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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Birthday Today - Mike Ferguson: QPR's Ex- Accrington Stanley/Blackburn/Aston Villa ..Turns 63

Mike Ferguson - Turns 63!...Born March 9, 1943

QPR's Les Allen signed him in 1969 from Aston Villa for something like 15,000 pounds to replace Rodney Marsh who was suspended for a month (the days of draconian suspensions for 3 bookings). Skillful foward/winger...Ferguson was with QPR for 4 seasons, even captaining the club for a while in the 1971/72 season, when Venables was injured. Famous for being the last Accrington Stanley player playing in the League. (Ironically Accrington Stanley look like they will be returning to the League.) After we won promotion, joined Cambridge for a small fee.

Accrington Observer - 4th December 2002
Fergie remembers

LAST scorer: Mike Ferguson in action at Peel Park during the fateful 1961-62 season.
MIKE Ferguson scored Accrington Stanley’s last-ever Football League goal … and has spent more than half a lifetime listening to other people claim the distinction.
And Fergie, now 58, holds another record of sorts.
He was the first player to be transferred from the Football League to another club, joining neighbours Blackburn Rovers for around £2,500, a fraction of the fee he would have earned stricken Stanley had he gone before their demise.
Ironically, such a windfall might have gone some way towards saving the club. But cynics suggested that predatory rivals who had guessed at Stanley’s fate were hovering like vultures to swoop down on whatever meat remained on the carcass.
Ferguson’s goal, his first and only Stanley goal, earned the Reds their final point at Doncaster four days before their final game. It was one of only four points the ailing side picked up in their final 17 games after the last win, a 1-0 success at home to Crewe in mid-October 1961.
Mike, who now lives in Worsthorne, said: "I didn’t even realise it was the last goal until someone contacted me and told me a few years ago. I have met all kinds of people who said they scored it, people I know didn’t even play for the club!
"Football was so different then. I used to go to the ground from Burnley on the bus, with spectators getting on all the way down Burnley Road. If it was good enough for Tom Finney it was good enough for me. Diets? Unheard of in those days. I remember once pulling up at a transport café at 4am on the way to Gillingham and Harry Hubbick, the trainer, said: "Nobody have peas with your pies!"
Mike had a fine career as a winger-cum-midfield schemer with Blackburn, Aston Villa and QPR, living the London high-life with the likes of Rodney Marsh and Terry Venables at one stage. He also managed with great success abroad and as recently as 1996 was scouting foreign teams for his old pal Venables, then England manager.

Spotlight on: The Career of Mike Ferguson
- Rochdale Rivals
A keen desire to make the grade as a professional footballer saw the Burnley born inside forward travel in excess of 200 miles south after accepting an offer to join Plymouth Argyle. The first team proved just beyond him during his time at Home Park throughout which he remained an amateur. So the offer of professional terms combined with a move closer to home with Accrington Stanley was gleefully accepted.
Despite their lowly status Ferguson spent almost two seasons with Stanley. Blackburn Rovers scouts regularly attended games across Lancashire and on one of these visits saw Ferguson and marked him down as a transfer target. Financial problems primarily led to the demise of the club. Their subsequent loss of Football League status only hastened his arrival at Ewood Park in return for a £1500 fee. Although bought as a striker he was converted to a right sided midfielder usually operating on the wing. It was a move which benefited both parties as Blackburn had created an extra option going forward with a player who knew the strikers art and could anticipate the needs of the forwards as well as weighing in with his fair share of goals.
For his part Ferguson revelled in his creative role due to the responsibility and extra satisfaction he gained from the switch. However, that was tempered by a powerful will to win which unfortunately exposed a short fuse when the battle for points got heated enough. Although he missed just a handful of games during his six seasons with Rovers a fair share of these absences came through suspensions.
Although a crowd favourite like many other players he had a price which could buy his services and by offering £50,000 at the close of the 1967-68 season Aston Villa found it. Like Blackburn Villa were a major force during the fledging years of the Football League but neither enjoyed a comfortable level of standing. Rovers were relegated from the top flight in 1966 and weren't looking good bets for a quick return. The Midlanders were in the same division but usually finished well up the table while never pushing for promotion. They were eventually relegated to the Third Division but believed that the skills displayed by Ferguson could help them break back into the big time. However, by this time they suffered the drop Fergsuon had left the club. He spent just over a year with The Villains playing a more peripheral role than he had been used to with previous clubs before joining Queens Park Rangers in a cut price deal.
In complete contrast the London club got a keen deal and managed to give their signing a new lease of life. Their direct style being more suited to his style of play. Cambridge United provided a stop off before he arrived at Rochdale in time for the 1974-75 campaign. In two seasons at Spotland he became an established first choice in the centre of the park only breaking away to set up a pioneering transfer to Icelandic side IAK Arkanes. The move as player/coach only lasted a short time but a result of this move he became one of the first English players to sample life in Europe's northern most outposts. It was this experience and exposure to different techniques which set him in good stead when he took on other coaching posts. However, before concentrating on that side of the game he played a couple of matches for Halifax Town in the spring of 1977.
His backroom career literally had him journey from continent to continent although it started at lowly Enfield. Rochdale were the only Football League club he served as manager. He took the reigns at Spotland a few weeks into the 1977-78 season after a bad start to the campaign saw Brian Green's tenure ended. Form barely picked up throughout the campaign as Dale finished bottom of the league seven points shy of the second from bottom Southport and seventeen points clear of not having to battle out yet another re-election vote. In the event the Merseyside club rather than Dale were shown the door by their fellow league clubs. Just eight games were won all season and just one before Ferguson's arrival. No victories came on the club's travels except in the League Cup when a narrow win was recorded over Halifax Town. In the league two points were picked up away from Spotland from draws with York City and Doncaster Rovers.
He was given another chance to turn things around and retained his job. There was clearly a lot of pressure to produce but things got little better the following season with just one win and six draws picked up by the end of November. However, earlier in the month the manager had left Dale allowing him to embark on another oddessy around the world coaching teams as far a field as Cyprus and The Far East. Upon leaving the game during the 1980s despite all the places and climates he had experienced he chose to return to Burnley where he still lives.

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