Mesdames et Messieurs, Damen und Herren, presenting Der Überned, the non-thinking ned's ned, the pride of Lodge Hamilton Kilwinning No. 7, Barry Ferguson MBE EBT.
When he wasn't getting pished, causing fights in hotel bars, throwing ice over folk or making obscene gestures to television cameras, Ferguson was a player, and sometime captain, at Rangers FC. Many folk, including my wife's nephews, seemed to think that he was a great player; both my brother-in-law and I couldn't see it. We both agreed that he was like the wee ned you used to get in the school team, who was there purely by dint of everybody being too scared to take the ball off him for fear of getting 'The Malky'. Even Ferguson's posture while playing, back and head perfectly straight, chest shoved out, was more suggestive of a Page 3 model rather than a footballer. As you may have gathered, I've never been a fan.
Where Ferguson did excel, though, was in the field of cheating, normally with the collusion of match officials. The handball incidents, the kicking, tripping, punching etc. that he got away with is unbelievable. I once even watched him push a referee so hard the man nearly fell on his arse. What punishment did he get? Bugger all, of course. On the rare couple of occasions when he was sent off he petulantly stuck his fingers up at the crowd and kicked any inanimate object that was close-by. All the times that he got away with things made him like a spoilt brat and he behaved like a big mammy's boy any time he was punished.
Of course, when it came to the EBT scheme, Barry was right in there. I doubt he can count higher than ten, so somebody must have explained to him, in simple language, that he could get more money by accepting one of these 'loans'. He was paid a grand total of two-and-a-half million quid through the scheme, making him one of the largest beneficiaries and certainly the biggest one among the players. No doubt he had a side contract as well, which, if they're ever made public, will stand out easily among the others. It'll be the only one signed with an X.
When his playing days were over, there was no way he could carve out a career in television or radio, like Sooperally, since nobody can understand what the hell he's saying, even those of us that come from the West of Scotland. He's got a regular column in the Daily Record, where some poor bastard had to go once a week and try to translate his neddish mutterings into some semblance of the English language and then type it up for the readers. Even then it's often unintelligible drivel.
Ferguson has been manager of Second Division club Clyde FC for well over a year now; not that you'd know it if you read his column. All he ever goes on about is 'Rangers', sometimes meaning his old club, sometimes meaning Sevco. (Barry's a huge supporter of the Big Lie and even devoted a whole column to why it was still the same club. Unfortunately, his arguments made as much sense as his column usually does.) He's set himself up as some kind of 'elder statesman', often comparing the Rangers of his day with the 'Rangers' of today. It's quite often not a complimentary comparison, but the odd statement makes its way into the rhetoric to let The Peeppul know that he agrees with them that 'Everybody's bad tae Raynjurz'.
For some strange, unknown reason, Ferguson was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2006. He was only 28 at the time and it beggars belief that it was for 'services to football'. Even Jim McLean was taken aback, saying, three years later:
"To this day I still don't know what on earth Ferguson did to earn that. He was too young anyway and I could also think of so many other people in football who were far more deserving of such an honour. There are countless who have achieved much greater things." (Daily Record 3-4-09)
To my mind, Ferguson was never a great player; certainly not as great as everyone made him out to be. He was a ned and a thug, who got away with behaviour that would never have been allowed by anyone else. As well as cheating constantly on the pitch, he was the recipient of a huge EBT 'loan', helping his club to cheat Scottish football off the pitch as well. He is a massive supporter of the Big Lie and is one of the 'move on' brigade. He is a ned and a cheating wee bastard. That, plus the fact that I've never liked him, more than justify his inclusion in this Festive Rogues Gallery.