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05 August 2017

Anton Ferdinand backed by Southend boss Phil Brown after family tragedies follow race row with John Terry

PHIL BROWN is offering his “full support” to Southend skipper Anton Ferdinand  — after the defender’s FOUR years of hurt.

Ferdinand appears to have finally settled in football after signing a two-year extension this summer.

Anton Ferdinand has signed to stay at Southend for another two seasons after four years of problems and tragedies
Anton Ferdinand has signed to stay at Southend for another two seasons after four years of problems and tragedies
Rex Features
Anton Ferdinand tried to rebuild his career in Turkey after a race row with John Terry
Anton Ferdinand tried to rebuild his career in Turkey after a race row with John Terry
PA:Press Association

And he is ready to lead the League One club in his first full season as captain — starting against Blackburn at home today.

But for all the positive steps for the future, it is hard to ignore where he has come from — a painful and emotionally-draining period of his life.

On October 23, 2011 while at QPR, Ferdinand was involved in a race row with John Terry during a Premier League game, which Brown feels was a factor in his shortlived move to  Turkey in January 2013.

His brother, and former Manchester United star, Rio, then tragically lost his wife, Rebecca, to cancer on May 2 2015.

And on July 13 this year, their beloved mother Janice died of the same disease.

Southend boss Brown, 58, has overseen Anton, 32, through his most-recent tragedy less than a month ago, hailing him a “quality person”.


Phil Brown says Anton Ferdinand deserves the full support of Southend as he tries to settle his career down
Phil Brown says Anton Ferdinand deserves the full support of Southend as he tries to settle his career down
PA:Press Association
Anton Ferdinand hopes his life and career will have happier and more settled times now
Anton Ferdinand hopes his life and career will have happier and more settled times now
Rex Features

He said: “I have talked to him about it. What he and his family have been through in the last month or two, you wouldn’t wish upon anybody.

“It’s not just the two years we’re talking about. I would class it as four years with the John Terry incident, where he had to move and try and find a career elsewhere in Turkey.

“On the back of that I’ve met a quality person, and, without a shadow of a doubt, a quality player that shouldn’t be at this level, if truth be known, but he is.

“He is totally focused on football at the moment, and he’s used the  problems  he’s had as a platform for him to build on.

“Anton has got my full support. The club have given him their full support and it’s been reciprocated.

Anton Ferdinand lost his mum and sister-in-law to cancer within a short space of time
Anton Ferdinand lost his mum and sister-in-law to cancer within a short space of time
Rex Features

“I cannot ask any more of the lad who’s in the situation that he’s been in for the last couple of months.

“Both of us want to get out of this division at the right end — that’s our ambition for the club, and that combined effort and ambition hopefully will be sufficient.

“I never considered stripping him of his captaincy. As far as I was   concerned he stepped up to the plate amid a bit of a club crisis last season when we were  second bottom of the division.

“I had a legend in Adam Barrett who was club captain at the time but was coming to the end of his career.

“And that’s never an easy job for a manager to tell somebody of legendary status that his time was up.

“Not only did we professionally move Barrett to one side, but Anton stepped up.

Anton Ferdinand is now a cornerstone of the Southend defence in League One
Anton Ferdinand is now a cornerstone of the Southend defence in League One
Rex Features

“That wasn’t official at first, but Anton has had to deal with that situation and he did so with an aplomb that I couldn’t have imagined.

“And he  has continued to do that through everything.”

Southend summer signing and Anton’s new team-mate Michael Turner said: “Surprisingly he’s dealt with it really well.

“He was back in the training ground soon after all the sadness in his life. But he’s a great character to have around the place, always putting smiles on people’s faces.

“I’m sure people have spoken to him, but he’s an experienced footballer and experienced man and he will deal with it in his own way.”



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