There are two Tranmere fans named Ryan Ferguson, and I’m not the hooligan
In recent days, I have received several messages from people sharing a prominent news story and asking if I’m the protagonist. As reported by the BBC, ITV, Wirral Globe and others, a Tranmere Rovers fan named Ryan Ferguson – already a banned hooligan – faces jail after racially abusing a black professional footballer. For the avoidance of doubt, I’m not the Ryan Ferguson in question, and I’m appalled by the actions of this so-called Rovers supporter.
I can see why people may jump to conclusions, though. With average attendances around 8,000, there cannot be too many ‘Ryan Fergusons’ who support Tranmere Rovers. The odds of two existing – both in our twenties, and both having lived in Liverpool – are incomprehensible. Throw in the complicated rivalry between Tranmere and Forest Green – for whom the victim played – and I cannot blame people for putting two and two together.
Thanks to Planet Prentonia, I have developed a readership among the niche Tranmere community, but most people pay little attention, and rightly so. They may loosely associate ‘Ryan Ferguson’ with ‘Tranmere Rovers’ having read one of my articles or heard me rant about Emmanuel Dieseruvwe on a podcast, but they probably do not know what I look like, how old I am, or where I live. Therefore, it is only natural that I’m implicated by word association here. I hope this statement clarifies matters.
At first, I was not particularly bothered by my local namesake. In the grand scheme of things, it probably does not matter. I actually saw the funny side of it – years perfecting ‘Ryan Ferguson Tranmere Rovers’ for Google SEO ruined by one oblivious BBC News piece. Besides, I’m regularly mistaken for yet another Ryan Ferguson – an American who spent nearly 10 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of murder – so dealing with misguided mail is a common occurrence.
However, when people began reaching out, confused by the recent media reports, I had to take action and differentiate myself. After a series of phone calls, the Wirral Globe kindly added a note from the editor to the end of their piece, distinguishing the Tranmere-supporting ‘Ryan Fergusons.’ Thanks to Jamie Bowman for sorting that so quickly. Similar footnotes are being processed by the BBC and ITV.
Finally, I would just like to thank the many long-term readers who have defended me in speculative online discussions. Any Tranmere fans I have interacted with – online or at matches – know how important the club is to me. I take pride in my position as a representative of the fans, and that will never change. So no, I have not been banned from Prenton Park, to answer a frequently asked question. I, like you, still have to watch this dross every week. Which Ryan Ferguson is being punished, then? That is open for debate.