Glasgow born centre forward Hughie Ferguson’s story is one of brilliance and tragedy. He won the Scottish Junior Cup with Parkhead Juniors in 1914 and joined “Sailor” Hunter’s Motherwell in the summer of 1916, scoring twice on his Scottish League debut against Raith Rovers. He soon established himself as a consistent scorer, finishing as the top goalscorer in the Scottish Football League on three occasions between 1918 and 1921. His 284 League goals in only 288 matches remains a record at the club. He was the subject of much interest from English clubs, turning down a big money move to Manchester City, and eventually joined that season’s Cup Finalists Cardiff City for £5,000 in November 1925. At Cardiff he scored his first hat-trick in a win at Notts County in April 1926 and was their leading goalscorer in each of his four seasons at Ninian Park. He scored 87 goals in 131 matches over four seasons but of course will always be remembered for his winning goal against Arsenal at Wembley in the 1927 FA Cup Final which took the Cup outside of England for the one and only time to date.
Having scored five times on the way to the Final, in the 74th minute, collecting a throw from the right, Ferguson hurried a tame shot toward the Arsenal goal. Dan Lewis, the Arsenal goalkeeper, appeared to collect the ball but, under pressure from the advancing Len Davies, clumsily allowed the ball to roll through his grasp; in a desperate attempt to retrieve the ball, Lewis only succeeded in knocking the ball with his elbow into his own net. Ernie Curtis, the 19 year-old Cardiff inside forward said of the goal:
- “I was in line with the edge of the penalty area on the right when Hughie Ferguson hit the shot which Arsenal’s goalie had crouched down for a little early. The ball spun as it travelled towards him, having taken a slight deflection so he was now slightly out of line with it. Len Davies was following the shot in and I think Dan must have had one eye on him. The result was that he didn’t take it cleanly and it squirmed under him and over the line. Len jumped over him and into the net, but never actually touched it.“
Ferguson still features on the record books for Cardiff City, having scored five goals in the First Division match with Burnley on 1st September 1928 and his record total of 32 goals in all competitions in the 1926-27 season stood until Robert Earnshaw overtook it in March 2003. He also scored the first goal in a 2-1 victory over The Corinthians in the 1927-28 Charity Shield and his two goals won the Welsh Cup later that same season for Cardiff against Bangor, but despite a healthy return of 77 goals during his four seasons there his days at Ninian Park were numbered due to a back injury.
He finished his career with a short spell with Dundee in 1929, scoring twice in 17 appearances, but it ended when he tragically committed suicide on 9th January 1930 at the age of 31, attributed to depression. He is only one of only seven men in the entire history of the Football and Scottish Football Leagues to have scored 350 League goals. Despite amazingly never playing for Scotland he scored in every game in 3 matches for The Scottish League between March 1920 and October 1922.
NB in the photograph he wears a Scottish League representative shirt.