On 14th day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, former Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand will once again join forces with his former England center back partner, John Terry. Don’t shake your head in disbelief; it’s true. Ferdinand will be re-uniting with the man who famously racially abused his brother, Anton, for charity, as part of a UNICEF charity match at Old Trafford.
Coaching the pair, on a Great Britain and Ireland team, will be the man who built Manchester with his bare hands, Sir Alex Ferguson.
But wait, it gets better. Also included in the Great Britain and Ireland team is former Chelsea and England fullback Ashley Cole. Yes, the same Ashley Cole who testified on Terry’s behalf during the racial abuse episode.
Let’s rewind for those who may not remember the details.
Back in October 2011, Anton Ferdinand was playing for a rather terrible, Neil Warnock-led Queens Park Rangers. QPR came up against a Chelsea team that month, in league play, that featured Terry and Cole. Terry and Anton had an exchange toward the end of that game. Later, Anton saw game footage of Terry calling him a “fucking black cunt” during their on-the-field encounter.
Terry, obviously, denied the claim, suggesting that he’s not that kind of guy.
Anton pushed for action. The Metropolitan Police investigated the matter. The following February, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) charged Terry with racially abusing Anton. A trial was held and Cole, Terry’s teammate and, until that point, good friend with the Ferdinands, testified on his captain’s behalf. Terry was eventually cleared.
After the Chelsea captain walked away from the CPS charge, he was charged by the English FA. An FA tribunal found Terry guilty of racial abuse and gave him a four-match ban along with a £220,000 fine.
In the aftermath, Rio Ferdinand hasn’t exactly been silent about Terry’s actions. “For me the biggest idiot will always be John Terry,” Ferdinand wrote in his autobiography. “As England captain and my centre-back partner he could have saved everyone a lot of pain by admitting immediately he used the word in the heat of the moment, but was no racist.”
Ferdinand has claimed that his close relationship with Cole ended over the Terry incident.
In 2012, Ferdinand was fined £45,000 for calling Cole “choc-ice,” which apparently in England is the equivalent of calling someone an “Oreo”—black on the outside, and white on the inside.
Anyway, hopefully next month, Sir Alex will find a way to use his genius to play a back four that includes Ferdinand, Terry, and Cole. You know, for charity. And our entertainment, of course. Maybe even put it on pay-per-view. And then Harvard Business School can do a case study about it because Sir Alex is involved.
Here are the full teams:
GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND: David Seaman, David James, Sol Campbell, John Terry, Phil Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Nicky Butt, David Beckham (captain), Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Michael Owen, Andy Cole.
REST OF THE WORLD: Edwin van der Sar, Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta, Patrick Vieira, Michael Ballack, Massimo Ambrosini, Robert Pires, Luis Figo, Ronaldinho, Zinedine Zidane (captain), Dwight Yorke, Patrick Kluivert, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Landon Donovan.