FORMER Newport County player and manager Bobby Ferguson has died at the age of 80.

Born in Northumberland in 1938, Ferguson played in the same boys team as England legend Bobby Charlton and lost four fingers while working as a miner.

He failed to make the grade at Newcastle United but went on to play for Derby County and Cardiff City in the 1960s.

He helped the Bluebirds reach the semi-finals of the European Cup Winners’ Cup before moving to Barry Town as player-manager.

The left-back joined County as player-manager in July 1969 after signing from Barry for £250.

He replaced Leslie Graham to become the youngest boss in the Football League at 31 but he did not enjoy success at Somerton Park.

County finished 21st in the fourth division in the 1969-70 season and were re-elected.

Ferguson was then relieved of his managerial duties in November 1970 after a 6-1 FA Cup thumping at non-league Barnet.

Billy Lucas returned as manager and Ferguson continued as a player for the Ironsides, who were again re-elected after finishing 22nd, before departing for Hereford United in the summer of 1971.

He went on to join the coaching staff at Ipswich Town where he rose to prominence under the guidance of future England manager Bobby Robson.

As reserve team coach he developed the early careers of many Ipswich Town stars like Terry Butcher, George Burley, Eric Gates, Russell Osman, Kevin Beattie and Jason Dozzell.

He remained reserve team coach until after the 1978 FA Cup final victory over Arsenal before taking over from Cyril Lea as first team coach.

He and Robson worked together to help Ipswich win the UEFA Cup in 1981 when the arrival of Dutch stars Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen helped transform the Tractor Boys.

Ferguson was appointed Ipswich manager for the 1982-83 season after Robson became England manager.

He survived relegation in 1986 but was sacked after failing to secure a return to the first division the following year.

Ferguson joined Dave Mackay at Al Arabi in Kuwait and was coach at Sunderland when Butcher was manager and then had a spell with Birmingham City under Mackay.

Former England centre-back Osman, who was assistant manager at County under Butcher in 2015, told BBC Radio Suffolk: "He'd go nose to nose with you in an argument and wouldn't back away at any time.

"He was somebody you respected. When he spoke you listened to him, and he treated the players with a hell of a lot of respect."

Dutch midfielder Thijssen said: "He had a special character and worked together as a combination with Bobby Robson.

"What stays with me are great memories in these years with him."

Ferguson leaves his wife Ann, son Keith and daughter Kim.