Football: Rio grand, but can the Hammers hold him?
Monday 21 December 1998
Moore spent most of his career at Upton Park, international achievement bolstering his preference for familiar surroundings at a time when there was no great profit in switching allegiance.
Times change. "Who knows," Harry Redknapp replied reflectively when recent speculation about Ferdinand's future was put to him. "What we're trying to do is make the progress that will keep Rio and other young players who are coming through happy."
Ferdinand's performances may be doing wonders for Redknapp's peace of mind - "I sleep easier just knowing he's in the team," - but West Ham's manager must live with the possibility of losing him. "The way things are in football now it is difficult to keep a player when he can double, even treble his wages by going to a club that has a good chance of winning the championship."
If common sense prevails, Redknapp lives in hope that an extension of the improvement sustained since the relegation worries of two seasons ago will endear Ferdinand to the club he has grown up with. Now sixth in the Premiership after a seventh place finish last term, their realistic target is a crack at European competition.
At the risk of going overboard about a player who still has things to learn - a mistake that could hinder Michael Owen's progress - Ferdinand looks made for it.
The most glowing tribute comes from his French teammate Marc Keller who was brought up with Marcel Desailly and Lilian Thurman of his country's World Cup winning team. "Marc says that Rio will be in a different class to both of them," Redknapp added.
More than any other factor, Ferdinand's assurance under pressure enables Redknapp to risk the perils of momentum that allows the opposition room for retaliatory manoeuvre.
Saturday's 2-1 defeat of Everton clearly emphasised West Ham's ability to break. Everton were not so much transformed in the second half as realising the possibilities arising from the Hammer's eagerness to get forward.
"It became end to end stuff. We were running past each other in midfield," Redknapp added.
Behind in the 19th minute when Keller's attempted centre found their net after looping over Thomas Myrhe and striking the far post, Everton drew level when Danny Cadamarteri forced home a low centre from the substitute Nick Barmby.
Everton, however, were unable to consolidate, their goal falling again almost immediately when Trevor Sinclair launched himself at Keller's cross to head the winner.
Not that the game's fluctuations were over. Chances came at both ends and on another day Ian Wright, who foolishly got himself a mention in the referee's report for booting the ball out of play, might have been on a hat trick.
A battle of wills in midfield between Eyal Berkovic and his shadow, Olivier Dacourt, briefly went the Everton man's way when he began to spring forward, but it swung again in an exciting finale.
Not in the least troubled when he is left without frontal protection - shades of the best defender ever to wear England's colours - Ferdinand dealt calmly with crises that arose from Cadamarteri's eager surges.
Even so, West Ham almost paid for their profligate finishing when conceding a free-kick from 20 yards in the last minute.
Dacourt struck it well but Shaka Hislop, adding to the good impression he has made since arriving on a free transfer from Newcastle, turned the ball for a corner.
Walter Smith offered no excuses for a defeat that ended Everton's mini revival. "We didn't perform in the first half and after getting back into the game we threw it away with bad defending," he said.
Honours in that department went to the player whose ability causes Redknapp to drool.
"Frightening," he said.
Goals: Keller (19) 1-0; Cadamarteri (71) 1-1; Sinclair (75) 2-1.
West Ham (3-5-2): Hislop; Pearce, Ferdinand, Dicks; Sinclair, Lomas, Berkovic, Lampard, Keller; Hartson, Wright. Substitutes not used: Forrest (gk), Breacker, Potts, Omoyinmi, Lazaridis.
Everton (3-5-2): Myrhe; Bilic, Materazzi, Unsworth; Ward (Collins, 75), Grant (Barmby, 64), Dacourt, Hutchison, Cleland; Cadamateri, Madar (Branch, 64). Substitutes not used: Simonsen (gk), Farley.
Bookings: West Ham: Lomas, Wright. Everton: Dacourt, Hutchison, Bilic, Cadamarteri.
Referee: R Harris (Oxford).
Man of the match: Ferdinand.
Latest in Sport
Chelsea injury news: Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic could join Diego Costa on the sidelines for crucial Manchester City clash
Australian Open 2015: Thanks to Amelie Mauresmo, it's no longer Andy Murray against the world
Fantasy Premier League: Invest in Arsenal to climb the ranks in Gameweek 23
Manchester United sign former Manchester City prospect Sadiq El Fitouri on advice from Phil Neville and Paul Scholes
Chelsea vs Manchester City: Manuel Pellegrini pours scorn on anti-Chelsea 'campaign' but refuses to discuss Jose Mourinho's 'Pellegrino' slight
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...