Rio Ferdinand has slammed Manchester United’s decision to release a host of senior pros back when the club were in transition in 2014, a move that United are repeating this summer
Image: Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE)
Rio Ferdinand has opened up on the “mind-boggling” decision that Manchester United made back in 2014 when they released him and a handful of other senior players – a move that the club are set to repeat this summer.
Ferdinand enjoyed a trophy-laden 12-year spell at Old Trafford but was unexpectedly axed by the club in the twilight years of his career. Patrice Evra and Ryan Giggs also left the club that summer, meaning United lost a lot of experienced pros in one hit.
United were in a period of transition in the 2013/14 campaign after Sir Alex Ferguson had stepped down the previous year. His successor, David Moyes, had been sacked just 10 months into a six-year contract, meaning United were set to begin the new domestic campaign under another new manager.
The club are currently in a similar position, with incoming boss Erik ten Hag expected to significantly reshape a playing squad that limped to a sixth-placed finish last term; United’s worst ever performance since the Premier League was formed back in 1992.
United have already confirmed that a number of senior players will be leaving Old Trafford this summer, including club-record signing Paul Pogba. Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard will also be leaving the club once their deals officially expire at the end of the month.
But ahead of United’s summer cull, Ferdinand has claimed that the decision to allow three or four senior pros to leave the club at that point was nothing short of “mind-boggling”.
Speaking about his own departure on his FIVE YouTube channel, Ferdinand said: “We played Southampton away, and I’d asked a couple of times if I was getting a new deal or not. I was told the manager hasn’t worked out what he’s doing yet and it gets delayed and delayed.
“Vidic knew, he was told he wasn’t going to be renewed, so he got to have a little send-off at the end. I wasn’t even thinking about myself.
“My genuine feeling was the fact that the club had told Vida he wasn’t staying, Patrice Evra wasn’t staying, Ryan Giggs wasn’t staying. There’s three or four big characters leaving at that point. [There are] leaders, captains doing in a squad that needs leadership. And I thought if they’re all going, then there’s a chance I probably will stay because they can’t let us all go. [It would be] mind-boggling if they let us all go, I couldn’t see it. And then we all went!
“The chief executive at the time, Ed Woodward, came into the changing room; all the directors would usually come in and say ‘well played’ after. He came and he just said to me, ‘Listen, by the way, we’re not gonna renew your contract’ in that moment 10 minutes after the game.
“I was just numb. A few of the players saw me talking to him and have seen my reaction. I’m not really good at hiding how I feel about things, so I was sat there just gobsmacked.
“And listen, physically, I was shot; I knew that. But I still feel I had more to offer if these said players were leaving the club. There’s more to offer and give the changing room. I remember some of the lads going, ‘Wow, that’s a disgrace. I can’t believe that.'”