WAYNE Fereday knows he was rubbish when he played for Cherries – he’s just glad Jeff Stelling didn’t rub it in.

Now 45 and still living locally, Fereday made 30 mostly forgettable appearances during a brief spell at Dean Court in the early 1990s.

But when Sky Sports anchorman Stelling published his book ‘England’s Worst Footballers’ in 2004, Fereday missed out on the inglorious title of being crowned Cherries’ worst.

Before joining Cherries, Fereday had endured an equally unhappy stay at Newcastle – and also thought he might be in line to appear in their hall of shame.

“When the book came out, I expected to be Newcastle and Bournemouth’s worst player,” admitted Fereday, who now works as a delivery driver for Cookes Furniture in Christchurch.

“I always thought I had half-a-chance of seeing my name in lights but it didn’t happen. George Lawrence beat me to it at Bournemouth and Marcelino got the vote at Newcastle.

“I thought I might get one, if not both, and was very surprised to get neither. I was quite happy about it though!”

Despite failing to cover himself in glory at St James’ Park and Dean Court, Fereday enjoyed a promising start to his career at QPR.

As a 17-year-old, he scored twice on his debut before going on to play more than 200 games for the West London club – and six seasons in the top flight.

Still talked about as the fastest winger to play for QPR, he also won international honours alongside luminaries such as David Seaman and Tony Adams for England under-21s.

But after leaving the bright lights of London following a £400,000 move to the North East, Fereday found he had walked into a living hell.

“It was the biggest mistake I ever made,” he admits. “I’ve got fond memories of my time at QPR but things went downhill rapidly after I left.

“I’d been at QPR for 10 years and there was never any real pressure there.

“If they had a good run in the cup and finished mid-table, that was a good season.

“Although Newcastle were in the league below, the expectations were enormous. And although I started okay, I then had a couple of indifferent games and the crowd got on my back.

“I was a confidence player and needed the crowd with me. At Newcastle, they would eat you alive if you didn’t produce the goods and I didn’t.”

If Fereday thought his problems were over when he arrived at Dean Court in November 1990, he was very much mistaken. Harry Redknapp signed him in a deal that saw Gavin Peacock move in the opposite direction.

“It was exactly the same at Bournemouth,” said Fereday. “I hadn’t got Newcastle out of my system and probably thought it was going to be easier than it was.

“The lower down the leagues you go, the less time you get on the ball. It was a shame I didn’t show more for myself or the fans and, rightly so, they gave me grief at Bournemouth as well.”

Fereday is currently a match co-ordinator for the Press Association and covers most Portsmouth games. His wife Theresa works in the media department at Fratton Park and they live in Christchurch.

His three children – Samantha Jane, 23, Simon, 21, and TJ, 18 – and grandsons, James, five, and five-month-old Louie, all live in Broadstone and Canford Heath.

With Cherries and Newcastle battling to avoid the drop, West Brom, another of his former clubs, are also in relegation trouble this season.

“I don’t want to see any of them go down,” said Fereday, whose career was cut short by injury while at Cardiff in 1995.

“Eddie Howe has done an unbelievable job and Bournemouth have given themselves a great chance.

“I think they will be okay. I hope I haven’t put the kiss of death on them, otherwise I would never hear the last of it!

“Although it’s going to be close, I’ve got a sneaking feeling that Newcastle will stay up but I think West Brom are staring down the barrel.”