Rumours of the end of Glenn Ferguson’s career could be greatly exaggerated.
It was widely anticipated that ‘Spike’ would hang up his boots at the end of the season but the former Northern Ireland international has admitted that he could play on for another campaign.
The former Linfield favourite may be 40-years-old but his passion for the game has never dwindled and Lisburn Distillery’s current survival fight has rekindled the fighting spirit and winning mentality in him.
Whites boss Tommy Wright is hoping the Irish League legend can fulfil a coaching role at the club next season — and also be able to don his famous boots when the occasion arises. If the Ballyskeagh boys can win their battle against relegation, Ferguson may be prepared to shelve retirement plans.
“Tommy is trying to talk me out of retirement and a few other people have come to me with various offers,” he said. “Before Christmas my mind was made up and I was quitting at the end of the season but now it’s a case of wait and see what happens.
“If the offer is right for me I would consider playing on but it’s difficult to say for certain that will happen. That was the plan when I joined Lisburn Distillery with Jimmy Brown, that I could do some coaching. The priority for the Whites is to stay in the Premier League and get on a sound financial footing and we all have to be focused on that.
“But I have never lost the desire to play football and to win. Whether I’m playing in a big game on a Saturday or simply playing with the kids I have always enjoyed the experience and that has never left me. The motivation to play and perform well will always be with me. I know it will be a painful decision to walk away from competitive football — that’s why I have stayed in the game this long.”
The Whites have had their troubles on and off the pitch this season but yesterday it emerged that a winding-up petition against the club had been dismissed at the High Court in Belfast. An unpaid rates bill of £65,000 placed the club’s future in doubt but the action has now ended and the club has entered into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in which it may repay its creditors from future profits or by selling assets.
Ferguson has admitted that helping the Whites win their survival fight would give him as much satisfaction as a trophy win at the Blues and if he was to call time on his career, it would be nice to sign off in style.
Wright’s basement battlers are now only three points behind Institute and host Crusaders tomorrow with a renewed sense of purpose.
“That has always been the goal for me — to do my best for the Whites and help them retain their place in the top flight,” he added.
“Three away wins, in which we scored three goals in each, have lifted confidence and it would be a shame to slip-up again at home even though Crusaders are a strong side.”
Ferguson will pay his own tribute to another Irish League legend when he attends Gary Smyth’s testimonial dinner at the Ramada Hotel on Sunday, May 2.
“In 22 years Gary never had a testimonial and he certainly deserves this big night,” added Ferguson. “I hope Glentoran, Glenavon, Crusaders and Ballymena United fans come out and show their appreciation for a player who has had an outstanding career.”
Anyone hoping to attend the dinner should contact John Henry on 07802 660 331 or Gareth Ferguson on 07514 100 033.