by Paul Kennedy
GREAT SCOT: Duncan Ferguson celebrates after winning his first match as Everton’s interim manager. AFP/VNA Photo
I had the pleasure of meeting Everton’s caretaker manager, Duncan Ferguson, on two separate occasions back in the 90s.
I say a pleasure, but the first time our paths crossed wasn’t very pleasurable.
I had just covered an Everton Premier League match and found myself stood next to (or rather towered over by) the imposing Scot in the reception area of Goodison Park, home of Everton FC.
It was fairly common knowledge at the time that Big Dunc wasn’t very forthcoming when it came to giving interviews with the press, but, being the daring (and stupid) reporter I was at the time, I thought I would try my luck.
“Mr Ferguson, great win today. Quick word about the game?”
“%*&?!# *&%%$” was his reply, and I’m not writing that in Scottish.
I wasn’t particularly offended, it was to be expected.
A few years later I found myself stood next to him at the urinals in the toilet of a bar in Liverpool City Centre after the Grand National Race Meeting.
We chatted briefly about our wins and losses (he won more than me) and, unaware I was a reporter, he was a thoroughly nice guy.
On Saturday morning, Big Dunc took charge of his first match at Everton against Chelsea following the dismissal of Marco Silva.
And things could not have gone any better for the caretaker boss. Watching Everton v Chelsea compared to their match a few days earlier against Liverpool was chalk and cheese.
Sure, I get that a new manager will always give a team a boost, but Ferguson gave Everton something the Goodison faithful have not seen for a long time, passion.
His sprint down the touchline was Jurgen Klopp-like, and great to see.
The next day I saw a meme online that was basically Dunc getting interviewed for the manager’s position and was asked what experience he had as a manager?
The cartoon Scot replied: “None, but I have an Everton tattoo.”
Maybe he doesn’t possess the experience of others in contention for the job will surely have, and yes, I understand good footballers don’t necessarily make good managers, just look at Roy Keane.
But why not just roll the dice and say to the big man: “Tell you what Dunc, you’ve got to the end of the season, do your best.” If that happens, Everton fans will have no doubt a manager who understands the club, which is a lot more than others will be able to offer right now.
He knows Everton inside out.
He knows the city of Liverpool inside out. And he really gets the supporters.
For me, for the time being at least, they are all the qualifications needed.
Whatever happens, Everton are highly unlikely to get relegated come to the end of the season, and will not be challenging for a top-four spot, so why not let Ferguson have a go?
I remembering watching him on the pitch, and even from the comfort of the press box, and he scared the living daylights out of me.
He was tough, talented and a nightmare to play against.
Saturday’s Everton performance was full throttle and no nonsense, just like Ferguson’s own style when he wore the number nine jersey for the Blues.
It wasn’t Spanish-style tiki-taka or total football, mastered by the Dutch.
It was gritty, it was hard, and it was very, very effective. Just look at the scoreline.
Although on Merseyside Everton have been a laughing-stock for as far back as I can remember, I can see the tide slightly turning, but only if they give the big man a shot. VNS