Monday, 2 February 2009

His Name is Rio

Rio Ferdinand guest-edited the Observer Sport Monthly this week. After reading about his soon-to-be-launched online lifestyle magazine, Rio, I was a bit uncertain of how the OSM would turn out.

It's actually pretty good.

Just in terms of the breadth of content, you get a really good article from author David Peace in which his son interviews Rio on Man Utd's trip to Japan; interviews with big sportspeople going back to their hometowns, like Ricky Hatton, Mark Foster, Kelly Smith; Rio interviewing Gordon Brown; a series of features on why Barack Obama's connection with sports is a good thing for America; a few other good features too, on academies and sporting development.

The David Peace article has four sections to it, and the last one is probably the best, as Peace describes taking his son to his first ever Man Utd game, at the World Club Cup. His son shouts for Ronaldo, adamant that he can hear him. Peace tries to convince his son that he should support Huddersfield Town. It's a nice little sketch of what football can mean for a family. Go read it.

The interviews Rio conducts, with Gordon Brown and Usain Bolt, give a picture of a decent guy. Both interviews are enjoyable, the banter between Rio and Bolt conveying an impression of a pair of down-to-earth sportsmen just enjoying the success they've had while still taking pleasure from the fact they're paid to do something they love. Rio and Gordon Brown are just a pair of football fans chatting shit, some references to the positive values that sport can give back to a community, but more interesting for their shared respect for Alex Ferguson, talking about home/away changing rooms, and Brown saying he couldn't understand as a kid that his dad clapped when an opposing team did something good.

So, Rio does a good job, I think. And I've come away with a much better opinion of him. Rio's World Cup Wind-Ups did a lot of damage to that, but I might be getting a bit of respect for him now.

Just to fill some more space, what about Rio's internet presences? His Super Cool Celebrity Fan Site:

This is probably a template site, not something a fan has actually set up. Probably.

His Myspace page gives a bit more value. Favourite film? Silence of the Lambs. Drink? Ribena. Of more interest to me, a three-part video series of When Rio Met Usher (actually one of my favourite musical artists right now; Love in this Club Part II? Incredible!). Rio and Usher's chat is a bit bland, but I like that he uses the time/position he has to do cool stuff like this as well as starting up football academies in Uganda. And meeting P Diddy.

Expect more posts about Rio Ferdinand's media adventures at some point in the future.

Until then, there should be some actual football-related updates from Ryan and the boys soon.

Edit: I chose the title for this post before seeing this one. Promise!

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