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Friday, 7 February, 2003, 08:59 GMT
Rio hits out at Ridsdale
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand is enjoying life at Man Utd
Rio Ferdinand has hit out at Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale and insisted he was right to leave Elland Road.

The 24-year defender joined arch rivals Manchester United in a controversial 30m switch last summer.

But Ferdinand believes the recent exodus from Leeds, including the sale of Jonathan Woodgate, has fully justified his decision to quit the club.

Ridsdale claimed at the time of Ferdinand's departure that the England international was only a stand-in for Woodgate.

"There have been a lot of opinions aired as to why I left Leeds," said Ferdinand.

"I didn't want to say anything then, and don't have to now because the situation has taken care of itself and the real reasons are coming out.

It is unfair that chairman Peter Ridsdale is taking the majority of the stick

Leeds defender Danny Mills

"I laughed when I read that about being a stand-in. An 18m stand-in is a big gamble isn't it?

"But if that was his opinion at the time, he certainly didn't tell me that. So he fooled me.

"The difference between the clubs is that United have been winning things consistently over the last decade.

"The dressing room at Blackburn after we won through to the final of the Worthington Cup confirmed that.

"Players who had won the Treble, including the European Cup, for this club, were singing and dancing.

"It still meant as much to them as it did to me, who has never been to a final."

Leeds defender Danny Mills
Mills: Time to stand up and be counted

However, Ferdinand's former team-mate and Leeds right-back Danny Mills has jumped to the defence of Ridsdale.

Mills urged Leeds fans not to heap all the blame on the chairman for recent events but to get behind the team.

"Financial realities have affected Leeds, but it is unfair that the chairman is taking the majority of the stick," Mills said in his Guardian newspaper column.

"I do not believe that changing the board will have any great effect.

"The board - not just the chairman - have had a very difficult decision to make and hopefully time will prove them right."

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