Rio Ferdinand claims he ‘saved’ Leeds from bankruptcy with his £30million transfer to Manchester United in 2002… and says manager Terry Venables ‘lied’ about the club’s financial situation to try to save him convince to stay
- Rio Ferdinand claims he ‘saved’ Leeds United from bankruptcy in 2002
- The defender completed a British record transfer to Manchester United
- The Yorkshire club were facing huge financial difficulties at the time
- Ferdinand claims then-boss Terry Venables ‘lied’ about the situation
Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand claims he ‘saved’ Leeds United from bankruptcy with his move to the Red Devils in 2002.
The former England international had spent two seasons with the Yorkshire side before leaving for a record fee of £30million to join Man United amid the club’s financial difficulties.
The 43-year-old has now opened up about this period of his career and suggested he was lied to about the seriousness of the situation.
Rio Ferdinand opened up about his move to Manchester United on the FilthyFellas podcast
Ferdinand joined the Red Devils from Leeds in 2002 for a British record fee of £30million
Asked about Leeds’ situation in 2002 on the FilthyFellas Podcast, Ferdinand said: ‘I ducked my mate. Do you think I’ll stick with that? No chance. I saved Leeds!
Of their financial difficulties, he said: “I knew about it through my agent at the time. Do you know Philip Green who owns Topshop? The [Leeds] CEO at the time, I forget his name, worked for Philip Green. And he said to my agent, “the club have big problems. Bigger than we’re reporting. They have to let Rio go, that’s their biggest asset. If he doesn’t go, the club will collapse.”
“At the same time, Man Utd want me. Nicky Butt and all the guys in the England team say ‘Rio, the manager really likes you’. I knew I wanted to go there. I wanted to win.
‘Terry Venables even called me and said “We’re going to invest next season”, I say to myself “you’re lying! Don’t lie”. They were all trying to say you can stay because we have money, but I knew it.
Defender claims his agent told him ‘the club is folding’ if he doesn’t leave for Manchester
Ferdinand says he caught Terry Venables ‘lying’ about the club’s dire financial situation
David O’Leary, Leeds manager when Ferdinand was sold, was furious with the club’s decision and clashed with chairman Peter Ridsdale – who consequently sacked O’Leary and hired Venables.
Venables tried to convince Ferdinand to stay but obviously it was no use as the defender left that summer. Other valuable players such as Jonathan Woodgate were also expelled from the club, despite promises made to Venables.
Ferdinand won six Premier League trophies and a Champions League with Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man United.
He came through the West Ham academy and spent six seasons with the club before joining Leeds and consequently Man United for 12 years before retiring at Queen’s Park Rangers.
Ferdinand has become one of the most successful defenders in Premier League history