Ferdinand reveals contract confrontation

The Northern Echo: CONTRACT PRESSURE: Rio Ferdinand CONTRACT PRESSURE: Rio Ferdinand

MANCHESTER UNITED defender Rio Ferdinand has revealed he was confronted by a gang of hooded fans during his contract talks with the club eight years ago.

The group calling themselves the ‘United boys’ turned up outside the player’s house to demand that he signed a new deal.

Ferdinand’s future had been the subject of speculation at the time after he had been photographed with then Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon in a restaurant, but that had been a chance encounter.

Ferdinand was asked to come to the door but could not see anyone on his security monitors.

The 34-year-old said: “So I go to the side door and grab a big bit of wood, jump on the side of the wall and I’m just about to scream ‘raaaah!’ when I see there’s a massive group of people, with hoodies and caps covering their faces.

“I just thought, ‘I’m going to get served up in a moment, so go bananas and they’ll think you’re a nutter!’ “Then one of them said, ’We’re the United boys, f***ing sign your contract,’ and I said, ’What you talking about? I’ve only just started negotiating two months ago, what you worrying about?’’’ Explaining the background, he added: “I went to see my agent for half an hour and Kenyon was with him.

‘‘Someone’s taken a picture and made out like we’re having a bloody meal together.

So I’m saying to these guys, ‘If I’m going to do a deal with another club, do you think I’d be doing it in broad daylight?’ ‘‘One of the neighbours had called the police by then and they got off when they heard the sirens.’’ Ferdinand, in a question and answer section with fans, also spoke of the lowest point of his career, when he was banned for eight months after failing to attend a drugs test in 2003.

He said: ‘‘If that sort of thing can’t make you more responsible then I don’t know what can.

‘‘People assume I must have had something to hide but I did all the tests that were asked in the end and the judge said I had proved beyond any doubt I had nothing in my system – those tests trace stuff from months back.

‘‘Eight months of my career just gone, just like that.

It was easily the lowest point of my career, especially as I knew people were trying to tarnish my name by saying I was into drugs.”

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