Darren Ferguson has spoken about his exit from Doncaster Rovers for the first time in an interview with BBC Radio Manchester.
The Scot says that he decided at the end of last season that he wanted a break.
Ferguson also stated that he ‘wasn’t overly keen’ that Rovers were ‘happy’ for last term to be a season of consolidation back in League One.
The Free Press understands - from well-placed sources within the club - that Ferguson had expected a bigger playing budget for this season’s promotion push.
The 46-year-old resigned on June 4 last year following meetings with the board.
He announced his decision to quit via a statement on the League Managers’ Association website which said he was looking forward to the new season and had ‘no alternative’ to walk away.
Ferguson’s father, Sir Alex, underwent emergency surgery for a bleed on the brain in early May.
Here’s the full transcript of what was said on BBC Radio Manchester….
Interviewer: What happened in that first season you had there [at Rovers]?
Ferguson: Well when I first came in I knew it was a big job, not only [...] but to structure the way I wanted the club from the academy all the way up. I like to do that and I want to see younger players coming through. So I did all that but obviously the most important thing, I think we were second bottom when I went in and we got them going, played some good football, and by January we'd got them up to six or seven points off the play-offs. We played Stoke in the cup at home and nearly beat them, we should have probably got a draw. And then we played Gillingham, who I think were top or second top, and we drew 2-2. And from that moment on, in January, we couldn’t get a win in 17 games. I kept playing the way I wanted to play, I was stubborn. But the players had lost that much confidence perhaps they couldn’t play the way I wanted to. In the end eventually the first game we won was Wigan, who’d won the league. I found out a lot about the players and it made my decisions easier in the summer about who I could keep or not.
Interviewer: The second season was much better, promotion from League Two. The third season was stability back in League One. I think the foundations were then there for a promotion push for what wouldn’t been this season but in the summer you made the decision to leave, why was that decision made?
Ferguson: You’re absolutely correct about the foundations of the football club. From the moment we got into League Two everything was on course. We got promoted. The following season the club were happy for it to be a season of consolidation which I wasn’t overly keen on but I accepted it. I would be able to do that for one year and then obviously at the end of that year we wanted to kick on. The foundations are there, you can see they’re doing well. There’s no surprise there, the squad that we got is a very good one. And I just decided at the end of that season that I wanted a break, and that’s what I ended up doing.
Interviewer: What’s next for you?
Ferguson: I’ve enjoyed my break and I always felt when I left that I knew I’d be having a break until January time. I’ve spent some great time with my wife and kids, we went skiing, things that I don’t normally do. I’ve enjoyed that but I want to get back to work now.
Interviewer: Going back to Doncaster Rovers do you look at the squad and think if you had stayed you could’ve done a similar job to Grant McCann?
Ferguson: Absolutely. I’m not going to say ‘no’ am I? The aim, if I had stayed, would've been promotion – that’s an absolute certainty. They’re going well. They’re a great bunch of lads there and Grant’s done well.
Ferguson’s LMA statement released on June 4: “Following recent discussions and meetings with the board I have decided to resign from my position as Manager of Doncaster Rovers Football Club.
“I am disappointed to have made this decision as I have enjoyed my time at the club and was looking forward to the new season, but I felt I had no alternative.”
Rovers’ statement on June 4: “Following conversations between the board of Doncaster Rovers and Darren Ferguson, the club can confirm that we have parted ways.”