Ferdinand: I look back on Bournemouth spell fondly
Rio Ferdinand is regarded as a Manchester United legend, but before his illustrious stint at Old Trafford, he spent time on loan to this evening's opponents Bournemouth in the formative years of his career.
Ferdinand was so impressive at the age of 18 that Sir Alex Ferguson enquired about signing him from the Cherries, before learning he was only with them on loan from West Ham United.
Five-and-a-half years later, Sir Alex would finally get his man and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.
“I was low on confidence and wasn’t playing particularly well,” admitted Rio, in an interview you can read in tonight's United Review.
“Mel Machin showed great confidence by putting me in straight away. He saw something in me and gave me the chance and it immediately instilled confidence in me.
“Fortunately, I played quite well in my first game and the manager started calling me ‘Class’.
“For a young player coming into senior football, that was amazing.
“Mel was fantastic for me and gave me a ridiculous amount of confidence. He allowed me to flourish and to understand what it was like to play men’s football and what it mean to fans on a Saturday.”
And right he was, as the centre-back went on to command a record transfer fee for a defender when he made the switch to Leeds.
Elland Road would be home for just two years before he was signed by the Reds in 2002, when he began a brilliant 12-year stint with us.
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“Mel did a lot for me when I was at Bournemouth,” he said.
“I always look back with fond memories on my time there. I loved every minute of my stay.”
You can read the full interview with Rio Ferdinand in the Bournemouth edition of United Review, available to order online now.