Brabrook Remembers The Ferdinands

THE Ferdinand family will be looking forward to a proud day on Sunday, as Anton Ferdinand gets set to line-up against older brother Rio when Hammers take on Manchester United, and one man who nurtured both players' career was Peter Brabrook.

An FA Cup winner with West Ham United in 1964, Peter is now a scout at Upton Park, but was right-hand man to Tony Carr when both Ferdinand brothers came through the West Ham United Academy.

Peter is now looking forward to a proud day for the Ferdinand family on Sunday.

"They are a lovely family," said Peter, "and it will be a fantastic occasion for them. Julian (Ferdinand the players' dad) is a lovely man and it will be great for him to see both his sons out there.

"I'm sure they will both do him proud on Sunday. I imagine he will sit there not supporting either team and hoping for a draw!"

Peter is also rightly proud at seeing two players who were both in his charge during their days in the Upton Park youth-teams come throught to play at the highest level.

"You are always proud when you see players you have worked with as young boys come through," dmitted Peter. "It is nice when you see players that you coached as youngsters playing in the Premier League and I always feel a sense of pride.

"It just goes to show what the West Ham United Academy has done to bring players through.

"As players, Rio and Anton were similar as youngsters. Rio was neat and tiday and started off playing in midfield before switching to centre-back.

"Anton basically started off at right-back and then moved to become a central defender, which is where he has stayed. They have both got similar styles. Both are good footballers with very good pace."

Peter recalls a nine-year-old Anton coming to watch his older brother play in the Academy and boasting from the sidelines that one day he would play on the same pitch as Rio in the Premier League.

"You wouldn't have believed him then," remembered Peter. "You could barely see Anton on the sidelines he was so small, but once he started playing in the Academy you could tell that he had similar attributes to Rio.

"Anton was very keen, you knew right away that he wanted to be a footballer. He wanted to take after his brother and that was always in his mind. I'm so pleased for Anton because he has gone on to prove that he can play and has come through the Academy to do very well in the West Ham United first-team.

"It is always harder for the younger brother to follow the older one. The younger boy is always going to be compared and obviously that happened to Anton.

"I can remember people watching him and saying 'Oh, Rio would have done that' or 'Rio did this.' But Anton was his own man and he used to reply 'well I'm not Rio - I want to be Anton.'

"I think eventually the message got across because that's what people are doing now. They are judging him as Anton Ferdinand and that's exactly how it should be."

Another famous boast of the young Anton was that one day he and Rio would play together for England. At the time these boasts were laughed off by the spectators watching his older brother's progress in Tony Carr's youth team.

But no one is laughing at the prophecy now.

"Maybe he could have been right all along," admits Peter, "as it could well end up happening now. Peter Taylor tells me that Anton has done excellently for the Under-21s, so who is to know. Maybe Anton and Rio could play in the same England team.

"Knowing Anton he will be working very hard to achieve that, just like he'll be working really hard in the game on Sunday.

"Both of them will want to put in good performances and whatever the outcome I'm sure both players will have good games.

"Obviously I am just very pleased to see that both of them are doing so well since leaving the Academy."