1943 – 2019
We were deeply saddened to learn that popular sixties midfielder, Mike Ferguson, had passed away at the age of 76 on Tuesday 27th August 2019.
Although he arrived at Ewood Park as something of an unknown quantity, ‘Fergie’, as he was popularly known to all, quickly became something of a cult hero with the supporters.
After trials with several clubs Mike, who was born in Burnley, signed as an amateur with Plymouth Argyle. However, in July 1960 he returned to Lancashire to join Accrington Stanley and made his debut for the club against Gillingham, at Peel Park, on 12th September 1960. Mike quickly established himself in the Stanley side before the club was forced to leave the Football League in March 1962 due to financial difficulties.
Mike was training with Burnley when Jack Marshall beat Jimmy Milne, the Preston North End manager, to capture ‘Fergie’ for the Rovers.
He made his League debut for the Rovers in a 3-3 draw against Ipswich Town, at Portman Road, on the opening day of the 1962-63 season. Initially, Mike was used as an inside-left but Jack Marshall quickly moved Mike to outside-right to allow Bryan Douglas take the number ten spot. It proved an inspired switch.
A mercurial talent, Mike was capable of the most breathtaking audacity when attacking an opposing defence. At Villa Park, in September 1964, he cemented his cult status with the Ewood faithful when he waltzed around six defenders and then calmly strolled around the ‘keeper to score the final goal in a 4-0 win.
Tony Mowbray has talked about a team being up of ‘artists’ and ‘soldiers’ – ‘Fergie’ possessed the attributes of both. On the ball he was a gifted dribbler; bewildering defenders as he shimmed past them. However, he was also a ferocious tackler; a man who would not be bullied by defenders and who was not averse to a physical confrontation when he felt an opponent had overstepped the mark.
His slightly idiosyncratic style could occasionally prove frustrating but the memories he left behind at Ewood Park are indelibly printed on the minds of those privileged enough to watch this wonderful attacking player. The fact he made his mark in a forward line that also contained Bryan Douglas, Fred Pickering, Andy McEvoy and Mike Harrison underlines just how good “Fergie” could be.
Capable of playing full-back in an emergency, Mike was never destined for full-time defensive duties and eventually joined the ‘sixties’ Ewood Park exodus when he signed for Aston Villa in May 1968.
Mike moved to Queens Park Rangers in December 1969 and had spells with Cambridge United and Rochdale before he finally hung up his boots and also sampled life in the United States with a brief spell with Los Angeles Aztics. By the time of his retirement he had made just over 550 appearances in senior football before taking his first steps into coaching with his engagement as player-coach of Icelandic side I.A. Akraanes where he enjoyed some success. He returned to England to make a couple of appearances for Halifax Town before becoming manager of Rochdale in October 1977. He left Spotland in December 1978 and embarked upon a coaching odyssey that took him to Cyprus, Turkey, Sweden and the United Emirates as well as a short stint as manager of Enfield.
Mike acted as a scout for Tottenham Hotspur and renewed his friendship with Terry Venables, who was a teammate at QPR, and did some scouting work on behalf of the England national team.
The Blackburn Rovers Former Players Association wish to express their deepest sympathy to Mike’s family and friends at this sad time.
Blackburn Rovers Senior Record
Football League 220 appearances 29 goals
F.A. Cup 15 appearances 1 goal
Football League Cup 14 appearances 6 goals
Total 249 appearances 36 goals