New Blues deal for Ferguson

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Former Scotland international Barry Ferguson has pledged his future to Birmingham City by signing a one-year contract extension that will keep him at St Andrew's until the summer of 2012.

The 32-year-old revitalised his career last term following his switch from Rangers and is hoping he can help Alex McLeish's side improve on last term's eighth-placed finish.

Speaking from the club's pre-season tour of Hong Kong and China, Ferguson said:"Before I left on the tour it was all agreed and I signed on the dotted line. I can now concentrate on another two years at Birmingham.

"It was kind of a dual thing, they came to me and had a chat, and I was always interested. I loved my first season down there. I've never hidden that. I was more than happy to extend the contract by another season. I can now focus on trying to do the job I did last year, and do it even better."

Ferguson has also explained why he opted to retire from international football. The midfielder had been stripped of the Scotland captaincy by former boss George Burley after a late-night drinking session following a World Cup qualifier against Iceland and then making obscene gestures from the bench at Hampden Park.

He added:"It was a major decision I took. I spoke to (current Scotland manager) Craig Levein at the end of February and I honestly didn't then think about it until the end of the season.

"I said to Birmingham I would give them everything when I came down, and I'm a firm believer in keeping my word. I wanted to make sure I finished the season as good as I could and then I went away and thought about it.

"I spoke to various people and came to a decision. It's been put to bed now and now I can focus on Birmingham.

"I was going to leave it until the start of August, but I just felt that Craig was a guy who came down to see me, we spoke a couple of times on the phone, and I thought I had to let him know before pre-season started.

"I wanted to concentrate on my pre-season here and, at the same time, there was my contract as well, and I wanted to get something sorted."

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