Ferguson Harry Image 1 St Johnstone 1936

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Description

A big man for those days, standing around six foot and weighing 12 stones, Harry Ferguson hailed from the Hillfoots district, in the shadow of the Ochil Hills, Stirlingshire.  His early football was played with the famous local club, Alva Albion Rangers. From there he came to Perth, in late May 1925, signed as a left half for St Johnstone by manager Davie Taylor. Although they were relegated from the First Division in 1930, he helped Saints to return to The Scottish First Division in 1932 as Second Division runners up.

Ferguson’s place in St Johnstone history is due to a number of factors.  Firstly, he was clearly a very good player – good enough to be chosen as reserve for the inside left position for the Scottish League against the Irish League in October 1935 – and secondly he was with the club for twelve seasons, longer than anyone else.  Moreover, he scored 70 goals in his time at Perth, and he still holds the joint club record for goals in the Scottish Cup with Steve Maskrey.

Although starting out as a wing half, Ferguson was equally capable of playing (as the Scottish League selectors indicated) at inside forward.  A naturally left sided player, he was a gifted footballer who combined deftness of touch with the athletic ability necessary for any midfield player, described at the time as “a football craftsman of the first rank”.  By all accounts, he was a gentleman too, a home loving man with a quiet, unselfish approach to life.  On the field, he would not shirk his responsibilities but would rather try to retrieve an awkward situation than pass the ball to one of his team mates.

Ferguson’s skills attracted the scouts from south of the border, but when big money offers came in for him, with the promise of financial incentive way beyond those which Saints could offer, he was not prepared to move.  Blackburn Rovers, who bought several Saints’ stars in the inter-war period, offered a substantial fee (reportedly some £1,600) as well as attractive personal terms in January 1933, but despite the lure of the lucre Ferguson was happy at Perth and would not go.

In total, he played 285 times for St Johnstone and was without doubt the kind of club servant every team wishes, but seldom gets.  In recognition of his sterling service he was given a testimonial match against Manchester City, captained by the great Matt Busby on 23rd September 1935. Ferguson scored a hat-trick that night, and although the Light Blues scored one more, the match yielded a surplus of £109:4:4d, which the St Johnstone Board of Directors rounded up to £120. It was a fitting reward for a display of loyalty which was to carry on for tw0 more years.

Harry Ferguson eventually played his last game for the club against Clyde in the Scottish Cup on 13th February 1937, a match which Saints unfortunately lost 3-1.

 

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