Rio Ferdinand Insults Arsenal! By Dan Smith
There are ex-players who have changed their perception as pundits. For example, I never liked Roy Keane the player, but find him entertaining at punditry.
The likes of Robbie Savage has changed his perception on TV on Radio, showing so much personality it will probably be more known for his media work than for what he did on the pitch.
Then there’s an exception to the rule. Former pros you used to respect who are happy to take a pay cheque from BT or Sky Sports but act bigger than the Sport, and who’s first priority is to make it about them, or at best the clubs they are associated with.
Rio Ferdinand is increasingly getting criticised for his analysis. He’s caused a stir up in Newcastle by dismissing their dislike for Mike Ashley, advising them if they don’t like how the owner operates to simply buy the club themselves. This offended the Toon Army beyond Football as it’s an elitist attitude which shows a millionaire out of touch to the economic situation up North.
Well this week Rio has antagonised Gooners by laughing off the idea that Jesse Lingard would choose a move to Arsenal over a move to West Ham, laughing, ‘He’s not going to go to Arsenal over West Ham obviously.’ Of course he’s entitled to his opinion but it’s the word ‘obviously’ which is intentionally provocative.
It also wrongly educates younger fans.
His job is to use his experiences and knowledge to pass on to an audience. Thanks to social media where people can get content 24 hours a day, he has a responsibility to tell the truth.
He will know that no player would view West Ham as a more lucrative move then Arsenal based simply on one season. Even if the Hammers qualified for the Champions League there is no guarantee they will maintain those levels.
Rio knows full well there are classic examples of sides punching above their weight who can’t maintain it. In their final year at Upton Park the Hammers advanced to Europe, months late they sacked the manager who took them there.
I remember Ipswich finishing 5th and then relegated the very next campaign.
Sunderland famously finished 7th three years running, similarly for years Charlton were in the top 10.
Everton famously once finished 4th yet never repeated the feat.
Even this season, Sheffield United have gone from 9th to bottom of table and Wolves were expected to be a threat to the top 6.
Lingard is on loan at West Ham where Ferdinand was developed. Lingard’s parent club is Man United, where Rio had great success. In his prime at Old Trafford, United’s main competition were Arsenal, at a time when the two clubs didn’t like each other.
It’s so transparent his motives it’s embarrassing.
It’s also wrong to mislead the next generation of Gooners that with the resources we have, that they should tolerate the idea of West Ham being bigger than Arsenal.
Many in the game felt it was a mistake by Jamie Vardy when he turned down the chance to join us. That was when Leicester were Champions!
That’s because it was widely accepted that Leicester wouldn’t be able to long term compete for trophies (they haven’t) and he would have more chance of winning more silverware at Arsenal (who have been in 4 Finals since).
Jesse Lingard is not going to get an offer from anyone bigger than Arsenal.
We can pay him more than West Ham, have a better stadium then West Ham, prouder history then West Ham, Bigger Fan base than West Ham, more likely to win trophies then West Ham, etc. Rio Ferdinand left all of those facts out.
He also failed to mention that we are talking about a player who was frozen out at Old Trafford. Who has been good for two months but over two years has been terrible.
The likes of Edu will be aware how many years the 28 years wasn’t performing and will want to know why? Can you just base your opinion of a player on the short term when he has a point to prove?
Which begs the question, will Arsenal even want Jesse Lingard.
While Rio questions his popularity with our fanbase due to his moonwalk, a pundit doing his job would question is whether a few months’ worth of good form is enough to prove the midfielder is good enough? Does he fit into our ethos?
Rio didn’t mention that. Nor did he mention that at West Ham you can get away with not winning every week. If this time next season West Ham are 9th, a player is left alone, at Arsenal you are rightly scrutinised, and your form dissected.
There are reasons why Jesse Lingard should pick West Ham. He can be the main man there, David Moyes will build everything around him and he can have a relationship with their fanbase that he won’t have with ours. It’s also an environment where he can play every week without a spotlight on him which he might need after his Man United experience.
A good pundit would debate those points. But to act like it’s crazy that he would consider Arsenal over West Ham is irresponsible.
It’s such a shame because as a centre back many were fans of Rio Ferdinand. The defender has a story that the average person in the street can relate to. He grew up in a poor area of London and became a proper rags to riches fairy-tale. During his career he seemed to not forget where he came from.
There’s also a pundit on Sky Sports who suggests the player should choose Spurs. The irony being that’s the point of view of Jamie Ohara who conveniently played for …….you guessed it ……. Spurs.
He believes Arsenal are ‘average’. What Academy was he released from? You guessed it …. Arsenal!
That’s not to say he’s wrong when he says Arsenal are an average team with zero ambition. Yet have Spurs not been average as well? Are West Ham really any more ambitious than us? Do David Gold and Sullivan not get criticised by their fans as much as our owner?
Don’t get me wrong I’m the first to say we have serious issues at Arsenal, but I will point out when a man who fans pay a lot of money to hear speak is simply trying to suit his own agenda.
There’s a lot wrong at Arsenal but people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
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