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Everton Giant

Everton Giant

Duncan Ferguson’s place among Blue royalty was crystallised at the Club’s 6th Annual Awards ceremony as the imperious striker took on Everton Giant status.

Each year one individual is inducted to this elite group of Goodison alumni who, through time, have elevated themselves above the rest.

Those who have fought with an unstinting passion, those who have entertained, those to have worn the shirt with boundless pride and those to have made an impression so lasting that it passes from one generation to the next.

And if there was ever any doubt that Duncan belonged in such esteemed company, it was instantly dispelled in those raw moments as he was presented to the crowd before the win over Man City - Goodison rising in unison to salute one of its favourite sons.

On the pitch Ferguson could be savage, merciless, unplayable – a man who played on the edge. Off the pitch his teammates oft spoke of his human qualities – the softly-spoken gentleman who had time for everyone – funny, kind and considerate.

And it was those traits that shone through as the truly humbled Scot soaked up a standing ovation before collecting his award from compatriot and former teammate David Weir and ex-Blues assistant manager Alan Irvine.

"This is an unbelievable honour," he said. "I have been away for a few years and you think people have forgotten you.

Duncan 2Duncan Ferguson poses with his Everton Giant award

"This Club has been a big part of my life and this city has been a big part of my life. I met my wife here and my three kids were born here.

"I miss the place, I miss the football and I miss the derbies. You are a long time retired, I have been retired for five years and it feels like 25. So to the players that are here now, stay in football as long as you can and stay at this Club as long as you can because there is only one way after leaving this Club, and that is down.

"The fans here have always been great towards me. They are unbelievable. They took me in and they are the best fans in the country, if not the world."

Duncan initially joined Everton on loan in 1994 but Joe Royle made the switch permanent when he took over and Ferguson scored his first goal against Liverpool in the manager's first match. He of course went on to finish that season with the one honour of his career – the 1995 FA Cup.

Such goals became a theme for Ferguson with his contributions in big games against the Reds and Manchester United quickly etching his name into Blues folklore. The striker invariably saved his best for when he faced the best.

In all, Duncan gave 10 years to the Club across two spells – an 18-month stint with Newcastle splitting his Everton love affair.

Yes, both injuries and disciplinary indiscretions blighted his career and ensured Evertonians only saw his best sporadically.

But there is little doubt of the man’s talent. Defenders were often rendered helpless by his rugged aerial dominance while the sweetness in his left foot was underestimated by those who didn’t see him play regularly.

Duncan 3Alan Irvine and David Weir welcome Duncan Ferguson to the stage at the BT Convention Centre

Duncan was a symbol for the Club just like the Everton crest tattooed on his arm emblemised his pride at donning the No.9 shirt.

And it was the passion and determination he showed on the pitch that gave him that empathy with the fans who adored him and afforded him cult hero status on the terraces.

His 72 goal return fails to reflect his talent with the aforementioned injuries robbing him of time on the pitch.

That said, when wearing the famous royal Blue, not one second expired where Duncan was anything but focused, bloody-minded and motivated with every fibre of his being in giving his all for the Club.

The Everton Giant Award was sponsored by Intelligent Sales.

For full coverage and plenty of reaction from tonight's awards. click here.

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