In July 2003, 36-year-old Ferdinand signed for City, newly promoted to the Premier League. His arrival at Walkers Stadium – now King Power Stadium – on a free transfer was a huge boost for the Club, which had only recently been in administration and could not afford transfer fees.
As his nickname ‘Sir Les’ implied, he arrived at City with a formidable reputation. He had joined top-flight Queens Park Rangers from non-league football in March 1987 and spent the next eight seasons at Loftus Road, during which he also enjoyed a year on loan to Turkish Super Lig side Beşiktaş. He made 184 appearances and scored 90 goals for the west London club. His 20 league goals in the Premier League’s inaugural season helped the Hoops finish in fifth place.
He made his England debut in 1993 and, in 1995, he was transferred to Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United. In his two seasons at St. James’ Park, the Magpies finished runners-up in the Premier League on both occasions with Ferdinand scoring 50 goals in 84 appearances. In 1995/96, Les was the PFA Player of the Year and also selected in the PFA Team of the Year.
Most of Ferdinand's goals came away from home, like this effort at Birmingham City.
In July 1997, he signed for Tottenham Hotspur and was in the side which defeated Leicester City in the 1999 League Cup Final. After two and a half years at White Hart Lane, another six months at West Ham United followed, before signing for the Foxes.
His impact was immediate. In the first 11 minutes of the opening fixture of the 2003/04 season against Southampton, he won a penalty and then headed a goal to give his new club a 2-0 lead, becoming concussed and damaging his knee in the process.
Nevertheless, Ferdinand postponed a knee operation in order to keep playing, so he could help the Club’s ultimately unsuccessful fight against relegation. Although he only had one season at Leicester City, he was top scorer with 13 goals, and won both the Players’ Player and the Supporters’ Player of the Year awards. Micky Adams has since said: ‘Les Ferdinand was a fantastic footballer and I was privileged to have him in the side’.
Les then had spells at Bolton Wanderers, Reading and Watford. He was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June 2005. He retired from playing when he was nearly 40 in 2006. He later coached at Tottenham for six years and was Director of Football at Queens Park Rangers from 2014-2023.
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