Rio Ferdinand has admitted that when he was a teenager he played while drunk for West Ham against Arsenal.
At the beginning of the 1996-97 season, the former England international disclosed how he was part of the traveling party to Highbury for a game, but was not initially in the matchday squad.
Ferdinand said that he went up to the bar and began to drink with him, not in the team, and despite possibly being just 17 at the time, only to be called back to the dressing room after Paulo Futre stormed out of the ground.
Futre, an AC Milan signing for the beginning of the season, was supposed to wear the jersey No.10 and was so upset at being given a different number that he left the ground before kick-off.
This led to Ferdinand, much to his shock and surprise, being drafted into the squad.
Ferdinand told The Mo Gilligan Podcast, “I was at West Ham and I was in the squad and didn’t get changed, so I went up to the bar and had three brandies and cokes. Then came the kit man and said, ‘You’ve got to improve yourself,’… It was like I had coke and brandy in my hand.”
“That’s how I was, oh. I put it down, and I got three coke and brandy, and I gotta go play at Highbury. What’s happening here?
My first Highbury appearance; I was 17, 18, 18. So I went downstairs and asked myself,’ Are you all right? ‘-I was like,’ Yes, I’m all right,’ and I was right and I was buzzing!
“First thing, when he left, Paulo Futre walked out because he wasn’t #10.10. Looking at the numbers, he saw that he wasn’t number 10, and he walked out.[West Ham manager] Harry Redknapp was like, ‘Next week, we’re going to sort it out, Paulo, we’re going to change it, we’re going to sort it out.’
Paulo just got into a cab and went back home. Before the ball was kicked, he left Highbury.
But I was taken down into the squad and then I came on. I was on the bench thinking, please don’t put me on. I can’t come on this pitch with three brandies and cokes. I can’t come on and make myself an example. I can’t come on.
“So for about 15 minutes, I went on.”
West Ham were defeated 2-0, with Ferdinand joining the game with the Hammers two behind.