20 November 2006

Billy Ferguson

Skilful winger Billy Ferguson made the brief step-up from Irish League to international football, before a challenge on Alan Ball put him back...

Name: William Ferguson
Born: 28 May 1938, Belfast
Height: 5.05 ft
Weight: 9.07 st
Died: November 1998
Position: Winger

Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 2 Full Caps/1 Goal (1966); Irish League: 9 Caps/1 Goal (1960-1967), 1 'B' Division Representative Appearance (1959).
Club Honours: (with Linfield) Irish League Champion; Irish Cup Winner 1959/60, 1961/62, 1962/63, Runner-Up 1960/61, 1965/66, 1967/68; Gold Cup Winner; City Cup Winner; Ulster Cup Winner; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1958/59, 1960/61, 1961/62, 1965/66, 1966/67; North-South Cup Winner 1960/61.

Club Career:
Conlon Street Mission
1(0)/  0
Ballymena United
37(-)/  3

A staunch Linfield fan as a youngster, Billy Ferguson began his senior career as a left-winger with arch-rivals, Glentoran. He made a single first team appearance at the Oval, against Ards during the 1956/57 season. In 1958 he played in the Intermediate Cup Final for Glentoran Seconds, losing out against Newry Town.

The following season Ferguson was a Linfield player, and although initially limited to the Swifts, he was rewarded with an appearance for the Irish League ‘B’ Division against the Scottish Central League during the 1959/60 season. That same year he made a definitive impact on the Linfield first eleven, scoring twice in a 5-1 Irish Cup Final victory over Ards.

By the time of Linfield’s ‘clean-sweep’ seven trophy season in 1961/62 - when he claimed winner’s medals in the Irish League, Irish Cup, Gold Cup, City Cup, County Antrim Shield and North-South Cup, but missed out on an Ulster Cup Final place - Ferguson was featuring regularly as inside-right, but continuing to star anywhere across the front-line if required. He played a total of 42 games that season, scoring thirteen goals.

When the Irish League were due to fly to Norwich for an inter-league game against the Football League in October 1962, Ferguson boarded the plane, but walked-off before take-off due to a severe fear of flying! Indeed Ferguson never once flew to a representative match, all his games played within land-travelling or sailing distance. He also missed out on a number of European adventures with Linfield, but did travel by road to Luxembourg for a tie against Aris in 1966.

Bertie Peacock selected Ferguson at inside-right for an end-of-season friendly against World Cup bound Mexico. Ferguson rounded off a 4-1 victory for Northern Ireland with the final goal of the game. Come the opening international match of the following season, against World Champions England, Ferguson had retained his place, starting on the right-wing. No player had ever been sent from the field in the British Championship, but Ferguson became the first to receive his marching orders in the tournament following an ‘incident’ with Alan Ball. The nature of this ‘incident’ has been variously reported as being a ‘clumsy challenge’, ‘savage tackle’ and a ‘kick up the arse’.

Having won dozens of trophies in his decade at Windsor Park, Ferguson was given a free transfer in March 1969. He signed for Ballymena United, where he became club captain.

Billy Ferguson died in November 1998 following a long illness.

Northern Ireland Cap Details:
22-06-1966 Mexico.. H W 4-1 FR 1 Goal
10-1966 England. H L 0-2 ECQ/BC sent-off 84

Summary: 2/0. Won 1, Drew 0, Lost 1.

Scan supplied by Tubby Morton from the OWC forum.


Anonymous said...

My Uncle Was Billy Ferguson. Can Anyone Confirm That He Left The Field At Half Time During A Match To Marry My Aunt Sally Harkness?

jcd said...

It is not a story that I've heard before, but it is certainly a good one!

Anyone else heard this?

Anonymous said...

my mum billys sister in law has newspaper cuttings that i remember as a child do you know where i could get a copy??

jcd said...

It depends on which paper it is.

You could try www.proni.gov.uk. Alternatively, you could check the Belfast Telegraph or News Letter archives.

Anonymous said...

jcd, are you a family member?

jcd said...

No, I've no relations called Ferguson.

Anonymous said...

can i ask your connection with billy?

jcd said...

I've no connections.

I'm aiming to list and biograph every player to have represented Northern Ireland at football, and Billy had the honour of doing that twice.

Anonymous said...

maybe i could send you some info, would that help?

jcd said...

Yes, if you wish to email me anything yo have to jcd.nifg@googlemail. Alternatively, email me and we can continue this privately.

ablogintime said...

Billy worked in the Engineering firm of Robert Craig & Sons, Gt. Georges St.,where I met him as an apprentice.
Sorry to hear he has passed away.

carolshankill said...

my mums uncle is billy ferguson .. her names jeanette gray.. i think it was my granny brother or he cud be my mums cousin.. my granny is mary gray nee ferguson.. my aunt has news paper cuttings of him.. whom are frm shankill road..

William Lamb said...

I played for Cranbrook Star about 1960 and when we had are end of season party Billy was the guest of honour.
He presented me with my runners up medal and also top goal scorer medal

He was the perfect gentleman taking time to talk to us and I still have the picture from that great event in my life.


William Lamb

Anonymous said...

I have connections with Billy. It was my grandads brother.

Who was Northern Ireland's Greatest World Cup Player & Team? (select up to eleven players)

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