Farewell Simon Ferry
Alex Cooke looks at the hair, the pants and the departure of Swindon Town’s long-serving player, who was told he would be released on Thursday.
Swindon crowds have their favourites. They love down-the-line wingers, they love blood-and-thunder triers, they love goalscorers. Simon Ferry was none of these things and yet, there are few in recent times to receive such universal adulation as the midfielder.
Ferry encapsulated something different. He was effective but also impish. His efficiency in passing, calm in control and reticence in the dribble belied a cheekiness, an exuberance in his play and his off-the-field persona.
His various Twitter accounts were genuinely funny, his hair was often hilarious and his underwear was occasionally all to visible. And so he endeared himself to Swindon fans through charm, not cynical badge-kissing. There was a modesty, an honesty to him. So when I wrote about his passing statistics on here, he quietly thanked me via Twitter, refused to ‘retweet’ and left his mum to ‘Like’ it on Facebook.
Similarly, seeing Ferry and his partner pushing a pram away from the County Ground post-matc and back towards their home in Old Town was one of the stranger, but most warming, sights to greet me of a Saturday evening in Swindon. It might not be close to watching Ernie Hunt and Mike Summerbee enjoying a kick-about against kids in the streets in Six Days To Saturday but it is a much greater distance from the hordes of footballing mercenaries who rarely seem entirely sure which club they play for without looking at the logo on their pay cheque.
Ferry’s qualities are best encapsulated in the Argentine notion of the ‘pibe’ – almost a rebellious footballing urchin. The Argentine journalist Borocoto, writing in El Grafico in 1928, described best the national stereotype: “a pibe with a dirty face, a mane of hair rebelling against the comb; with intelligent, roving, trickster, and persuasive eyes and a sparkling gaze that seem to hint at a picaresque laugh that does not quite manage to form on his mouth, full of small teeth that might be worn down by eating yesterday’s bread”. And while Ferry’s hair couldn’t rebel against that amount of gel, and he lacked the lavish talents of Maradona and Messi, at times with his energy, wit and boyish looks, Simon Ferry was Swindon’s own pibe.
But Ferry had his flaws. He was lightweight, he could be bypassed in matches. Danny Wilson clearly preferred David Prutton for a season as rumours circulated about Ferry’s lifestyle Perhaps his career at Swindon has reached a plateau and parenthood might have changed his priorities too, but his recent performances in wider positions showed his limitations in taking on his direct opponent, creating or crossing himself, rather than just feeding others.
However, as he showed one last time against Brentford, he could still change a game, just as he did with the minds of Swindon fans to make them love a non-goal scoring, lightweight, seemingly effortless, little central midfielder.
Which are your favourite Simon Ferry moments and memories? Add them below the line…
Skip to 1m6s for Ferry’s entrance…
Lovely article. Love that wee boofy-haired Scot. It was all about the Ferry-Caddis-Ritchie axis for me. Such a shame they didn’t play together in League One this year, and couldn’t have a stab at Championship football. I remember an otherwise pretty forgettable home win against Accrington Stanley last year – we threatened to overrun them in the first half, and it all came from Ferry’s simple, short passing and probing…
I bumped into Simon in the Old Town Co-Op a few days before the Wigan FA Cup game last year and even though he had bags of shopping to carry he took the time to chat to me and my wife and genuinely seemed interested in us as fans and what we’d been doing for New Year etc. He made a good ambassador for the club and Its a shame hes leaving, good luck to him in the future.
As Alex writes, the episodes around Ferry and the articles that we’ve written about him have always made me smile. Especially his response to a comparison with Xavi (referring to an article on here) in his recent interview with the Scottish Sun http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/4888295/A-to-Z-with-Swindons-Simon-Ferry.html “The guy who did those stats has since been drug tested and will never be allowed near any form of sport again.” Such a shame to to lose such a character and quality player from the County Ground.
Fantastic article. It’s a shame that Kmac never saw the best of Ferry, when fit he could turn a game in midfield and always put in 110% in every game. A great squad player. the club are nuts to let him go.He has a lovely personality and is always in touch with the fans. His radio and tweets are hilarious. We will miss you Simon, our loss will undoubtably be another clubs gain. Good luck.
Great article as always, brought a tear to my eye reading it!
Bumped into this page when finding what Simon was up to. I am a Celtic fan and saw him play many times for youths. Was a genuinely outstanding prospect but sadly blighted by 3 years of injury. Hope he finds a club that appreciates and uses his talent. And hope it’s a Scottish one.
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