Ahead of Duncan Ferguson’s testimonial today, we’ll be revisiting a few articles from the past…
Thursday, 17 August, 2000, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
DUNCAN FERGUSON has completed his £3.75 million move back to Everton, after he came to an agreement with Newcastle United over the remainder of his contract at St James’ Park.
It had been feared that the deal fell through on Wednesday, but the former Rangers targetman has been able to complete the move after passing a medical on Thursday lunchtime, and was happy to have rejoined The Toffees.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be back,” Ferguson said. “The fans know how I feel about the club and I’m made up to be back. When I first came here the fans took to me right away and Everton’s in my blood and this opportunity is fantastic.
“It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for me but you’ve just got to get on with it. Over the last few days the deal had not been finalised with Everton and Newcastle and last night I spoke to the chairman and we finalised the deal then.
“As far as I am concerned the deal was done yesterday and I’m delighted that I’m here today. I knew I was coming back, it was just a matter of when I was going to sign the papers.
“Once Newcastle decided that they no longer required my services I was delighted to come back and there was no way I was going to knock back Everton.
“My position is quite clear. I have never asked for a transfer from Newcastle. I was looking to get myself fit and start the new season with Newcastle so in that way it was sad. I have tried to act as professionally as I could.”
Ferguson, who stated that he is fully fit, was dogged by injury during his time at St James’ Park, but feels that this season will see him return to top form, although he admits that he will not be ready for the first two weeks of the campaign.
“To keep myself fit and available for selection is my main concern,” he continued. “At the moment I am 100% fit and I want it to stay that way. I want to prove my fitness and prove my ability
“I have only played half an hour in pre-season so I will have to do a bit of training but it is only going to take a couple of weeks
“Hopefully, if I can prove my fitness and play every season I am sure Everton will get value. My fitness has been a worry but I have passed my medical today and there aren’t any problems so I’m just looking forward to keeping fit and playing as many matches as I can.
“The squad is looking pretty strong. The performances in pre-season have proved that and I’m looking forward to linking up with the boys and doing my best for the team.”
Everton manager Walter Smith, who sold Ferguson for £7 million to Newcastle two years ago shortly after taking the reigns at Goodison, said: “I think he’s a good player, he can give us variation.
“When it became public knowledge that Duncan was available I was first in for him. We dropped a few league positions at the end of last season because we lost Kevin Campbell and we didn’t have alternatives and we needed to add to our striking cover.
“I found that Duncan was available and thought it was right to bring him back here. I felt that, in the short period I was here, he had played very well.
“He was captain, and the one player who had an affinity with the supporters and I was disappointed, not in the manner it was done, but by the fact that Duncan was leaving.”
Everton deputy chairman Bill Kenwright, who opened the press conference, stated that Ferguson’s problems coming to a financial settlement with Newcastle did not impeach on his talk with the player.
“During all the chats we had last night,” said Kenwright. “Money has not played any part and has not been mentioned in what’s happening here today. I’m delighted Duncan is here.”