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Hugh "Hughie" Ferguson (2 March 1895 – 8 January 1930) was a Scottish footballer. One of only seven men in the history of the English and Scottish Football Leagues to have scored 350 League goals, he began his career at Motherwell and 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 remains a record at the club.

Hughie Ferguson
Personal information
Full name Hugh Ferguson
Date of birth (1895-03-02)2 March 1895
Place of birth Glasgow, Scotland
Date of death 8 January 1930(1930-01-08) (aged 34)
Place of death Dundee, Scotland
Playing position Centre forward
Youth career
1914–1916 Parkhead Juniors
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1916–1925 Motherwell 288 (284)
1925–1929 Cardiff City 117 (77)
1929–1930 Dundee 17 (2)
Total 422 (363)
National team
1920–1922 Scottish League XI 3 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

In 1925, he moved to Football League First Division side Cardiff City and continued his scoring exploits, including scoring the winning goals in the 1927 FA Cup Final, in a 1–0 victory over Arsenal, and the 1927 FA Charity Shield, in a 2–1 victory over amateur side Corinthians, making Cardiff the only non-English team to have ever won the FA Cup or the FA Charity Shield. Despite his prolific scoring record,[1] finishing his career with a goal average of 0.855 per game,[2] he was never capped for Scotland. He finished his career with a short spell with Dundee which ended when he committed suicide on 8 January 1930 at the age of 34.


Playing careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Renowned for his modesty and sense of fair play,[2] Ferguson started his career with Parkhead Juniors in 1914. He appeared for the side in their victorious 1914–15 Scottish Junior Cup final.


Ferguson joined John Hunter's Motherwell for the start of the 1916–17 season, scoring both goals in the 2–2 draw with Raith Rovers on 19 August 1916. He soon established himself as a prolific goalscorer at Fir Park, becoming the top Scottish Football League goalscorer on three occasions (1917–18; 1919–20; 1920–21), scoring 111 goals in total. His 43 goals in 1921 is the second highest season total of League goals in England or Scotland before the change to the offside law in 1925. His scoring exploits attracted interest from several English clubs and, in June 1922, Manchester City submitted an offer of £3,500 which was rejected by Motherwell who valued Ferguson at £4,000. City would later return with an improved bid of £3,900 which was accepted by the Motherwell board but the transfer collapsed when Ferguson turned down the move.[3]

With Motherwell, Ferguson reached the Scottish Cup quarter-finals in 1921 and 1922, the semi-finals in 1923, losing 2–0 to Celtic, and achieved third place in the League in 1920.[4]

Despite his performance, the dominance of Rangers and Dunfermline Athletic player Andy Cunningham and, later, Middlesbrough's high scoring Andy Wilson meant they were picked for Scotland ahead of Ferguson. He represented the Scottish League XI three times, scoring three goals.[5]

Cardiff CityEdit

In 1925, halfway through the season and after scoring his 285th goal for Motherwell, Ferguson departed for South Wales, joining FA Cup Finalists Cardiff City for a fee of £5,000, just £1,000 less than the record transfer fee at the time.[1] Such was his popularity at the Scottish club that the local steelworks closed for over an hour as the workers lined the streets to wave Ferguson off.[2] In the previous few seasons, Cardiff had trawled far and wide for talented players and Ferguson was one of a list of notable Scots to wear the blue shirt; Scottish internationals Jimmy Blair and Jimmy Nelson had both appeared for the club. He a goalscoring debut for the club on 7 November 1925 in a 5–2 win over Leicester City.[6]

Ferguson's most successful moment in English football occurred when he appeared for Cardiff in the 1927 Cup Final against Arsenal. 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.[7] Ernie Curtis, the 19‑year‑old centre-wing 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."[8]

Ferguson still features on the record books for Cardiff City, having scored five goals in the First Division fixture with Burnley on 1 September 1928 and his 32 goals in all competitions in the 1926–27 season stood until Robert Earnshaw overtook it in March 2003.[2] 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.


Ferguson returned to Scotland with Dundee in the following season for a fee of £500, but his days there were desperate; a despondent, demanding crowd seeking from the legendary goalscorer more than he could provide. He scored two goals for Dundee, before being dropped due to injury and a lack of form. His final game for the club was a 3–0 victory over Heart of Midlothian on 14 December 1929.[2]


Ferguson sank into depression and on 8 January 1930 committed suicide, gassing himself at Dens Park after a training session. He was aged 34, and left behind his wife Jessie and two children.[1] Ferguson's family have attributed his death to an imbalance of his inner-ear which they believe was caused by an undiagnosed brain tumour.[2]


Ferguson's son Jack later went on to represent Britain in water polo at the 1952 and 1956 Olympics.[9]

Career statisticsEdit


  • 1916–17 - 24 League goals;
  • 1917–18 - 35
  • 1918–19 - 19
  • 1919–20 - 33
  • 1920–21 - 43
  • 1921–22 - 32
  • 1922–23 - 30
  • 1923–24 - 28
  • 1924–25 - 28
  • 1925–26 - 12
  • Total 284

Cardiff City

  • 1925–26 - 19
  • 1926–27 - 26
  • 1927–28 - 18
  • 1928–29 - 14
  • Total 77


  • 1929–30 - 2; 17 appearances
  • Total 2


  • 1916–17 - 1929–30 363 goals.


Cardiff City


  1. ^ a b c "Cup friends reunited". BBC Sport. BBC. 4 January 2010. Retrieved 28 August 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Tragic Scots FA Cup hero who took his own life". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. 8 March 2008. Retrieved 28 August 2010.
  3. ^ "1918-1929". Motherwell F.C. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  4. ^ WELLnet -> pa -> hughie ferguson
  5. ^ "Hugh Ferguson". London Hearts Supporters' Club. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  6. ^ Hayes, Dean (2006). The Who's Who of Cardiff City. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 63. ISBN 1-85983-462-0.
  7. ^ BBC Wales On Air - The 1927 FA Cup contains slow-motion replay footage of the goal
  8. ^ Derrick Jenkins and Ceri Stennett, Wembley 1927
  9. ^ Gillon, Doug (28 April 2007). "Ferguson reflects on past as he enters university's Hall of Fame". The Herald. Retrieved 22 June 2015.

External linksEdit