Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Duncan - Time in Jail Ruined Career; Ex-United Striker Speaks of Assault Charge Anguish

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Duncan - Time in Jail Ruined Career; Ex-United Striker Speaks of Assault Charge Anguish

Article excerpt

Byline: Neil Cameron ? (0191) 201-6113 ? neil.cameron@ncjmedia.co.uk

FORMER Newcastle United favourite Duncan Ferguson has opened up for the first time about how he believes his infamous jail sentence all but ruined what had been a promising career. The controversial Scot, an PS8m signing by Ruud Gullit in November 1998, spent 44 days in Glasgow's notorious Barlinnie prison in 1995 for butting Raith Rovers defender Jock McStay during a game while he was a Rangers player.

Ferguson, now 41, became the first professional British footballer to be jailed for an on-field assault.

While his career earned him millions and he enjoyed cult status with the Toon Army, and especially with Everton, he never reached the heights expected of him.

Injuries played their part, but Ferguson, who retired in 2006, has revealed he felt betrayed by the Scottish Football Association who he blamed for not backing him in his darkest hour.

Ferguson said: "I don't like the attention and haven't done many interviews.

"People write stories about you and you gain a reputation and that's that.

"I have spent an entire career trying to shake off a reputation I earned in one day. "That's the way it has been for me, but I have never been someone who is that bothered about things I can't control.

"Any problems I had during my time in England were all on the park and were part and parcel of football, but my situation with Scotland has stayed with me throughout it all.

"It's a massive void. I have thought about it a lot over my career and people who know me will tell you I wanted to play 100 times for my country.

"I wish I'd broken the alltime cap record and scored more goals than the lot of them." " He added: "I could have gained the caps as I made my debut when I was just 20 and was still being asked to play aged 34.

"It was my last year at Everton in 2006 and it was probably the last time I spoke to Ally McCoist.

"Walter Smith was the Scotland manager and he asked Coisty to see if I would come back.

"That was 14 years after my debut and it remains a huge regret of mine that I didn't win 100 caps for Scotland. I could have said 'yes' but because of the situation with the SFA I dug my heels in. …

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