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After Wes Rejection, Will Rio Still Receive Special Treatment?

Brown FerdinandWhilst Wes Brown is struggling to find an agreement over his contract renewal, Rio Ferdinand is on the brink of starting talks with the club over his new contract. I find it remarkable that the club are unwilling to budge on their initial offer to Brown, which would leave him earning less than team mate John O’Shea, but imagine that Ferdinand will face nothing like the struggle Wes has.

Back in 2005, Rio Ferdinand faced much criticism from the fans, after taking several months to put to pen to paper on a contract reportedly worth £100,000. Just a year after his eight month ban, following his missed drugs test, Ferdinand was holding out for a deal worth £120,000 a week. The club had paid him £75,000 a week for the eight months Ferdinand was forced to sit out, with our title challenge dissolving rapidly in his absence. The fans were not best pleased and let Rio know exactly how they felt!

Whilst contract negotiations were still under way, Rio Ferdinand was spotted with his agent and Peter Kenyon in London, with reports of another Chelsea tapping up scandal filling the papers. If Rio wasn’t going to get the money at United, would he really be prepared to meet with Chelsea behind our backs? Both Ferdinand and Chelsea claimed it was a chance meeting, but this didn’t stop Ferguson publicaly laying in to Kenyon, claiming the matter was now in the hands of the authorities.

In our pre-season friendlies in 2005 against Clyde and Peterborough, after Ferdinand had undergone a few months of contract negotations, the fans booed him. Ferguson stood by the player, publicly supporting Rio and condemning the fans. “I’m not entitely happy with the reaction of the fans,” Fergie said. “Players who go on the field and hear their own fans booing them is not encouraging at all.”

David Gill also stood behind the player, saying, “I understand the fans want to know what is going on. But Rio has said he wants to stay, Alex wants him to stay and so do the owners and the board. It may be reflecting badly on Rio, but not with me it isn’t. Yes, it is a lot of money by any stretch of the imagination but it is still a big commitment. You have to think about your worth. I respect him for that. It is a crucial time in his career and he needs to be happy with that.”

There were reports that when United played Kashima Antlers further in to the pre-season, Ferdinand stuck two fingers up at the jeering United fans. Chants of “Chelsea rent boy” and “greedy Rio” were directed at Ferdinand which eventually caused him to snap. He was let off the £75,000 fine because Sky Sports refused to release the footage.

Rio’s decision to snub our initial offers would have likely infuriated our faithful regardless, but this period happened to coincide with the Glazer take over. With fans furious over the direction our club was headed in, now more a money making business than ever before, Ferdinand’s decision to ask for even more money couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Ferdinand did eventually sign the £100,000 a week contract though, and his injury time goal against the dippers a few months later helped in rebuilding his relationship with the fans though. However, some reds have never entirely forgiven the player, feeling he is far more concerned with the bling and the dosh than he is our club.

The treatment of Rio Ferdinand over the years, in comparison to Wes Brown, highlights what I feel is a big problem with our club. Brown has been nothing but a loyal servant to United, playing when required and sitting out on the bench when he’s not. Ferdinand, however, has a long list of black marks to his name, from the drug’s ban to stalling on his £100k a week contract, from his embarrasing “you got merked” programme to the disastrous Christmas party, yet he is rewarded with the Captain’s armband and ludicrous sums of money.

Following the game where Ferdinand stuck his fingers up at our fans, Queiroz also offered Ferdinand support, claiming, “we do not condone anybody who questions the commitment of our players.” However, Ferguson has been more than happy to publicly slate Wes in the past weeks. He claimed Wes was in his “agent’s back pocket” and that it didn’t seem to matter to the player that he had been with the club since he was 12 years old.

Reports today suggested that Rio Ferdinand was going to open up talks on a new contract in the summer, with his agent Pini Zahavi, who was present at the Kenyon meeting, supposedly telling the club his player did not want to start them until then, despite a request for earlier talks from the club. With only a year running on his current deal, the talk today has suggested Ferdinand could be off next year on a free transfer. However, Zahavi has since confirmed that the talks will start “shortly”.

With Rooney earning £110,000 a week and Ronaldo on £120,000, I wouldn’t like to guess what Rio Ferdinand will be asking for, but surely it will be in this region, if not more. He rightly fancies himself as the long term replacement for Gary Neville as captain and won’t want to be earning less than these youngsters. Hopefully this will be a painless process though, whatever the cost, with Ferdinand not making the same mistakes as last time.

Do you think Rio should be offered more than Rooney and Ronaldo?


About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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12 Comments

  1. jsos says:

    I don’t think Rio should make more than them, his impact on the squad currently does not render him more valuable… that said, I think to be on par with those two is definitely fair. As mentioned on the RoM forum, a salary cap issues by the FA would be the only way to manage the increasing wages of players. So while trying to one(or 1,000) up each other in the money game is common in football, I do think Rio will be offered a comparable salary to Roo and Ron and rightly so.

    While Rio’s actions have been less than attractive over the years, he has had a huge impact on the pitch as well. In regard to Wes, I do think we’re shortchanging him, but I don’t think a comparison between he and Rio is really the issue – nor is it comparable.

    I just hope Rio can get this done fast. And kudos to him for waiting til the summer. We’ve got some titles to focus on :D

  2. Jas Rai says:

    vida is our best defender, not ferdinand….so does that mean vida will be asking for stupid amounts of money??? i doubt it. Rio is there for the fame and the money, not the love of the club. after we stuck by him through the drugs ban, he showed his true colours when haggling his contract to the extent he did. what do you think scott?

  3. jimmy Bob says:

    rio is a better player than wes simple as hat so thats why he deserves more money

    lets not cry too many tears for wes £40k a week brown how many people do you know who get £2m a year for doing a job they love?

  4. Jas Rai says:

    thats not the point, its difficult to put a price on loyalty.

  5. jimmy Bob says:

    aye and how much loyality did the club show him when he wa son full pay and getting all his medical bills paid when he was injured for nigh on four years

    lets be honest up untill the last 18 months brown was injured as often as he was fit yet he doesnt seem to recall
    that does he?

  6. Jas Rai says:

    good point mate. to be honest, arguing over an extra £5000 a week is stupid, but if O’shea is on more, then that surely can’t be fair. they should be on equal pay. to be honest its all a load of bollocks, i’d be chuffed on £500 a week i’m fuckin skint!!!!!!!!!!

  7. craig mc says:

    Rio is 29 years of age. It is time United started to find competent cover for central defence, for both Rio and Vida. Rio needs competition and not be made to feel that he is indispensible – he isn’t. A lot of big headed players have been undone thru thinking they were bigger than the club. How many times has Ferdinand brought discredit and shame on the name of ManU through very suspect behaviour. He is not meet for Captain, and leads the younger players in the wrong way. Christmas party debacle anyone – chief organiser and culprit Ferdinand.

  8. craig mc says:

    O and no, I don’t think Rio should get paid the equivelant of Ronnie & Rooney. But then I think they are all abominably overpaid – it’s a crime. Greedy B’s.

  9. Jas Rai says:

    i agree that footballers are overpaid, but none more so than movie stars or music stars. much emphasis goes on footballers money and rightly so, but i doubt there’s anything we can do about it, its just the way society has gone. anyway, back to football, you’re right about rio, he isn’t captain material. he’s nothing like keano, robbo, eric or bruce, he’s more concerned with his image and the bling. rooney for next captain without a doubt.

  10. denton davey says:

    Rio is 29 BUT Paolo Maldini – a player whose “game” is very similar to Rio’s – is still one of the world’s best defenders. What you have to remember is that the gliding, non-physical style that Rio and Maldini share is nowhere near as age-dependent as the full-throttle physicality of someone like Vidic (or Jaap Stam before him). Rio´s game is based on reading-the-play and being positioned in a way that he can utilize his speed to break up attacks. Rio is still very fast and is still in great physical condition so I don’t see any downside to renewing his contract for five more years. He has that long, lean body-type that seems to age better than a more muscular frame.

  11. CROSS says:

    WHILE I AGREE RIO SHOULD GET SOMETHING ON PAR WITH THE OTHER UNITED STARS BECUASE HE SURELY IS AMONG THOSE THAT MAKE US THICK,I DISAGREE WITH THE CONTRACT BEING OFFERED TO WES.HE ALONGISDES GIGGS AND SCHOLES ARE GOOD EXAMPLES OF CLUB LOYALTY SO HE SHOULD BE TREATED WITH A BIT MORE RESPECT.BEARING IN MIND THAT THIS IS PROBABALY HIS LAST “REAL” CONTRACT EXTENSION I THINK 60K A WEEK IS NOT TOO MUCH FOR THE ASKING.HE IS HUMAN TOO AND HAS TO LOOK AFTER HIS OWN INTERESTS.I AM SURE NEWCASTLE WILL BE WILLING TO GIVE HIM THAT AND IT WILL NOT LEAVE A GOOD IMAGE FOR THE CLUB.

  12. jimmybob says:

    given the way newcastle have defended they will proably offer wes £100,000 a week!
    ps im with jas rai £500 a week and im your man ;)

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