Rio Ferdinand admits to playing in the Premier League while intoxicated

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The former England international was 17 at the time and said he didn’t expect to be on the roster.

Rio Ferdinand has revealed that he played drunk for West Ham against Arsenal as a teenager.

The former England international has revealed how he was part of the group traveling to Highbury for a match at the start of the 1996-97 season, but was not initially on the team of the day.

Without him on the team, and despite potentially only being 17 at the time, Ferdinand said he went up to the bar and started drinking, only to be summoned to the locker room after Paulo Futre stormed off the floor.

Futre, an AC Milan signing for the start of the season, had hoped to wear the number 10 jersey and was so offended by being assigned a different number that he left the ground before kick-off.

This resulted in Ferdinand being recruited into the team, much to his surprise and surprise.

“I was in West Ham and I was on the team and I didn’t change, so I went up to the bar and had three brandies and coke,” Ferdinand said. The Mo Gilligan podcast. “Then the man from the team came and told me ‘you have to change’ … since I had a brandy and a Coke in hand.

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

“My first appearance at Highbury; I was 17, 18. So I went downstairs and they asked me, ‘Are you okay?’ – I was like, ‘Yes, I’m fine’ and he was right, I’m excited!

“The next thing, Paulo Futre came out as he left because it was number 10. He looked at the numbers, saw that it was not number 10 and came out.

“[West Ham manager] Harry Redknapp said: ‘We will fix it next week Paulo, we will change it, we will solve it.

“Paulo got into a taxi and went home. Left Highbury before a ball was kicked.

“So they put me down to the squad and then I went in. I was on the bench thinking, please don’t bring me. Three brandy and coke, I can’t go into this field. I can’t go in and make an example of myself.

“So I kept going for about 15 minutes.”

West Ham was defeated 2-0, with Ferdinand coming into play with the Hammers already two behind.


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