Rio Ferdinand: life under Alex Ferguson was “like the Mafia”

The QPR defender tells Jonathan Ross he could never get away with going out while at Manchester United because Fergie had spies everywhere

Sir Alex Ferguson has been dubbed the Godfather of Manchester United by his former defensive rock Rio Ferdinand.

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Ferdinand tells The Jonathan Ross Show this Saturday night that playing for Manchester United was “like the Mafia”, because Sir Alex always knew what his players were up to.

He reveals how Ferguson would tell him off for partying whenever he tried to go on nights out when he first moved to Manchester.

“As I wasn’t training every day, I was going out most nights enjoying the finer bright lights of Manchester going to the clubs, seeing what’s what,” Ferdinand told Ross, in an episode to be broadcast this Saturday at 10.10pm. “About a month gone, he pulled me when I went out to training and he said ‘Rio, how are you enjoying Manchester?’

“I said ‘It’s great boss, I’ve been out for a couple of meals here and there, just chilling out really trying to get back fit,’ and he said, ‘That’s great, just let’s not get off on the wrong foot: stop going out, you’re here to play football. If you want to keep playing football for this club, you kerb going out.’”

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Ferdinand, who now plays for London side QPR, added, “The problem is in Manchester – it’s smaller than London – he wouldn’t have to call anyone. Everyone would call him [Ferguson] because they want to be his mate… He knew everything; it was like the Mafia.”