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Rio Ferdinand admitted playing drunk for West Ham against Arsenal at just 17

Rio Ferdinand

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Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand revealed he played drunk while at West Ham

Former United defender Rio Ferdinand revealed how he was intoxicated at his former side West Ham while playing against Arsenal aged just 17.

The former defender wasn’t originally a part of  The Hammers’ matchday squad for a trip to Highbury in 1996.

Rio Ferdinand

However, a slot opened up in the squad after Paulo Future refused to play because he had not been handed the No 10 shirt as promised. As such, Ferdinand was drafted in as a last-minute replacement.

Ferdinand appeared on the Mo Gilligan Podcast and revealed how he’d downed three brandy and Cokes in the players’ lounge, before West Ham’s kit man rushed up from the dressing room to inform him he was playing.

“I had a brandy and Coke in my hand. ‘Put it down’,” he revealed.


“I was like, ‘Rah, had three brandy and Cokes and about to play at Highbury.’

In a stroke of luck, Ferdinand found himself on the substitute bench for the game but he ended up coming on with three minutes left on the clock.

“I was on the bench thinking, ‘Please don’t let me come on, three brandy and Cokes, I can’t come on this pitch’. And then I came on.”

Rio Ferdinand

Ferdinand recalled how he had to man-mark Arsenal legend Ian Wright during the match, which ended in a 2-0 defeat for Harry Redknapp’s side.

“I remember we got a corner and the ball was at the other end obviously,” he added.

“I’m on the halfway line marking Wrighty and it is all starting, people getting into position and Wrighty is standing there just looking at me.

“He was just screwing me and I’m just trying to look over him just not taking any notice and Wrighty’s gone ‘I know you can see me, look at me, look at me’.

Rio Ferdinand

“And then he poked his big fingers in my forehead so I pushed and he went ‘I got you’.”

Ferdinand has previously opened up about his drinking habits from his playing career.

“I always say to people who ask if I have any regrets about playing, I wouldn’t have drunk alcohol,” he admitted to The Guardian in 2019.


“When I was younger I did [drink more]. I was a lunatic. When I was at West Ham… elements of my career are a blur. People talk about performances and results at certain times in them games and I just sit and nod my head.

“I haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about. I don’t remember.”

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