Rio Ferdinand opens up about his relationship with West Ham fans

Premier League legend Rio Ferdinand has opened up about his relationship with West Ham United fans.

Ferdinand started his career with the Hammers, graduating from their famous Academy before moving to Leeds United and then on to Manchester United where he enjoyed 12 trophy-laden years.

He joined Queens Park Rangers under Harry Redknapp last season where he played just 11 games as the hoops were relegated.

But on his first return to Boleyn Ground since his retirement from the game earlier this year, the former England superstar defender has lifted the lid on his relationship with the fans of his boyhood club.

It all started for Ferdinand in the Hammers first team back in 1996 when he came on in a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday.

'So loud and supportive'

Speaking to West Ham's official website, Ferdinand revealed why the Upton Park faithful will always have a special place in his heart.

“On the day, the fans were so loud and really supportive; they really got behind me as a home-grown, young player," Ferdinand told

"It was a great feeling that day.

“I remember the great atmosphere, for any young player to come through at a club; you never get that type of love or adulation anywhere else.

"When you come through a club’s youth system, the fans definitely see a part of themselves in you; they definitely feel a part of your journey.

"Every fan loves to see their club producing young, exciting talent."


Ferdinand is right in his assessment, he was and still is idolised by West Ham fans.

It was the West Ham fans who coined the famous "Riiiiiiiooo" chant which stuck with the iconic star throughout his career.

Ferdinand always received a warm reception on his return to the Boleyn with Leeds and the Red Devils.

Signed for a combined total of nearly £50 million in two big transfers in his career, Ferdinand loved the Hammers and even cried when the club decided to accept Leeds' then record £18 million bid for him back in 2000.

He played alongside current Hammers boss Slaven Bilic in the heart of the defence and still keeps a keen eye on his old club in his role as a television pundit.

Ferdinand is held in such high esteem in East London that Tony Carr, West Ham's legendary Academy director, invited him back to the club while he was still with Manchester United to play in his testimonial.

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