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Ferguson has a lot more goals in him: Bailie

By Stuart McKinley

Linfeild captain Noel Bailie has backed team-mate Glenn Ferguson to keep on scoring after both men were honoured at last night's Umbro Northern Ireland Footballer of the Year dinner.

Ferguson scooped the main prize for the second year in succession, becoming the first man to win the Umbro award twice in its five-year history.

It turned out to be a clean-sweep for the Blues, after the team lifted the Irish Premier League title and the Irish Cup in the spring.

Although he was outscored during the first 11 months of 2007 by Peter Thompson (28) and Gary Hamilton (27), Ferguson is now just a hat-trick away from hitting the 500 career goal mark and at 38-years-old he shows no signs of slowing down.

"Glenn is a fantastic player and has been for many years," said Bailie.

"A lot of players are lucky to play 500 games in their career, yet Glenn has scored nearly 500 goals.

"How long can he go on for? Well, I am sure there are more goals in him this season and next season too if he wants to."

Cliftonville's highly consistent left-back Ronan Scannell came in third in the Player of the Year race, while Newry City's talented midfielder Richard Clarke showed why he has attracted attention for English and Scottish clubs by being named as runner-up to the evergreen Ferguson.

Bailie received the Special Merit Award after leading Linfield to the double earlier this year and taking his tally of games for the Blues to over 900.

Guest of honour, former England midfielder Ray Wilkins, praised Bailie for his contribution to the club.

"It is tremendous that someone has that kind of loyalty towards their club," he said.

"You just don't get that nowadays and I think Gary Neville and John Terry will probably be the last players to serve out their career with one club."

Thompson's 28 goals so far in 2007 won him the top goalscorer prize among the 24 local players who are sponsored by Umbro, with 13 of those coming in the current campaign - one less than Ferguson since the start of the season.

Ferguson's Umbro victory goes alongside the hat-trick of Player of the Year titles he has received over the last seven years from the Northern Ireland Football Writers.

Belfast Telegraph


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