Talk about last minute – 10.59pm to be precise. That’s the time that QPR faxed over to the FA the paperwork required to secure the signing of Sunderland central defender Anton Ferdinand (according to a tweet from Amit Bhatia, that is!)
In a nail-biting climax to an incredibly hectic day at Loftus Road, the administration team awaited confirmation from the FA that they had received the papers in time (we all remember what happened this time last year, no doubt, over the Tommy Smith signing!)
It was not until around midnight that QPR received the news that we all wanted to hear – Anton Ferdinand IS a bona fide Rangers player! Phew!
So, for the first time in two decades, QPR have a Ferdinand to grace the blue & white hoops once again. To many, that will mean nothing; but for me, personally, I will feel a thrill as I see Anton Ferdinand, ‘Sir’ Les’ cousin, run out on to the hallowed turf with the name ‘Ferdinand’ emblazoned on the back of his shirt. For, to me, all our problems started with the sale of Les Ferdinand to Newcastle in July 1995 and the subsequent frivolous waste of the £6,000,000 transfer fee we received.
And so, fast forward, through years of heartache, dross and worry, to August 31st 2011. 10.59pm to be precise! Anton Ferdinand, younger brother of Manchester United’s Rio, has signed a 3-year deal for an undisclosed fee (amid rumours that, at the 11th hour Sunderland had demanded more for their soon-to-be-ex defender).
QPR becomes only Ferdinand’s 3rd club, having played for West Ham from 2002 (when he joined them as a trainee) until 2008 when he moved to Sunderland in an £8,000,000 deal. Whilst at West Ham, Ferdinand played alongside another new QPR recruit, Danny Gabbidon, for a short while. The partnership was a successful one and I am sure Rangers fans will be hoping the two central defenders can strike up another, similarly successful, partnership for us.
Ferdinand featured for the Black Cats in 95 games (including 85 in the Premier League) in his 3 years without (unsurprisingly!) scoring any goals.
Ferdinand, who is 26 (born in February 1985), has spent all his footballing career in the Premier League, so will bring a wealth of experience to our back four. Whilst predominantly seen as a central defender, he can, in fact, play on the right as well.
Ferdinand admitted to QPR.co.uk that he was very impressed by Neil Warnock: ‘I’ve heard good things about the Manager and, after speaking with him, it’s clear that he wants the best for me and wants me to do well. As soon as I came out of the meeting with him, I knew that QPR was the Club for me,’ he said.
Warnock said of his latest addition: ‘Anton’s a player that I have always admired. He’s got so much to offer … you won’t see much better than Anton on a good day.’
Warnock did feel that Ferdinand needs to work very hard so that he can have ‘… more good days than bad!
‘He’s got a lot still to prove and hopefully he’s with the right team to do that with,’ Warnock concluded.
And so, the circle has been completed – QPR have just signed a Ferdinand from Tyneside and can now, under the guidance of Tony Fernandes, Amit Bhatia, Phil Beard and co, move on to what does look like pastures new and much, much greener!
In other transfer news, the third signing of yesterday – winger Jason Puncheon from Southampton – has yet to be confirmed, although Sky Sports News believes that the deal did go through on time. Watch this space!
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