Hughie Ferguson

Hughie FergusonHughie Ferguson was one of the most prolific goalscorer’s in the history of Scottish football. Born in Motherwell on the 2nd March 1897, he joined his hometown club in 1916 after serving Motherwell Hearts and Parkhead Juniors. While with the latter, he was a Scottish Junior Cup winner during the 1914/15 season when he was just 17 years of age.

At Fir Park he was quickly amongst the goals as in August 1916 he scored  double against Raith Rovers in a 2-2 draw. On three occasions (1917/18, 1919/20 and 1920/21) he was the top scorer in the Scottish Football League, impressively he had notched an impressive 111 goals in total. In the 1920/21 season, he set a record of league goals when he scored 42 times during the season, a total which was eventually surpassed eleven years later when Willie McFadyen scored 52 goals when the side won the league and became the Champions of Scotland in 1931/32.

Despite producing the goods consistently on the field he was overlooked when it came to Scotland caps as Rangers forward Andrew Cunningham and latterly Andy Wilson of Middlesbrough were selected to play in front of him. Hughie did however represent the Scottish League on three occasions, this was the extent of his international honours.

While in Lanarkshire he helped the side to a third place league finish in 1920 and enjoyed a number of Scottish Cup runs which culminated in two Quarter Finals and one Semi Final. In November 1925 the side had only lost one of there opening 15 league games and were considered to be genuine title challengers but not long after netting his 284th league goal for Motherwell, the club received an offer they simply couldn’t refuse when Cardiff City offered £4,000 to secure his services, the Welsh side were more than happy to get their cheque book open as they were keen to build a side that could compete with the top clubs within the English leagues. As Ferguson moved onto pastures new, ‘Well’s title challenge would ultimately fizzle out as they finished the season in 5th position.

The departure of Hughie Ferguson caused somewhat of a stir when he left, people lined the streets and many Steelworkers and miners downed their tools so that they could give their hero a send off he deserved.

He continued his goal scoring form while at Cardiff, it’s not hard to find his finest moment for the Bluebirds as he scored the winner in the 1927 FA Cup Final against Arsenal. Despite his goalscoring exploits the goal was perhaps quite fortunate as his tame effort went straight to the Arsenal keeper Lewis, just as it looked like he had gathered the ball it squirmed out of his grasp and rolled into the empty net. As legend has it, Lewis blamed it on the sheen of his new jersey that he was wearing which made the ball slip from his grasp. To this day Arsenal have a superstition where they’re sure to wash any new goalkeeper kit before playing a game. Ferguson was also a Charity Shield and Welsh Cup winner while at Ninian Park.

Later in his career Hughie returned to Scotland and signed for Dundee for a fee of £500, he was unable to replicate his earlier form which took a massive toll on his mental health as a demanding crowd became frustrated at his lack of goals. Ferguson was dropped in mid December 1929 due to injury and lack of form.

Tragically he took his own life on the 8th January 1930, gassing himself at Dens Park after a training session. He was only 34 years of age leaving behind a wife and two young children. His family later attributed the death to an imbalance of his inner-ear which they believe was caused by an undiagnosed brain tumour.

At Motherwell he was regarded as a distinguished member of the Fir Park team, his modesty and conduct and being an all round gentleman made him a universal favourite not just around the club but in Scottish football in general. 

Hughie scored 364 league goals in football, he is one of only seven British players to top 350.

His son Jack, represented Great Britain at Water Polo at the 1952 and 1956 Olympic Games.

Hugh Ferguson
5′ 7″
11st 7lbs
Date of Birth:
2nd March 1897
Place of Birth:

Football Career:

Motherwell 1916 1925
Cardiff City 1925 1929
Dundee 1929 1930

Well Career:

Apps Goals
299 284
Scottish Cup:
League Cup:
299 284