I might have a contract taken out on my life for saying this, but it’s worth it: I hate Manchester United.
So now you can imagine how the bile is rising as I’m required to write about their product, Rio Ferdinand.
Thankfully, this article is not about how many times the team have walloped poor Liverpool (the greatest team on the planet).
Nope, in fact, we’re focusing on his TV show, #5 By Rio Ferdinand, in which he talks about his life and love for music, sports and hip locations.
The glam side of sport is an area FTV should have capitalised on, but it hasn’t.
Enter Ferdinand and his infectious smile, giving us the magazine show that lets us in on the life of a footballer off the pitch.
What most people are apt to enjoy is Ferdinand’s banter with invited soccer celebrities and other A-listers from the world of entertainment.
If you want to see what superstars do away from their day jobs, #5 is a good bet. When Trace Sports announced its intention to broadcast in SA, people wondered what the channel would offer that wasn’t already on TV.
Shortened to #5, the show gives us a glimpse into the footballer’s mind as he reveals his love of the outdoors and shares a little of his lifestyle with us.
Imagine him in a club. Would he be bopping to old-school Technotronic’s Pump Up The Jam or to 50 Cent’s In Da Club?
I’d go with 50 Cent, since the rapper appears in one of the show’s episodes.
You’ll also see stars such as the fastest man alive, Usain Bolt, fellow soccer genius Robinho and Miami Heat maestro LeBron James (who has a stake in Liverpool FC, by the way) spending time with Ferdinand in various locations.
While other shows tend to go the documentary route when it comes to tapping into superstars’ lives, this show has a more laid-back feel. It is so relaxed you feel like part of the crowd when the stars bump shoulders.
The other commendable thing is that they spend little time indoors and try to live it up as much as possible.
Take the Robinho episode for instance; Ferdinand and the Brazilian striker take their dribbling skills to the public. The segment is called Skill School.
A feature many people will like is the heroes section where old players such as Diego Maradona are saluted. The question of whether he was better than Pelé still rages on, despite some dubious poll that was conducted years ago.
Then comes the part the guys will enjoy; featured models. Even our own Joelle Kayembe gets a chance to show a side most people don’t know about.
I wonder when a Liverpool player is going to counter this?
• #5 By Rio Ferdinand airs every Saturday at 10.30pm on Trace Sports (DStv channel 129).