Duncan Ferguson on his Everton identity and shaking off the past
Last Updated: 15/12/19 4:43pm
Everton caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson thinks people won't let him shake off his past reputation - but says he's proud of his identity.
The hard-man striker made a name for himself south of the border at Goodison Park during a four-year spell in the mid-1990s (he later returned for six more years), and in his entire Premier League career picked up eight red cards, the joint-most in the division's history.
A self-confessed "quiet guy" off the pitch, Ferguson says he has mellowed since retirement and turning his thoughts to coaching, which has culminated in working his way through the youth structure at Everton before taking the reigns of the first team on a temporary basis last week.
Despite that, the 47-year-old feels he will struggle to ever change the general perception of him, including accusations his players were motivated by fear in their 3-1 win over Chelsea last weekend.
"I think it's very difficult to get away from the past," he told Sky Sports. "I've moved on as a person and life has moved on - I think as you get older, you mature and you become a better person.
"I feel that's what I've done, I've studied my badges, I've taken coaching roles, I've worked my way through the academy so I'm an experienced coach, but I just don't think people see it unfortunately.
"I'm very mellow I would think as being a coach is different to being on the pitch as there's a lot of aggression in you. But off the pitch, I'm a quiet guy, I'm a thinker who watches a lot of football, I know the players in the Premier League and I know what it takes and I know how to motivate the players.
"You're always going to get labelled, but we had a plan and we picked a team and set them up on a day's work, so we deserve a lot more merit [than just getting a result out of fearing the consequences].
"I just followed what I did 20 years ago when I captained the side, I went down the same route, and it seemed to work."
It was noted when Ferguson appeared in the home dugout for the first time he was sporting Howard Kendall's old watch on one wrist and a sweatband on the other. A superstition? Not so much, more an unashamed part of the temporary boss' character.
"I'm proud of my identity," he said. "The sweatband came from a sick kid who many, many years ago presented me with this sweatband when I went to one of the local hospitals.
"So I put the sweatband on. Of course, it's not the same sweatband, but after every season, I would walk around the pitch and give it to one of the children in the disabled chairs. Now I've got to get a new sweatband every week! So I'm proud of my identity.
"Wearing Howard's watch was a beautiful moment for me. I'll be wearing it again on Sunday, even if it is stuck at quarter past eight!
"It's going to be incredibly difficult. We've only won once in the last 20-odd years there, but their players are in a good moment and are confident after beating Chelsea so we've just got to keep riding on the crest of that wave."