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Rio Ferdinand admits to playing in the Premier League while drunk



The former England international was 17 at the time and said he did not expect to be in the squad

Rio Ferdinand has revealed he played while drunk for West Ham against Arsenal when he was a teenager.

The former England international has revealed how he was part of the travelling party to Highbury for a game at the start of the 1996-97 season, but was not initially in the matchday squad.

With him not in the squad, and despite potentially being only 17 at the time, Ferdinand said he went up to the bar and started drinking – only to be summoned down to the changing room after Paulo Futre stormed out of the ground.

Futre, a signing from AC Milan for the start of the season, expected to wear the No.10 jersey and was so offended by being allocated a different number that he left the ground before kick-off.

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This resulted in Ferdinand being drafted into the squad, much to his shock and surprise.

“I was at West Ham and I was in the squad and did not get changed, so went up to the bar and had three brandy and cokes,” Ferdinand told The Mo Gilligan Podcast. “Then the kit man came and said ‘you’ve got to get changed’… as I had a brandy and coke in my hand.

“So I was like, oh. I put it down and have had three brandy and cokes and need to go play at Highbury. What’s going on?

“My first appearance at Highbury; I was 17, 18. So I went downstairs and was asked, ‘Are you alright?’ – I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m fine’ and I was right, I’m buzzing! 

“Next thing, Paulo Futre walked out as he left because he wasn’t No.10. He looked at the numbers saw he wasn’t No.10 and walked out. 

“[West Ham manager] Harry Redknapp was like, ‘We’ll sort it out next week, Paulo, we’ll change it, we’ll sort it.’ 

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“Paulo just got in a taxi and went home. He left Highbury before a ball had been kicked.

“So I was brought down into the squad and then I came on. I was on the bench thinking please don’t bring me on. Three brandy and cokes, I can’t come on this pitch. I can’t come on and make an example of myself.

“So I went on for about 15 minutes.”

West Ham were beaten 2-0, with Ferdinand entering the play with the Hammers already two behind.



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