Duncan Ferguson: ‘I might try the vegan burger on Saturday if we win’

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Duncan Ferguson is synonymous pinch Everton and wherever he goes he takes a small spot of nan nine pinch him successful nan shape of a tattoo connected his arm. The ink is hardly barren connected his five-year Forest Green statement but he is already hoping to adhd nan crest to his body. “Staying up could get a tattoo but if we get into nan Championship, past definitely,” Ferguson says.

After 2 decades astatine Goodison Park arsenic a subordinate and coach he is starting his managerial profession astatine League One’s bottommost nine aged 51. Ferguson came adjacent to getting jobs astatine Blackburn and Middlesbrough but has had to driblet to nan 3rd tier to find an proprietor consenting to spot him. The erstwhile Scotland striker received nan telephone from Dale Vince successful nan mediate of past week and drove down nan adjacent greeting from Formby via “15 incorrect turns” to motion nan deal.

“When I first met nan proprietor and saw his passion and enthusiasm for nan nine and what he was doing that surely went a agelong measurement to making my mind up,” Ferguson says from a manager’s agency equipped pinch galore items hoarded from his clip astatine Everton. “On apical of that it was a commencement for maine connected my managerial journey. Feeling wanted was a large 1 for me. And I thought: ‘Why not return this challenge?’”

Duncan Ferguson pinch Forest Green’s owner, Dale Vince.
Duncan Ferguson pinch Forest Green’s owner, Dale Vince. Photograph: Nigel Keene/ProSports/Rex/Shutterstock

Many judge Ferguson’s first manager’s occupation should person been astatine Everton, a nine he says “will ever beryllium a portion of me”. He had 2 caretaker spells but was overlooked earlier Frank Lampard’s assignment past January. “I deliberation they should person considered maine to return nan squad until nan extremity of nan season,” Ferguson says. “I said that from time one. I still judge that should person been nan case. People successful shot person suggested that would person been nan champion move for them to do but astatine nan extremity of nan time they do their ain point and bully luck to them.”

Instead he has had to hold his turn. He was linked pinch Everton again aft Lampard’s caller sacking but missed out. “I would propose I person nan astir acquisition successful nan state and my CV would beryllium amended than anybody’s astatine this shape of my profession going into my first job,” Ferguson says. “I americium assured successful saying that. I person worked nether 2 Champions League winning managers, nan Belgium nationalist manager, Dutch nationalist manager, Barcelona, Real Madrid caput coaches – it is endless. I did each my coaching badges 10 years ago. I’ve worked my measurement done nan academy strategy and developed a batch of young players. I did it nan difficult way; I didn’t trim immoderate corners. As you tin spot now, I americium still not cutting immoderate corners.”

One of those Champions League winners was Carlo Ancelotti, who respected Ferguson’s opinion. The 2 stay adjacent and Ferguson precocious visited his erstwhile leader astatine Real Madrid. “I saw each my exercises connected nan training ground. Him and his boy [assistant coach Davide] are for illustration magpies – they’ve taken each my exercises,” Ferguson jokes. “I’ve worked pinch Carlo a awesome deal. He is cool, he is calm, he is decisive, tactically he is very good. I’ve picked up things for illustration that from him. He is nan champion head successful nan world: he has won 4 Champions Leagues; cipher tin touch him.”

Duncan Ferguson pinch Carlo Ancelotti during Everton’s FA Cup necktie against Spurs successful February 2021.
Duncan Ferguson pinch Carlo Ancelotti during Everton’s FA Cup necktie against Spurs successful February 2021. Photograph: Tony McArdle/Everton FC/Getty Images

Ferguson is not nan only 1 astatine Forest Green pinch adjacent links to Real. Vince has been advising nan nine connected sustainability and usage of pesticides. Could this lead to a friends astatine The New Lawn? “I would emotion that – it would beryllium perfectly fabulous,” Ferguson says. “Why not do it complete successful Stroud? If location is simply a spread successful nan calendar, I americium judge Carlo would facilitate that.”

Forest Green are known for their biology initiatives pinch an all-vegan paper and plans for a stadium made of wood. Ferguson is adapting to his surroundings and eager to study astir improvements he tin make to thief limit nan effect of nan ambiance crisis.

There is simply a relaxed quality to Ferguson, who is happy to operation betwixt jokes, shot and nan environment. Forest Green is simply a nine he tin mould connected nan transportation successful a creation he has been plotting for much than a decade, moreover if he will request to accommodate somewhat disconnected it.

“I didn’t do overmuch investigation but I knew astir nan nine and what they were each astir because I’d seen bits connected nan television, nan greenish issue, nan environment, nan vegan burgers and sausages. I saw nan proprietor telling stories. When I met nan man [Vince], he showed maine nan caller training ground, nan caller plans he has for nan stadium, truthful it was impressive.

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“I deliberation nan vegan nutrient is rather bully – I bask it. Chips are vegan, I didn’t cognize that. It is simply a interest pinch nan planet. It is simply a shame what is happening: you tin spot it is happening and we are each starting to beryllium alert of it. What is going to hap to our kids and grandkids? It’s real. The nine has been great, it is awesome what they are doing. Other clubs should beryllium taking it up.” What’s his favourite connected nan menu? “I had a wee spot of vegan curry, a wee pastry and mash today. I haven’t tried nan burger yet. I mightiness effort 1 connected Saturday if we get a victory.”

Ferguson has a awesome rapport pinch nan Everton fans acknowledgment to his full-throttle quality arsenic a player, passion for nan nine and committedness to nan community. He took a young instrumentality retired for luncheon arsenic reward for improved schoolhouse results aft a committedness from Ferguson successful a video that went viral. “I’ve ever been adjacent to nan fans and I will conscionable beryllium arsenic adjacent to nan fans successful Stroud,” Ferguson says. “Believe me, if location are immoderate requests, I will fulfil that and if they get bully exam results I astir apt will return them for a spot of lunch. I americium a people’s guy, I respect nan club, I respect nan fans. I will do a bully occupation for them and arsenic overmuch arsenic I tin successful nan community. It would beryllium a pleasure.”

Duncan Ferguson tries to find a ay done Emmanuel Petit and Tony Adams during Everton’s crippled astatine Arsenal successful May 1998.
Duncan Ferguson tries to find a ay done Emmanuel Petit and Tony Adams during Everton’s crippled astatine Arsenal successful May 1998. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Allsport

It looked arsenic if Ferguson would triumph his first crippled erstwhile Forest Green led going into injury-time astatine Shrewsbury, only to concede successful nan 94th and 98th minute. It is simply a reliable occupation Ferguson has taken on, managing a squad who are 4 points from information and person played much games than their relegation rivals. Only 1 subordinate was brought successful connected deadline time erstwhile 3 would person been ideal.

Forest Green invited Peterborough for Ferguson’s first location lucifer connected Saturday arsenic he looks to kickstart nan complaint for survival. “Staying successful nan section is monolithic for us,” he says. “It is going to beryllium a reliable inquire but 1 we tin do. The owner’s dream is to get into nan Championship. I cognize it seems a agelong measurement disconnected astatine nan infinitesimal but we person sewage to dream.”

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