The Ferguson Factor

Many say that Barry Ferguson embodies everything about Rangers. Raised in Hamilton a Rangers fan and made his way up through the youth ranks to become Rangers captain at the age of just 22, he certainly had a lot on his young shoulders. However, ‘Bazza’ thrived on it, averaging just under a goal every other game in the 02/3 season. He was the darling of our support, the local boy come good, if you will.

However, this was not to last long, as he was lured by the ever expanding English Premiership, albeit to the relatively modest Blackburn Rovers. Meanwhile, Rangers slumped to 2nd place in the league, as the downsizing era began. Fast forward to January 2005, and Barry Ferguson returns to his boyhood club, a club he ‘never truly left’. Rangers rally to pip Celtic to the league title on ‘Helicopter Sunday’ and balance in the spacetime continuum is, once again, restored.

Yet, although Barry Ferguson was still an important player for Rangers, he could never quite achieve the standards of his 02/03 heroics. This was noticed, but not commented on by the vast majority of Gers fans. He was still recovering from a serious knee injury, but he would come good again soon, wouldn’t he?

Unfortunately, quite the opposite has happened. Since returning, Ferguson has hounded one of Europe’s finest young managers out of the club, all because he didn’t approve of the team’s partying mentality, and probably been responsible for the departure of many more players who were not ‘Rangers minded’. What does this term even mean anymore?

When the term is used, I think of players running up and down sand dunes. I think of the grit of players like John Greig. I think of the brilliance of others, like Davie Cooper. What I certainly do not think of is players who go to the club doctor to bitch about the manager. I do not think of players who take the squad down to Newcastle before a match and, against specific orders, have a giant piss up. Most of all, I do not think of players who believe that they are bigger than the club.

Perhaps these accusations could be pardoned if ‘Bazza’ retained his £6.5m form. However, it is a fact that Barry Ferguson has only managed to score the same amount of goals (18) since he returned, as he managed in the 02/03 season. Among others, he has been at fault with his positioning, running around the pitch, like a ned doped up on Buckfast trying to get the ball. He may call it passion, I call it a lack of respect. A lack of respect to the manager, who instructs him where he is supposed to play. Moreover, it shows a lack of respect to his own team mates, barging into their zone of the pitch, so he can send another few passes backwards (this isn’t rugby, Barry). Perhaps this is influencing the success (or lack of) in the Mendes/Ferguson midfield axis.

Essentially, what we now have is a distinctly mediocre prima donna at the club, who has gathered enough influence around him to be somewhat immune to criticism from the manager/owner/any authority. I would compare him to a king on a chess board. Supposedly the ‘most important’ piece, but in reality, does sod all. He has a negative influence on the club, and, as far as I’m concerned, the sooner he goes, the better.

Written by djw1992 and previously published on Rangers Media.

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