DUNCAN FERGUSON joked that he would celebrate Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival by getting him blotto — so he could become his co-manager.
Ancelotti’s appointment at Everton, on a 4½-year contract, was finally confirmed shortly before their Goodison stalemate with Arsenal.
It meant Big Dunc remained unbeaten in the Premier League since stepping in as caretaker chief, with the League Cup shootout defeat to Leicester his only loss.
Although the Italian — and new Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta — were both in the directors box, they only officially start work this morning.
Ancelotti stayed away from the dressing room before the Gunners clash, allowing Ferguson to stay in full command for one last match.
The two were only due to meet for the first time last night — and Big Dunc had a cunning plan to ensure he did not slip back too far into the shadows.
After the dire draw, he quipped: “It’s brilliant for the club to get someone of Carlo’s pedigree. I can’t wait to start working with him.
“Hopefully we can chat tonight over a glass of red wine.
“I will get a few bottles down him and maybe I will be the new co-manager!”
To be fair, Ferguson is already guaranteed a job on the Italian’s backroom team, keeping his position as one of the club’s key coaches.
And he enhanced his own managerial claims further down the line with the way he has helped turn the club around since Marco Silva was sacked at the start of the month.
Yet any dreams of being the man in the hotseat — and aside from Goodison, you can only really see that at his former club Rangers — are certainly on ice for now.
Ferguson has already admitted he will not consider himself managerial material for at least another couple of years, despite overseeing their unbeaten run.
That did not stop former Toffees boss and pundit Sam Allardyce revealing his concerns.
He said: “If I were Carlo I would be thinking, ‘Oh dear’. The basic errors he wouldn’t have expected from a Premier League team.”
Ferguson’s ruthlessness shone through once more after subbing a sub for the second successive Prem game.
This time he took Cenk Tosun off on 80 minutes after bringing him on in the 11th minute.
Moise Kean replaced Tosun having been subbed on and off at Manchester United last Sunday, with both stars storming down the tunnel without even acknowledging Ferguson.
But Big Dunc will leave the hotseat having made a huge impression, even though he was disappointed his final game did not end with victory.
He added: “In an ideal world we wanted all three points — but what a fantastic performance the players put in, in a game of few chances.
“Both sides struggled for a bit of quality, although I couldn’t have asked any more of them and they have been incredible for me.
“But you are asking the same ones to play week in, week out and they were a bit leggy. Even so, it’s a good clean sheet for us.
“I’m glad we avoided defeat and absolutely delighted that we have been unbeaten since I came in.”
Everton keeper Jordan Pickford added: “Duncan is a legend here.
“He’s brought back the Everton way, which is to work hard and graft, and after that’s sorted we can play some football.
“We came up against a good side so a point and clean sheet are positives, although we could have created more chances maybe.”
Asked about new boss Ancelotti, Pickford added: “It’s brilliant to play under him and work with someone who’s won so many titles and trophies.
“He said he’s looking forward to working with us and I think we all are, too.”
While Ferguson will now join Ancelotti’s backroom team, Freddie Ljungberg has also been offered a place on Arteta’s staff.
Ljungberg, who saw Arsenal keep a first clean sheet in 15 GAMES, said: “I have been told by the club they want me to stay.
“So I’ll have a meeting with Mikel and hopefully it will be a good one.
“Mikel knows the club very well — he’s been here a long time. We did our badges together so I know him very well, too.”
The Swede showed how much the club means to him by beating the badge on his chest in front of Gunners fans at the end.
And he was delighted his players showed the same passion at Goodison, adding: “I was very happy, because we had a young side out there.
“You saw Everton getting frustrated and there is more to come from us.
“But they are building blocks and we want that stability to fall back on.
“They fought really hard and I loved what I saw about the spirit because without that in the Premier League, you will lose.”
END OF ROAD FOR OZIL?
Ljungberg left Mesut Ozil out after his reaction to being subbed in last Sunday’s 3-0 defeat by Manchester City, but claimed pre-match the German midfielder was injured anyway.
Arsenal legend and TV pundit Martin Keown said: “Freddie has my sympathy.
“He tried to play the kids and couldn’t even get a senior reaction from the likes of Ozil.
“The problem was here long before Freddie.”
And Ljungberg also took a swipe at Arsenal’s under-performing stars, admitting: “There’s a lot of potential in a lot of the players but today I wanted to see players run and fight.
“You can’t just rely on your name, you really have to do the dirty bits.
“If we can do that, with the quality we have, there can be a bright future.”
ARTETA SPOKE IN DRESSING ROOM
And Gunners defender Calum Chambers added: “It was a young team — but we put in 100 per cent and everyone should be proud.
“A clean sheet here is never easy. We put in a great shift.
“Mikel Arteta spoke to us in the dressing room and wants us to be brave, take responsibility and work hard.
“From that message, we did that today and now there is more to work on. I’m sure we will be working hard on that.
“We knew it would be tough and that Everton would want to fight, so we had to fight, too.
“We were saying be ready for the challenge and earn it today — and I think we did that.
“I like to think this is the start of a new era because it is a promising group.”