les ferdinand mbe - fact file

1997 - 2003        forward

FULL NAME :  LESLIE FERDINAND
 

Born on 8th December 1966 in Hayes, Middlesex, England.

Height : -  1.8m  (5' 11")

Weight : -  - kgs    (st lbs)
 

 
A prolific scorer throughout his career, it was not a happy time for Les Ferdinand when he joined his boyhood team to play at White Hart Lane.

Originally starting his footballing career as a part-timer at Southall and then Hayes, while steam cleaning taxis, Les Ferdinand was spotted by local league team QPR and he signed for a fee of £30,000 plus a share of any profit made from any transfer from the Hoops.  The big forward was rough around the edges when he first went to Loftus Road and was sent out on loan - first to nearby Brentford and then to far-flung Besiktas in Turkey to get some experience.  His time in the red-hot atmosphere of Turkish football set him in good stead later in his career when he played for some of the top sides in this country.  He was also successful there and became a cult hero to the Besiktas fans.

Returning to the West London side, he made a name for himself as a goal-scorer, coming back stronger physically and mentally for the experience of his loan spell abroad. 

His signing for Spurs from Newcastle in the summer of 1997 saw him come as a £6,000,000 striker, but injuries throughout his time at Tottenham stilted his goal-scoring record to about one every three games.  Ferdinand scored the 10,000th Premiership goal of all-time for Spurs against Fulham on 15 December 2001 in a 5-1 win, but was never as prolific as at his previous two clubs.  Brought in as a target man, his bravery in the air cannot be questioned, seemingly having the propensity to get knocked out on a regular basis.  However, it was not one of the best spells in Tottenham's history and although he played a hard-working part of the League Cup final win over Leicester City in 1999, by 2002, he had chances to win the Cup again for Spurs, but was denied by Blackburn Rovers keeper Brad Friedel. 

When Les found his chances at Spurs limited, he was released to join West Ham United on a free transfer in January 2003 and while he was only at the club until the end of the season, he still found time  to score against Tottenham.  That was also something he managed when at Bolton Wanderers, where his number of appearances were few, similarly at his club in between - Leicester City, where he stayed for a season.

A fleeting stop at Reading saw Ferdinand end his career with Watford, although he never made an appearance for the side, but it sparked an interest in coaching.

In 2005, Les received an MBE for his services to the game.

After leaving the game has been an expert summariser for BBC, Sky and Setanta, but has had time to indulge himself in his love for fast cars and helicopters.

In 2008, when Harry Redknapp took over as Spurs manager, he enticed Les back to the Lane as an ad hoc coach for the forwards at the club and in April 2010, he was officially appointed as a striker coach at the club.

NICKNAME :  "Sir Les"

Career Record
 
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
QPR 1986 £30,000 ??  ?? ??
Brentford 1987 loan ??  ?? ??
Besiktas (Turkey) 1988 loan ??  ?? ??
Newcastle United 1995 £6,000,000 ??  84 50
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1997 £8,000,000 ??  118 33
West Ham United January 2003 Free ??  ?? ??
Leicester City Summer 2003 Free ??  ?? ??
Bolton Wanderers Summer 2004 Free ??  14 2
Reading 6th January 2005 Free ??  ?? ??
Watford ?? Free ??  0 0

Career Record
QPR
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
Newcastle United
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
West Ham United

- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
Leicester City

- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
Bolton Wanderers
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
Reading
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
Watford
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
- -
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals

Honours
England international
17 full caps;  5 goals
1 B cap; 1 goal
Under-21 caps; goals
PFA Player of the Year 1996
Turkish Super League Championship winners medal 1988-89 (Besiktas)
Turkish winners medal 1989 (Besiktas)
Turkish Super Cup winners medal 1989 (Besiktas)
League Cup winners medal 1998-1999  (THFC)
League Cup runners-up medal 2001-2002  (THFC)
Premier League runners-up 1995-6,1996-7  (Newcastle United)
FA Charity Shield runners-up medal 1996  (Newcastle United)

Milestones
- appearance

           

2008 (The Times)
What is the worst thing about his appearance ? : -  Grey hair
Worst job you ever had : - Steam cleaning taxis straight after leaving school.  He had to get underneath to clean all the dirt off.
What keeps you up at night : - Espresso
Does he still have the helicopters ? : -  Last one was sold just before Christmas.
Was he involved in trashing the Blue Peter garden at BBC TV centre ?  No
2009 (THFC programme)

Do you enjoy travel ?  Yes, I've been to a few places in the Far East, Middle East, all over the Caribbean.  I also visited a lot of places on pre-season tours.
Your favourite country :  Singapore, but Sardinia is the most relaxing place.
Favourite holiday destination : Caribbean (St. Lucia) / Sardinia
Favourite Journey :  Getting on the plane to St. Lucia to see my grand-mother and my family.
Longest ever walk :  Great Wall of China and shopping in Paris with my girlfrien
Favourite car :  The first car I bought – a Mini 1275 GT
Favourite magazine :  The Pilot – about aviation, as I enjoy flying
Do you read much ?  :  I'm reading “Sid Arthur” at the moment and the last one was was “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”.  I like spiritual books.
Do you like music on the move or prefer radio/tv ?  :  I play music all the time, watch a bit of TV and rarely listen to the radio.
How many CDs have you got ? :  I have nearly 1,000 CDs and a lot of vinyl.  I am old school.
Most played track ?  :  I go through phases and I am a rare groove fan, but I have friends who are DJs and like a bit of funky house too.
What would your Desert Island track be ? :  That's an impossible question, as there are too many to pick from.
Most embarrassing CD you have ?  :  A lot seem embarrassing until I play them a song from it and they then understand why I have the CD.
What was the last DVD you watched ? :  Dark Knight; the new Batman film.
Who's dance moves did you copy as a youngster ?   Michael Jackson
Whose poster was on your bedroom wall ?  I didn't really have posters on my wall, but identified with the first black players (Viv Anderson, Cyrille Regis, Brendon Batson, the late Laurie Cunningham).
Your first footballing memory ?  Playing with the lads on my estate in Ladbroke Grove.  I used to play against Dennis Wise back then.  Used to go and watch QPR, where I remember goalkeeper Phil Parkes, as he saved a penalty and didn't have any gloves on.
Favourite trick practiced :  Keepy-uppies
What other sports did you play at school ?  Rugby, tennis, athletics and I still enjoy playing tennis.
What makes a house a home ?  Family definitely.
What would you save if your house was on fire ?  My music collection
What talent would you like to have ?  To see into the future.
Do you prefer living in the town or the country ?  I live out near St. Albans at the moment and it's nice to wake up and see the green of the trees and garden. The convenience of living in town appeals to me.  Driving home, I look forward to getting out of the city, so perhaps I prefer country living.
Your childhood ambition ? To be successful in whatever I chose to do.  it wasn't originally to be a footballer because at the time there weren't any black footballers. 
Your prize possessions ?  My son Aaron 21 and daughter Lauren 12.
What couldn't you live without ?  My children.
What are you most proud of ?  What I achieved in the game and the reputation I came out of it with.  I just wanted to play to the best of my abilities and think I did, winning some nice accolades on the way - PFA Player of the Year 1996 was one of them.  Getting to the League Cup final with Spurs was one of them, as was playing for England. 
Who would be your all-time favourite flight companion ?  A toss-up between Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela.  I've read all their autobiographies and if pushed would choose Nelson Mandela.

12.12.2010 (THFC programme)

Heroes

For me, growing up, the first black players I used to see on TV were Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis.  I'm not sure I would class them as heroes, but they were certainly an inspiration for me.

There were only a few black players before them but they were the ones who I had a strong association with.  I was probably about nine or 10 and loved football.  I played it all the time as a kid at school and in my own time with friends, but I never really ran around the playground saying ! I'm so and so today" - not until I watched Laurie and Cyrille, and Brendon Batson as well, on TV.

But while those lads were my inspiration, my hero as a youngster was most definitely Muhammad Ali. 

My parents were mad keen on him, always talking about Muhammad Ali and I think my mum fancied him as well !  But he was a hero because he was the first black person I cold identify with who was at the top of his game and also had a voice that people listened to.  When Ali said he was going to do something, he did it.
He had such style and personality, everything about him was inspirational and he was a real hero of mine.

 

September 1997 (Spurs Monthly)

Goalkeeper when at school.

Born in Paddington Hospital and brought up in Ladbroke Grove. In same class at school as Dennis Wise.

“I had been a school goalkeeper for three or four years but always played in attack in five-a-side games, scoring loads of goals. One day our school centre-forward was injured and we didn't have a replacement striker, although we did have a second goalkeeper. Dennis (Wise) turned around and said, “Les can play centre-forward.”
I went out and scored three or four goals in the game and I remember the Headmaster coming up to me and saying : “You'll never play in goal for this school again.””

Worked part-time as a painter-decorator, driver and steam cleaned taxis.

Started playing with Viking Sports, then moved on to Southall and went to Wembley in the FA Vase final, where they lost to Halesowen.

Joined Hayes and then QPR snapped him up at 19. Got injured early in his career at Loftus Road and went on loan to Brentford and then went to Turkey for a year with Besiktas. “I gained experience of European football while with Besiktas and suddenly it all fell into place.”

 

 

What they said about Les Ferdinand
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What Les Ferdinand said about ...
... a plastic bottle thrown at him in the League Cup semi-final first leg v Chelsea at Stamford Bridge ...  09.01.2002 (The Times)

"It must have been close, because I could smell the beer that came out of it as it passed me."

... his time at Newcastle United ...  19.04.2009 (THFC programme)

"I had a tremendous time there, probably the best times I had as a footballer."

... his time at Tottenham ...  19.04.2009 (THFC programme)

"I supported Spurs as a boy and I scored goals at QPR, scored goals at Newcastle, but if there was one place I really wanted to score goals it was here at Spurs.  Things just didn't work out.  I has an serious Achilles injury which really hampered me as well.  It was a tough time."

... on what he had been doing while injured ...  2000 (Sunday People)

"I've got a superbike game (for his Sega Dreamcast) and a new boxing game which I've been playing a lot."

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