Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson insists he was never going to ‘down tools’ after handing in a transfer request.
Scotland international Ferguson slapped in a written transfer request in May this year after the Dons knocked back an offer of under £2m from Premier League Watford.
The transfer request was rejected by Aberdeen.
Ferguson says he suffered sleepless nights worrying as uncertainty over his future ‘ate away at me’.
The 22-year-old found solace in training and playing – the only escape from the stresses and uncertainty regarding his future.
Ferguson, who is set to start against Celtic on Sunday, accepts there will be some Aberdeen fans unhappy at his bid to leave the club.
However he reassured them he will give his all as long as he is at Pittodrie.
Ferguson said: “What Aberdeen fans expect of me is to give everything that I’ve got and I’m not going to change that.
“I knew myself, I’m not the kind of guy to down tools.
“I believe that the way I play and the way I go about my business is giving 100 per cent.
“That’s never going to change no matter what the situation is.
“Obviously, there are going to be fans out there who aren’t happy with your decision and you want away, but that’s football.
“They’re not in the position and don’t understand what you’re going through.”
Reaction of supporters to transfer request
Ferguson accepts submitting a transfer request to leave a club that has given him the platform to gain attention from the English top flight would not be well received with some sections of the Red Army.
However he has thanked supporters for their backing and vows to continue to give everything for the Reds – whilst admitting his future still remains undecided.
The club is greatly disappointed to have received a written transfer request from midfielder Lewis Ferguson today.
This request was rejected immediately.
More details ⬇️
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) May 19, 2021
Ferguson said: “It’s a hard one because obviously they (supporters) love their club.
“When they see someone is possibly going to leave, they might turn their back on them.
“But they’ve been great and I’ve had loads of support.
“When I pull on an Aberdeen shirt, I’m going to give everything.
“I don’t think they should expect anything less from me.”
Sleepless nights with no control over future
Ferguson’s future lies in Aberdeen’s hands as he is contracted to the club until summer 2024 having penned a two year extension in February 2019.
It’s just when you go away from football and you’re trying to sleep at night, it’s tough because you just don’t know what’s going to happen and it’s not really in your hands.
“It’s a difficult position to be in but I just had to get through it.”
Lewis Ferguson, Aberdeen and Scotland midfielder
With the knowledge his future is ‘not really in your hands’ Ferguson suffered sleepless nights after Watford’s bid, and his subsequent transfer request, were rejected.
He said: “It’s just when you go away from football and you’re trying to sleep at night, it’s tough because you just don’t know what’s going to happen and it’s not really in your hands.
“It’s a difficult position to be in but I just had to get through it.
“There’s not much I can do now.
“I don’t know what the future holds still, but I’m just fully focused on Aberdeen.”
‘It eats away at you a bit and you think a lot more than you should’
After the route to the world’s biggest league disappeared, for now, following the rejection of Watford’s bid Ferguson admitted he endured a tough time.
Training and matches were where he found escape.
He said: “It was difficult. It’s hard when there’s loads of speculation going on and you don’t quite know where your future lies.
“When you’re away from football, it eats away at you a bit and you think a lot more than you should.
“It was tough to go through that, but when I was training, when I was playing, it didn’t have any effect on me at all.
“I just had to come back in to training and get my head down.
“I worked hard over the summer to stay fit and come back in ready to train and play for Aberdeen.
“I was fully focused on playing football.
“I tried to block all that out while I was training and while I was playing.”
Mind clear when training and playing
Ferguson emerged from that summer of uncertainty and netted a double in the first game of the new season – a 5-1 defeat of BK Hacken in the Europa Conference League second qualifying round first leg at Pittodrie.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) July 22, 2021
He would go on to score against Iceland’s Breidablik in the next round and also net a late consolation in a 3-1 loss (4-1 aggregate) defeat to Qarabag of Azerbaijan in the play-offs.
This season also marked the senior international breakthrough of the midfielder who made his debut as a late substitute in the 2-0 World Cup qualifier loss to Group leaders Denmark on September 1.
Ferguson would go on to earn a second cap in the 1-0 defeat of Austria and has been named in national boss Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Israel and Faroe Islands.
On coping with the transfer request and rejected Watford bid, Ferguson said: “I think I coped with it the best I could.
“I’ve got good people around me who look after me and give me good advice.
“When I was training and playing that’s probably when I felt best because my mind was off things.
“I was fully focused on football.
“As soon as you cross that white line, nothing else really matters.”
Decision not in the manager’s hands
When rejecting Watford’s approach Aberdeen slated the Premier League club’s bid of under £2m as ‘insulting’.
Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass views Ferguson as crucial to his plans and confirmed at the start of pre-season training that they were not actively looking to sell the midfielder during the summer transfer window.
Glass did, however, admit that could change if a club came in with an offer for the midfielder that the Pittodrie board found acceptable.
Ferguson insists he had constant dialogue with manager Glass over the summer but accepts the final decision was not ‘in his hands’.
He said: “I spoke to the manager a lot over the summer.
“We had loads of chats which were good and all positive.
“Me and the gaffer get on really well.
“Obviously, there are no decisions that are in his hands, it’s not come to him, but we get on really great and the conversations that we had were good.
“I understood where he was coming from, he understood where I was coming from.
“There was an understanding there between me and the gaffer.”
Back with a 💥 https://t.co/CXw4dNbkcr
— lewis ferguson (@lewisferguson7) July 23, 2021
Talks with chairman Dave Cormack
Asked if he had discussions with United States based Chairman Dave Cormack, Ferguson said: “I had a chat over the summer with my agent and the chairman.
“He’s not in here every day so it’s hard to keep contact.
“I’ve not spoke to him since he went back over to America. I’ve not spoken to him in a while.”
Bid to overtake Celtic and reignite season
Aberdeen will host Celtic at Pittodrie on Sunday in a game neither struggling team can afford to lose.
The Dons are on an eight game winless streak and are mired in the worst run of form since 2010.
A return of just two points from the last possible 15 has dropped Aberdeen into the Premiership bottom six.
Celtic’s woes are arguably worse. The Parkhead club have lost five of their last eight games and crashed 4-0 at home to Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Hoops have not won away from home domestically for seven months and are suffering the worst league start in more than two decades.
With Celtic just two points ahead of seventh placed Aberdeen Ferguson is determined to secure a win to leap-frog Ange Postecoglou’s struggling side and reignite Aberdeen’s season.
Ferguson said: “That’s something (overtaking Celtic) that everybody knows – looking at the league table if we could manage to get a result.
“It’s always a big game against Celtic.
“They are a good opponent, tough to play against with loads of good attacking players.
“Celtic are obviously not on the best of form as well.
“They’ll be looking forward to coming up to Pittodrie and trying to win the game – the same as us.
“It should be a good game – two teams trying to turn things around – so I’m looking forward to it.”
🔴Will Stephen Glass take Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis out of the firing line for this weekend's visit of Celtic?
— EveningExpress Sport (@ee_sport) September 28, 2021