The Football League Paper - - FERGUSON -

Born: Hamil­ton, 1978 (Age 36) Play­ing Ca­reer: The brother of Rangers star Derek, Fer­gu­son joined

the club as a teenager and made his de­but aged 18 in 1996. A tech­ni­cal, in­tel­li­gent play­maker, he scored 24 goals in 151 games for the Scot­tish gi­ants, win­ning three SPL ti­tles, three Scot­tish Cups and four in­di­vid­ual player of the year awards be­fore join­ing Pre­mier League Black­burn

in 2003. How­ever, a frac­tured kneecap hin­dered his progress and af­ter 36 games in 18 months, Fer­gu­son re­joined Rangers for £4.5m – the out­stand­ing bal­ance on his orig­i­nal £7.5m trans­fer. Yet again he be­came cap­tain

and would even­tu­ally leave in 2009 with an­other two ti­tles and 137 ap­pear­ances. Signed by for­mer Rangers boss Alex McLeish for Birm­ing­ham, Fer gu­son won player of the year in his first sea­son and then helped the Blues over­come Ar­se­nal to win the 2011 Car­ling Cup. When Birm­ing­ham were rel­e­gated, he joined fel­low Cham­pi­onship side Black­pool, play­ing all but four games in 2011-12 and skip­per­ing the Seasiders to the play-off fi­nal. Af­ter a spell on loan at Fleet­wood, Fer gu­son was re­in­stated to the Black­pool side by Paul Ince in Fe­bru­ary 2013 be­for e be­com­ing play­er­man­ager. Fer­gu­son also won 45 caps for Scot­land, scor­ing thr ee goals, be­fore re­tir­ing from in­ter­na­tional foot­ball in 2009. Man­age­rial Ca­reer: Hav­ing spent the last four years do­ing his coach­ing badges in North­ern Ire­land, Fer­gu­son com­pleted the UEFA A li­cence

in the sum­mer of 2013. And when Ince was sacked in Jan­uary , Fer­gu­son was asked to take care­taker charge. He won two and lost seven of

his first 13 games. wrong club,” said the Dutch­man. “Go­ing to Black­burn and bat­tling rel­e­ga­tion was a mis­take. I think if he’d gone to a club in the top four, you’d have seen in Eng­land how good Barry re­ally is.”

Fer­gu­son would get a mea­sure of re­demp­tion south of the bor­der, win­ning Birm­ing­ham’s player of the year in 2010 and col­lect­ing the Car­ling Cup de­spite play­ing much of the fi­nal with a bro­ken rib.

“That’s Barry,” said Blues boss Alex McLeish.“He’s got amaz­ing tough­ness. His play­ing record is amaz­ing over the years be­cause he never gets in­jured.”

Fer­gu­son’s fi­nal stop was Black­pool, where his in­tel­li­gent pass­ing game and mid­field nous meshed per­fectly with Ian Hol­loway’s phi­los­o­phy. A Cham­pi­onship play-off fi­nal­ist in his first sea­son, man­age­rial changes marred his sec­ond and Fer­gu­son even found him­self on loan at League Two Fleet­wood.

But hav­ing been re­called by Paul Ince, the for­mer Eng­land man’s sack­ing in Jan­uary saw Fer­gu­son of­fered the chance to start an un­likely man­age­rial ca­reer.

“I sus­pect that, sim­i­lar to my­self, the no­tion of go­ing into man­age­ment didn’t strike Barry un­til late in his ca­reer,” said Rangers boss and long­time friend Ally McCoist.

“But he’s an in­tel­li­gent guy, a ter­rific leader. Don’t for­get that as a young man he was en­trusted with the cap­taincy of a side which in­cluded the likes of Jorg Al­bertz, Ste­fan Klos and Gio­vanni van Bron­ck­hurst.

“And the che­quered past he’s led, on and off the park, will stand him in good stead be­cause he’ll be equipped to han­dle any off-the-wall char­ac­ters in his dress­ing room at Black­pool.”

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