Wednesday 7 December 2016

Rio Ferdinand's tragic loss puts QPR plight in perspective

Published 04/05/2015 | 02:30

'The death of Rio Ferdinand’s wife, Rebecca Ellison, at the age of 34, is a tragedy for the three young children she leaves behind. What will happen to Queen’s Park Rangers is merely football'
'The death of Rio Ferdinand’s wife, Rebecca Ellison, at the age of 34, is a tragedy for the three young children she leaves behind. What will happen to Queen’s Park Rangers is merely football'

To quote the late Richie Benaud, "The Titanic was a tragedy, a famine in Ethiopia is a disaster and neither bears any relation to a dropped catch."

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The death of Rio Ferdinand's wife, Rebecca Ellison, at the age of 34, is a tragedy for the three young children she leaves behind. What will happen to Queen's Park Rangers is merely football.

"The players are very solemn in the dressing-room for two reasons," said QPR manager Chris Ramsey after their defeat at Anfield.

"For Rio, obviously, and the fact that we are going down the motorway again having lost the points in the last two or three minutes of the game.

"We have only humanitarian thoughts for a stalwart of the game - forget the game, he is outstanding as a person."

Ferdinand's decision to have one more year in the Premier League after leaving Manchester United has not been a success - his last game for QPR was two months ago.

However, Ramsey said Ferdinand had been a constant source of encouragement, particularly to the younger squad members at their training base near Heathrow.

The casual observer would have had no inkling his wife was so dreadfully ill.

During his long peak as one of the world's finest central defenders, Ferdinand (below) would have allowed Steven Gerrard nowhere near the ball that he headed home for the goal that will almost certainly condemn Rangers to their second relegation in three seasons.

When reminded that their task of taking a minimum of seven points from their final three games was "almost impossible", Ramsey clung to the word "almost" as if it were a lifeline. He knows it will snap.

If he believes his side can avoid defeat at Manchester City next Sunday, then he fulfils Alex Ferguson's first requirement of a football manager - that he must be a perpetual optimist.

They will at least go down in better shape than in 2013, when they lost £65m and paid their players more than Borussia Dortmund.

One of the most extraordinary aspects of Rangers' relegation is that they will go down with one of the Premier League's leading goalscorers.

Only Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and Diego Costa have more than Charlie Austin's 17 goals. Liverpool's highest scorer is Gerrard with seven.

(© Independent News Service)

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