“He just knew how to deal with people.”
Rio Ferdinand has recalled a run-in he had with former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson that led to an apology from the legendary Scot.
In 2012, Chelsea defender John Terry was given a four-game suspension and fined £220,000 by the Football Association after being found guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, Rio’s brother.
Terry had earlier been cleared by Westminster Magistrates’ Court of racially abusing Ferdinand. The incident occurred during a game between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers in October 2011.
Anton Ferdinand and John Terry.
In October 2012, Rio Ferdinand decided not to wear a t-shirt supporting a Kick It Out campaign as he felt not enough was being done to tackle racism in football.
At the time, Ferguson described Ferdinand’s decision as ‘disappointing’.
Earlier this month, while appearing on the Diary of a CEO podcast, Ferdinand revisited his decision to not wear a t-shirt with host Steven Bartlett.
Rio Ferdinand said Alex Ferguson went ‘crazy’
Discussing how Ferguson would ‘always make stuff right’ after he had made a mistake, the former United centre-half said: “Even, for instance, the anti-racism stuff. The situation happened with him [Anton Ferdinand] and John Terry.
“During that period, once a year, all the teams are given t-shirts that say ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ or ‘Kick Racism Out’, one of the campaigns.
“I wasn’t willing to wear it because I didn’t believe that they supported enough during that time.
“So I said ‘I’m not wearing it’. He went crazy, fined me. I was like (exhales). We ended up winning the game, which was lucky, but the next day I went into his office just to try and explain to him why I hadn’t worn the t-shirt.
“And, to be fair, he said ‘you know what, I understand and I’m sorry for the way I reacted’.
“It’s stuff like that. He might make a mistake but he’d always rectify it and get you back around somehow.
“He just knew how to deal with people, he knew how to treat people to get the best out of them for what his main goal was.”
When asked by Bartlett how you can teach that, Ferdinand replied: “I don’t know, that’s something that’s inside.
“Being able to deal with people, read people. Treat your team so that they’re running through brick walls for you.
Rio Ferdinand on Alex Ferguson’s man-management skills.
“He’d come into the room and say ‘you’re not playing’ and you’d want to scream, the blood would be boiling, but he’d leave the room and you’d go into the changing room and you’re sitting there geeing everyone up, ‘come on boys,’ because he’s told you you’re playing on Tuesday, ‘because I need you for that game’.”
Ferdinand also discussed how Ferguson’s actions, from how he would interact with his players and the media, were all ‘calculated’.
He also recounted the controversial incident in which Ferguson kicked a boot in anger only for it to inadvertently strike David Beckham above the eye.
Watch the segment from the interview below.
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