Available today on BBC Sounds, BBC Radio 5 Live’s Eddie Hearn: No Passion, No Point is back for its third series. The popular podcast returns with an interview with Manchester United and England footballing legend Rio Ferdinand.
Produced by BBC Studios, and first released in 2019, No Passion, No Point has seen Eddie Hearn, one of the world’s best-known sports promoters, go behind the scenes with some of the biggest names from the worlds of sport, entertainment and politics.
Eddie Hearn said: “I am delighted to be doing a third series of ‘No Passion No Point’. Passion drives everything I do, and I have really enjoyed talking to like-minded people about that burning desire to get to the very top. I can’t wait for you to hear Series 3.”
See below for a collection of key quotes from today’s episode with Rio Ferdinand.
Eddie recalls seeing Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard in clubs early on in their career:
Eddie: “I think you played in an era that was probably one of the best eras to play in. The money was good, the lifestyle was good, but it wasn’t as obsessive. I had Frank Lampard on this last series – we’re a similar age. I would go out when I was younger – in the Emporium or wherever – I would see you and Lampard. You were having the greatest time!”
Rio: “Unbelievable scenes. You can’t talk about it on here. Different podcast!”
Eddie: “We’re not going to go to deep into it. But you could go out – people knew who you were – but I’m not so sure you could enjoy playing now?”
Rio then went on to discuss his nightclubbing days with Frank Lampard and co at West Ham:
“Just enjoying life, man. Every night out was just the best thing. Me and Frank used to room together. At first we just be talking about, ‘right, get the game out the way, we’re going to get in the car and boot it up to Nottingham, we’re going Manchester or Leeds, or Emporium in London – the best nightclub. What used to go on in there was unreal – the music, the vibe, the people. People used to travel from everywhere to get there.
“In the end, we had to make a pact: ‘let’s not talk about the nightclub until after the game – we know we’re going Sansa but let’s not talk about it’. We’d get caught up. We used to go out and talk purely about going out with your mates and having a good time. It wasn’t about people recording the night and you being caught in the background. Everything now is about a phone. Back then, you were out to have a good time. Go out now, no one’s really talking – everyone’s looking for that Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat moment so they can say, ‘I’ve been here tonight’.”
Eddie recalls his own experiences after receiving a VIP membership at a club in London, recalling a time he saw Rio and Frank Lampard in there:
“We were in the VIP, then you and Frank arrived in. You walked past us, got to this curtain and YOU went through!”
Rio: “Yeah. The VVIP!”
Eddie: “Yeah! I said to the geezer, ‘what’s that?’ He said, ‘that’s the VVIP’. You’re joking! I paid a fortune for this. I was trying to get in there for years.”
Rio admits he nearly came close to losing his way during a period of partying early in his career:
“Yeah. Around that time. I left West Ham at 20 or 21 and went to Leeds for a big fee – a British record. The summer before that I got dropped from the England team – they had Euro 2000. Manager Kevin Keegan didn’t take me. I was devasted. But, probably one of the best things I done, I looked at myself. I didn’t blame him. I was p***** off with him, I’ve got to be honest. I looked at myself after that initial anger with him and I thought, ‘you know what, it’s down to me isn’t it. I’m going out all the time, going Emporium, I’m seeing Eddie Hearn in there…’ I’m thinking, I’m doing too much off the pitch. I was doing too much.
“That summer I went on holiday somewhere, I got back and I trained before we even went back to pre-season. I was running in the park the whole time for about ten days before we went back in. I went back in, hit the ground running and then that November I think I went to Leeds.”
Continuing to speak about the distractions he faced as a young player in London, Rio explains why moving to Leeds United was the best thing he’s ever done:
“I could’ve gone to Chelsea – I got a phone call just as I was going to Leeds – I just said to the geezers, ‘there’s no point even trying to pitch the idea to me. I need to leave London. I’ve got all my mates, I go out every weekend. I can go anywhere in town – I’m living a distraction. Going to Leeds was getting me away from my mates, who were good boys, but we were getting in trouble and going out too much. I didn’t have a hand break, everything was full throttle. The best decision was looking at myself and moving to Leeds when I did. Best thing I done.”
On his brief Boxing career:
“I wanted to become a pro. I wanted to go from being a professional footballer, to a pro boxer. I started training – for the first two months, I was just training on my own with Richie [Woodhall]. It was mind-numbing. Every session I was in the red zone – I was dying.
“Then he said I could go and spar – we were going to the Olympic training camp in Sheffield. I walked into the gym and the first person I saw was Frazer Clarke. He made me look like a featherweight. It must have been about 100kg. He was moving it about all over the gaff. Richie patted me on the back and said, ‘that’s your first spa’. My legs just went – it was like I was walking up for a penalty at Wembley. Because it’s me, all of the fighters are hanging about to see the spar. I’m thinking, ‘I do not need a crowd’. It was fine – he obviously didn’t put anything behind the punches. After about the fourth round, my left hand was down here because my shoulders were killing me. But… the adrenaline man… I was just gutted that the powers that be didn’t give me a license.”