Leeds boss pleads innocence

  • by Matthew O'Greel
  • Saturday, 12th August 2000

Peter Ridsdale - chairman of Leeds United - claimed last night that he was innocent of all charges, after Harry Redknapp accused him of trying to unsettle Rio Ferdinand.

Ridsdale went on the defensive after Harry Redknapp accused him earlier in the day of tapping Rio in order to push through a transfer to the Yorkshire club.

Redknapp snapped following the appearance in the tabloids of yet another story linking Ferdinand with a possible move to Leeds when he stormed earlier: "I'm fed up with it all - I know what's been going on. Peter Ridsdale is obviously trying to unsettle my player and I'm fed up reading stories like this.

"It's unsettling for Rio and for this club. Now, if Barcelona knock on the door we've got real problems because I couldn't say no to the boy. But why should we sell him to Leeds? He's better off here."

Bur Ridsdale, who could face repercussions from the FA should claims of an illegal approach be substantiated, hit back when he said: "Some weeks ago, and I stress it was several weeks ago, I asked West Ham chairman Terry Brown if Rio Ferdinand was for sale.

"He said he wasn't so I asked to be kept informed if that position should change.

"I have reiterated on numerous occasions since then that we have made no bid for Rio Ferdinand, nor would we do so unless their chairman informed us that West Ham's position had altered.

"I am extremely disappointed that the West Ham manager appears to imply something different."

Redknapp's anger at Leeds' conduct during the whole affair has been building for weeks. He and Hammers chairman Terry Brown have made it quite clear on several occasions that they would never consider selling Ferdinand to Leeds - whatever the offer on the table. The anger has been building in the Hammers camp for some time, and it is only a surprise that it has taken so long for the club to publicly declare their feelings on the matter.

Ridsdale's claims that he has not attempted to sign Ferdinand for four weeks are also surprising, when only last week he was quoted in a national newspaper saying: "I have spoken to West Ham and expressed our interest in Rio Ferdinand, and said that we would wish to buy him if he were available."

* Something to say about this story? Please visit the KUMB Forum to leave a comment.

Related News