herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

HIS NAME IS RIO AND HE HAS VERY BIG PLANS FOR HIMSELF

Ferdinand's constant self-promotion is impossible to stomach

THERE are many ways to end a professional football career but Rio Ferdinand is avoiding all the good ones. For such a decorated individual, he has very little to offer besides self-promotion.

I've no objection to that in itself. In the business we're in, we all do it, one way or another, but when the effort to create headlines and a profile is cruel to other people, a line must be drawn and Ferdinand has been very cruel to David Moyes.

Ferdinand is rarely out of the news these days. He has opinions on everything and seems to be positioning himself, although I'm not entirely sure what it is he wants to do with his life after the game.

Depending on what you read, he's in the running to be the English FA's nominee for FIFA Vice-President, he wants to have a career in movies, he's a media entrepreneur and somewhere among all of that, he wants to manage England.

The final one on the list is interesting because it gives us a very clear insight into the way he thinks. He talks about managing England as his ultimate ambition once he has done the Uefa badges and as he says himself, gives himself the best opportunity to get the job.

The mind boggles. Will there be any club work in between or does he just want to parachute straight into the job?

It's when you look at the fine detail of what he said that you begin to sense something else at work here. He talks about how he will want to know why he can't get a job if he finishes all his badges successfully and they don't come pounding on his door with offers in hand.

The none too subtle implication here is that he believes that it is possible he will not be employable as a manager and the only logical conclusion to be had from that is race will become an issue for him.

Racism is a hot topic in the game and rightly so. There can be no tolerance of it and everyone concerned has been working to eliminate it.

ASSESSMENT

But before Ferdinand waves the race card, he should think first about trying his hand at actually being a manager. When he does that, we can make an assessment about whether he is any good or not or whether underlying social issues are at work.

I'm absolute certain that over the next five years when Ferdiand is learning the ropes, there will be many other lads of all colours and nationalities who will find out rapidly that they are not cut out for it.

Many great players turn out to be awful managers and vice-versa. The colour of their skin will not be relevant.

There are also many people who try their hand at management who are brilliant at it but for one reason or another, perhaps bad timing or bad luck, won't get the chance they deserve.

I accept that historically and into recent times, black managers have been thin on the ground but how about Ferdinand, who is in a privileged position and I have no doubt, will be given a chance, actually trying his hand at management before blaming the world for something which hasn't happened yet?

I'm not sure where he will find the time to be a coach, given the fact that he also seems to want to act in blockbuster movies, help run FIFA and all the while, offer his opinions on the game as a pundit.

I didn't read his book. Life's too short for that but I read all the excerpts across the media and in one area, I have absolute contempt for Ferdinand.

The way he treated David Moyes during and after his unfortunate time at Old Trafford was absolutely appalling and if it reflects Ferdinand's character accurately, I would want nothing to do with him.

When everything was at its lowest ebb for Moyes, Ferdinand went on social media to complain about the fact that he didn't put a team sheet up every Friday like Alex Ferguson had always done.

How petty was that and how nasty? Moyes was under ferocious pressure and a senior member of his squad decides to criticise from within and does it by comparing him with the most successful manager the club or England has ever had? Unforgiveable in my eyes.

We have also heard about the fact that Moyes banned chips and that Ferdinand found this unacceptable. Unbelievable stuff.

no chance

If that was the reaction of a senior and influential man in the Old Trafford dressing room after Ferguson left, Moyes had no chance. He was dealing with a nest of problems and with no solutions to hand. Had he had time and money, Ferdinand would have been out the door.

No wonder he wanted Ryan Giggs in the job when Moyes was sacked. He was a pal and would have given him another year.

Louis van Gaal had him out the door as fast he could and for one reason alone. He's not very good and hasn't been for three years - if ever.

That's the one big point which Ferdinand is blissfully unaware of. As a footballer, he was an attractive, ball-playing athlete but he was no defender.

Every great centre-back has a bit of Mick McCarthy in them but Ferdinand had none of this. Nemanja Vidic made him look better than he was.

They had some great seasons together and it was a partnership, I'll grant him that, but I always felt he thought he was a better player than everyone else did.

Put it this way, if you were offered two Nemanja Vidics or two Rio Ferdinands, what would you pick?

It's no contest really and it was no surprise that Giggs nominated the Serb as the best defender he ever played with at Manchester United.

He's played with a lot of defenders, over a lot of years and Ferdinand for many of them. Says it all, really.

As I said earlier, I have no problem if Fedinand wants to reinvent himself as a celebrity football man. I always tip my hat to David Beckham for the way he parleyed a decent talent on the pitch into a global financial empire.

But Beckham is held in great affection by people all over the world. He has carefully crafted an image for himself which allows him to turn up at the opening of the Olympics as a VIP one day, visit troops in the desert on another and offer an opinion about what Scottish people should do in their independence referendum without being laughed off the stage.

Ferdinand, I'm afraid, doesn't have the personality or poise for that. To be the nations darling you must be liked, and I don't sense a great warmness for the man.

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