When Barry Ferguson left Ewood Park for a return to Glasgow in 2005 after spending just 16 injury blighted months at the club, many would have felt his time in England was tainted with the resent of what could have been. Many of the press labelled him a flop and that the retreat showed he could only showcase his considerable talent within comforts of home.
He had made his love for Glasgow Rangers abundantly clear so his return to Ibrox to join his current manager at Birmingham Alex McLeish hardly came as a surprise and after leading them to the 2009 Scottish Premier League title and a Scottish Cup double, it looked for all the world he would see out his career there. However, with the booze gate scandal whilst on international duty with Scotland continued to emasculate the admiration for his ability on the pitch, Ferguson decided it was time to move on.
This came concurrently with Birmingham City having been guided back to the Premier League by none other than Former Rangers boss Alex McLeish who had identified Ferguson as the man to hold his midfield together in the top flight – a year or so on and Barry Ferguson’s shot at Premier League redemption should be celebrated in the same incisive fashion by those who were quick to roll out a plethora of words vaguely linked to failure.
His move to St Andrews for a fee in the region of £1.2 million in July 2009 is now looking much more shrewd than in the initial instance and perhaps he should be more widely considered as one of the best signings for the money in the past few transfer windows.
Ferguson made more passes in the Premier League than any other player last season and his control of midfield has won him a place in the Blues fans hearts. The Scotsman keeps the game circulating, trying to get Birmingham passing the ball or sitting deep and breaking up opposition’s attacks.
Seeing Ferguson lose the ball has become a rarity and Birmingham fans’ love for him will have only intensified when he said he was loving life at Blues:
“I love it here. I have said plenty of times before I wasn’t enjoying my football during the last few months in Scotland. I made the decision with Rangers that I had to move on because I was going pretty stale up the road. I was playing the same teams week in, week out.”
“The manager gave me the opportunity to come down and I think I had to prove again that I could play at this level. I’m enjoying every minute of it. The boys are fantastic, everything about the club is great and I’m enjoying my football.”
“I have got another two years left on my contract now and hopefully I will see them out.”
Whilst his job in midfield does not draw as many plaudits as a combative midfielder might, the fact that he was Birmingham’s players player of the season last term shows that Ferguson has dispelled any lingering critics as to whether he can prove himself at the elite level and this should be roundly admired instead of being understated.