Barry Ferguson will look back on his career with a fair amount of satisfaction.
Not only has he managed to captain his country and lead his boyhood heroes Rangers to lift every single trophy in Scottish football, he also successfully made the step south of the boarder to the Premier League.
But it all so nearly ended with him limping off after 29 minutes of Fleetwood’s home draw against Southend back in December.
He’d torn his thigh muscle which signalled the end of a shock loan move which saw him leave Blackpool to try his hand with Micky Mellon’s League Two side.
Ferguson had fallen out with the powers that be at Bloomfield Road, and was basically planning to see out his contract, before calling it a day this summer.
Then arrived Paul Ince.
The now Blackpool boss spotted something in himself in the 35-year-old midfielder, and quickly sat down with the star and recalled him back into the first team squad.
It was a moment which Ferguson admits saved his career.
“I’m not going to kid on, round about Christmas time I was retiring,” Ferguson told The Gazette.“It just shows how football can change. The manager came in here and showed faith in me, he believed I could play week-in-week out.
“A lot of people go on about age, but I’m as fit as I’ve ever been.
“Paul Ince coming in was a major factor in me carrying on.”
Ferguson responded with the best form of his Blackpool career and played a massive part in the Seasiders’ avoiding relegation after a disastrous season for the club.
When Ince sat down with Karl Oyston to make a list of the out of contract players he’d like to keep, Ferguson’s name was at the very top.
He was superb in Saturday’s season opener against Doncaster, although he admits he needs special treatment from the manager these days.
He said: “I’m feeling good.
“The manager is looking after me a lot more.
“In pre-season I did all the sessions, but in the season maybe my training will be toned down a little bit.
“I can’t do what I did ten years ago, with double sessions and things.
“It’s great that I’ve got a manager who played until 37, hopefully I can do the same thing.
“As you get older you look after yourself and I know I’ve not got long left so I’m working really hard. I’ll keep working hard until my legs tell me they can’t do it anymore.”
In his younger days Ferguson was known to pop-up in the box to score a vital goal, now he admits his game is much more reserved.
“I haven’t got forward for the last four or five years,” he joked.
“Of course I can’t do what I did ten years ago, so I’ve had to change my game.
“Since I came down from Rangers the second time I sit more in midfield, but that’s what I’ve done to prolong my career.”
He’s back with the captain’s armband on at Bloomfield Road again this season, and hopes he’s got at least another couple of good seasons ahead of him.
“It’s a big challenge for me to try and beat the young boys every day in training,” he said.
“I’m feeling better than I did last year, I just need to look after myself.
“I’m feeling good at the moment and hopefully I can have a good season.”
Pool got their season off to the perfect start on Saturday with a 3-1 win away at Doncaster. And despite many tipping Pool to struggle this season, Ferguson knows what he wants.
“There’s only one target, and that’s going up.
“I don’t think you should ever say the aim is to be safe or finish mid table.
“My target is to go out and win every game. If you go onto a pitch not feeling you can win then there’s no use turning up.
“My belief is we can go straight up and I’d like to the lads feel the same.
“We have good characters and this club, and that’s exactly what we need.