In part two of RoM’s exclusive interview with Rio Ferdinand, who was speaking to promote the launch of EA SPORTS UFC, our former defender talks to Noorudean Choudry about life at United.
Ferdinand’s popularity amongst the fans took a hit when negotiations over a contract were fairly drawn out in 2005, following his eight month ban.
When Ferdinand was then pictured in a restaurant in London with his agent and Chelsea’s chief executive at the time, Peter Kenyon, the relationship between player and fans was in tatters.
Time is a healer though and Ferdinand’s commitment to the club from this moment on, along with the trophies he significantly contributed to, and how bonkers he went when United scored a big goal, repaired the damage for many reds.
Ferdinand has always insisted this was just a chance meeting and in this part of the interview he discusses this further, whilst also reflecting on how he is perceived today by United fans.
NC: Which players would you say you got on with the best during your career?
RF: On the pitch my relationship with Nemanja Vidic was probably the best for obvious reasons – playing alongside each other for so many years and being so successful together. Off the pitch there have been so many – at the beginning there was Wes Brown and then Wayne Rooney. Obviously Michael Carrick and myself both came through at West Ham so we always had that relationship. But I’m lucky in that I’ve got a great relationship loads of the lads – Scholesy, Giggsy, Fletch, Robin, Wazza, Welbz…it’s not fair for me to name just one because I’m good pals with all of them.
NC: How do you think you’re perceived by United fans in general, and how does that make you feel?
RF: I’ve got to be honest with you, I don’t know. I think time will tell. Hopefully people will appreciate me in years to come.
NC: I think purely in terms of your talent and accomplishments, it’s pretty unanimous that you’re one of the best defenders to have played for United….
RF: That’s what you play for. To receive those kinds of plaudits from the fans and people who watch the game. If that’s the opinion of some people then that’s great. I just want the fans to know that there was never any doubting my desire to stay at the club. There’s obviously been one or two issues over the years but nothing that ever made me want to leave this club.
NC: I get the feeling that the biggest issue most United fans have ever had with you is the now infamous incident when you were pictured at a restaurant with Peter Kenyon…
RF: Again, I explain that in my new book, but I just want to reiterate that I was never a part of that meeting. I bumped into my agent and he was sat with Peter Kenyon. It was literally just a case of me popping in to say hello. I don’t even think I ordered a drink! I left after 10 or 15 minutes, but somebody obviously took a photo. A snapshot of a moment you can lead to so many stories.
NC: Do you think you’ll still support United now that you’ve left the club?
RF: 100%. I’ll be a United supporter for the rest of my life, so will my kids. It’s in me now, so I can’t get rid of it!
What happened when Rio Ferdinand put the gloves on and met UFC’s Brad Pickett? Check out Rio’s EA SPORTS UFC Training Camp at http://youtu.be/tAMvzSUqR4Q. EA SPORTS UFC is OUT NOW on Xbox One and PS4. #FeelTheFight
The Republik of Mancunia has brought out a brilliant downloadable World Cup preview. It contains 20 articles written by football experts on the countries our players will be representing in Brazil. There is also exclusive content from this country's top football journalists, such as Sid Lowe, Martin Lipton, Sam Wallace and Dominic Fifield. All profit is going to charity. More info on the RoM World Cup preview can be found here.
Minimum price is £4. Enter your e-mail address to receive the download and the price you would like to pay.