In Rio Ferdinand`s explosive new book “#2 Sides” he explains his decision not to join in with a premier league campaign “Kick it out”, in doing so he felt the wrath of his then manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.
On the weekend in question, all players were expected to wear the Racism Kick it out t-shirts during the pre match kick a bout and Sir Alex in his weekly press conference said that all his players would oblige. Then on match day, Rio was the only one on the pitch not to be wearing his kick it out top, much to the fury of Sir Alex.
According to Rio in his book, he was never consulted by Fergie about the gesture and the pair came to blows over it after the game. Rio`s refusal was down to him feeling that the Kick It Out group failed to support his brother, Anton, in court during his high profile case against John Terry who was alleged to have racially abused Anton during a premier league game.
“There wasn’t a chance of me wearing it,” says Ferdinand in his new autobiography #2Sides, which is being serialised in The Sun. “The group had refused to come to the courtroom with us, so I wasn’t willing to go through the charade of wearing their shirt. My parents probably wouldn’t have spoken to me if I had.”
One person who disagreed with his stand was Ferguson, who launched into an expletive-ridden rant criticising Ferdinand for not going along with the rest of his team-mates before fining him one week’s wages. However, the defender reveals he later met with the fiery Scot and was stunned to hear Ferguson admit he had made a mistake attempting to force Ferdinand to go against his beliefs.
What is so interesting is how Fergie managed the situation and his players. He was a fiery character and this case was no different with Fergie fuming and swearing at Rio for showing him up by not wearing the t-shirt. Yet Fergie, after telling Rio he would fine him a weeks wages for the refusal, he took advice from his wife, Cathy, who made Sir Alex think about Rio`s side.
Sir Alex then had Rio in his office on the monday after the game and accepted that he should have listened to Rio before the decision was made that all the team would display the t-shirts and that he would not now fine the player.
“I was so impressed. My respect for him just went up even more,” says Ferdinand.
So Sir Alex now had a player who already respected his manager but who now thought even more highly of his boss and was prepared to run through walls for him after this latest incident.
That is man management at its best.