Belfast Telegraph

Rio savours beating City and Reds

Rio Ferdinand does not believe beating Chelsea is as sweet as getting one over on old rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.

Manchester United have all three clubs to face over the next month in what manager David Moyes has claimed is the Red Devils' toughest start to a league campaign for 20 years.

Chelsea are the team tipped by many to claim United's title following the return of Jose Mourinho, so victory over the Blues at Old Trafford on Monday would be particularly significant.

Yet for all their money, charismatic manager and trophies over the past decade, for Ferdinand, the battles with Chelsea can never match those against Liverpool and City.

"You look forward to playing every time you step out at Old Trafford," he said. "It is a special place to play.

"We all appreciate playing there in front of our home fans and we try to put on a show.

"But the Liverpool and Manchester City games are usually hyped up a bit more than anyone else, so the feeling after winning one of those games is probably the biggest of the season."

Ferdinand was speaking at the launch of a new sponsorship between United and India-based Apollo Tyres, who will become the club's official tyre partner in the UK.

There is a novel aspect to the deal in that Apollo, through their "Go The Distance" campaign, have vowed to create football pitches for community use made out of recycled tyres.

They intend for the first of those pitches to be constructed close to Old Trafford, with others intended for use in both the United Kingdom and India.

It represents the company's first venture into a global football sponsorship, having previously been involved in tennis, but not, interestingly, cricket.

"Cricket is a great sport but it is over-crowded," said Apollo's vice-chairman and managing director Neeraj Kanwar.

"First we went into tennis. We wanted to create Grand Slam winners in India. But we didn't see that being successful.

"It made sense to try a new sport. In India football is up and coming and there is interest in the Premier League.

"Manchester United have 46million fans in the country and we believe our aims and aspirations are the same as theirs."

Meanwhile, Moyes is still mulling over whether to make an increased bid for Everton pair Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini.

Having had a joint £28million offer branded "derisory" by the Toffees earlier this week, Moyes has resolved not to bid separately for the players, whom he knows so well from his time at Goodison Park.

An increased offer of £35million has been suggested, although this might cause some head-scratching given there appears no obvious need to spend vast amounts on a left-back given the return to form of Patrice Evra over the past year.

It is also anticipated impressive teenager Adnan Januzaj will be rewarded with a long-term contract over the next few weeks.


From Belfast Telegraph