Anton Ferdinand reveals why he turned down Newcastle United before Sunderland move

Anton Ferdinand has revealed that he turned down Newcastle United before joining Sunderland.

Sunday, 13th June 2021, 7:18 am
Anton Ferdinand.

Ferdinand joined Sunderland in the summer of 2008 in an £8million deal.

The defender, younger brother of Rio, has spoken about the move – and interest from Newcastle early in Mike Ashley’s time as owner – in the Kickback with Nedum podcast.

"Newcastle wanted me first, but I turned them down,” said Ferdinand. “At the time Newcastle were going through a transitional period upstairs in the boardroom, and they were unstable.

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"West Ham were unstable at the time too with the Icelandic people. Then Sunderland came in and bid £8million. West Ham accepted it, and I remember the chief executive and sporting director, Gianlucia Nani, came to me and said 'Anton, we've accepted a bid for you, £8million to Sunderland’.

"I said 'I'm not going’. He went 'what? Anton, Roy Keane’s the manager – he'll be good for you. You should go’.

"I said 'if Roy Keane will be good for me, then bring him here?'. That conversation ended, and for a week he kept coming to me saying 'Anton, you've got to go, please’.

"The last straw for me was 'Anton please the club is in financial struggles, it could go under if you don't go’. It pulled on my heartstrings a bit.

"I just said to him 'listen, I'm not promising that I'll go, but I'll go and speak to Roy Keane, and see what he has to say’.

"I went up. Roy Keane asked me to meet him at his house in Hale. Man United were playing Newcastle that Sunday, so I went and watched the game, so I went to watch Rio and went to his house after.”

Ferdinand also addressed his relationship with Steve Bruce at Sunderland.

“I think they saw the best of me the three or four games before I left," said Ferdinand. "The year before that, I had a lot of discrepancies with Steve Bruce, the manager at the time. We never got on. That's a fact.

"People have their opinion, and people need to understand that it's a game of opinions. His opinion of me as a footballer, and as a person, was one that didn't allow me to play as much as I should have.”