ferguson has been a background figure at Everton in recent years, on the support staff of four managers who ended up being dismissed. This was his time as he lived every second and Goodison Park lived it with him.

It was a spectacular, thunderous afternoon as the old stadium rattled to the rafters and Ferguson reconnected Everton's team with a fanbase that had been losing hope with every passing week.

Ferguson choked up on occasions on Friday as he described the emotion of being asked to manage the club - and his pride was just as unmistakeable after overseeing a 3-1 win over Chelsea with a side performing in his own image.

Duncan Ferguson
Ferguson scored 60 goals in 239 Premier League appearances for Everton

It was a new-look Ferguson in his new role - suited and booted, even ensuring his tie was perfectly knotted for his pre-match interview.

And then the real action began, accompanied by a deafening roar.

When Richarlison headed Everton in front after only four minutes, Ferguson showed a neat turn of speed in his smart shoes as he flew down the touchline.

And when Dominic Calvert-Lewin made it 2-0 just after half-time, the 47-year-old set off in one direction before turning and picking up, and swinging around, a celebrating ball boy.

"What a feeling," said Ferguson. "I think the ball boy had tears in his eyes. I had tears in my eye. I would have hugged the linesman had he been there. I would have hugged everybody.

"The celebrations were just relief, excitement, emotion. It was an incredible feeling. I've scored goals for the club, been involved in cup finals, but that was just incredible - not just the goal but the three points. It is difficult to describe that."

Duncan Ferguson
Dominic Calvert-Lewin who scored two goals in the win over Chelsea has worked with Ferguson, who was a coach at Everton before stepping up to the caretaker manager role, for three years

Similar scenes followed - albeit involving a different ball boy - when Calvert-Lewin made it three, helped by two errors for the price of one from Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who followed a poor kick to Theo Walcott by then letting the striker's shot through his legs.

At the final whistle, with Goodison Park rocking in a manner not seen or heard for a long time, Everton's fans rose to Ferguson as he pumped his fists and bellowed at the Bullens Road Stand, before turning to face the Gwladys Street end to take more acclaim.

It is only one game - it may end up only being one game - but it provided a few new lines in the Ferguson legend, and who could blame him as he said: "Whatever happens, nobody can ever take that away from me or the players.

"The players were unbelievable. It is not about me. It is about the players and the result and we got it."

Asked whether this could yet be an even-longer-term period in charge, he said: "I don't know if I could go through that again. I need to get my fitness up with all that running down the touchline.

"I think the fans want the manager to be passionate, show that body language, get them onside. We are a family club - the Everton family - and we all want the best."

Everton are still considering their managerial options, with Shanghai's Portuguese coach Vitor Pereira a leading contender and former boss David Moyes still in the mix.

The presence of former Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac sitting near the Goodison Park directors' box raised eyebrows, although the Croat insisted he was simply taking in the game before travelling to watch the Manchester derby.

"I haven't a clue what was happening with him," said Ferguson. "I'm sure he enjoyed the game and whoever it is is coming to a fantastic club with fantastic fans who create an atmosphere like that."

Ferguson, who served under Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce and Silva, is under no illusions, but he was able to share his joy with his wife and children before heading into his post-match media duties.

He said: "The fans wanted a bit of Everton identity and this was a bit of a free hit. It is the template - hard word, pride, passion, bleed for the club.

"They should do it anyway. This is their life. This club and the position in the league is not good enough. But we got that today and I'm proud of them to a man."

And with that, smiling but with every chance of being emotionally drained, Ferguson was off after masterminding a performance decorated with his personality.

Whoever Everton's next manager is, Ferguson will be part of that new era.

Top Stories