Rio Ferdinand Labels Manchester United's Slump Embarrassing, a 'Personal Insult'

Ben BlackmoreFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2014

Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand, left, kneels on the pitch before limping off injured during his team's English FA Cup third round soccer match against Swansea City at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Sunday Jan. 5, 2014. Manchester United lost 2-1 (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Rio Ferdinand has summed up the personal agony experienced by Manchester United’s players this season, revealing he is embarrassed to take his children to school. 

The David Moyes reign is setting all manner of records for new lows reached by United, and reports emerged on Thursday that the players were turning on their boss, per Mark Ogden of the Telegraph.

Ferdinand did not confirm those rumours, but he did tell BT Sport of the anguish and despair sweeping through the fallen champions, per ESPN:

It's embarrassing. I don't want to go out when the game is finished and you even stop watching TV. I don't want to take my kids to school. I don't want to fill my car up with petrol or go to the shops.

I don't want to walk on the school path and think I'm hearing things or seeing people look at me because we lost a game.

It gets personal with everyone looking at you and talking about the results and the form and stuff. You don't want to live like that. You want to live freely and comfortably.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 25:  Manchester United Manager David Moyes looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on March 25, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Gett
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Ogden reported on Thursday that Moyes is “facing a critical battle for his Manchester United future with squad misgivings over the manager’s tactical approach and training methods.”

Under their new manager, United find themselves 18 points adrift of league leaders Chelsea, 17 points behind fierce rivals Liverpool, and 15 points behind neighbours Manchester City—who have played two fewer games.

Sky Sports News highlighted the many unwanted milestones Moyes has hit, provided here by BBC Sporf and Iconic Football:

Unless United can pull off one of the great Champions League shocks by overcoming Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals, the Red Devils will finish the season with nothing to show for their efforts other than their lowest points total, as noted by the Mail Online:

For a player of Ferdinand’s calibre, the 2013-14 campaign has been way below expectation.

A proud owner of six Premier League titles and a Champions League crown, the former England defender has never finished below third in the league table at United, per ESPN FC.

At the age of 35, Ferdinand is very much a player in decline, and he has made just 11 league appearances this term. He was clearly at fault for Manchester City’s second goal on Tuesday and is fully expected to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season.

Earlier in the season, the cultured centre-back appeared to question Moyes’ team selection policy, which gives players little time to mentally prepare for matches. He told BT Sport, per the Metro’s Jamie Sanderson:

You don’t really get to know the team. The old manager used to give you a little bit of an idea if you’d be playing and stuff.


It’s hard to do that mentally because you spend a lot of nervous energy thinking: 'Am I playing' or 'Am I not playing?' and you’re just going round in circles in your head and turning into a madman.

Ferdinand is one of the many players at United who have far greater experience than their boss when it comes to delivering silverware.

The veteran defender has nearly done it all at club level, whereas Moyes arrived with little European experience, no trophies and a reputation for cautious football.

Had a genuine leader—like Jose Mourinho—replaced Sir Alex Ferguson, it’s difficult to imagine Ferdinand would have been seen going public on the difficulties of the new regime.

Alastair Grant/Associated Press

However, constant reports—like Ogden’s—continue to emerge suggesting Moyes does not have the faith of the entire dressing room.

Ferdinand’s quotes do not address this issue, but the “embarrassment” he feels is likely to have swept throughout the squad, making things no easier for Moyes when he attempts to reassure his players the club is moving in the right direction.