Rio Ferdinand’s new autobiography #2Sides has already caused ripples in the national press with his views on Manchester United, David Moyes and John Terry - but what does he have to say about south east London?

Rio is a proper south east London lad, having studied at Blackheath Bluecoat School and played as a youth for Eltham Town FC and has recently moved back into the Bromley borough.

News Shopper scoured the book for his local recollections...

News Shopper: Rio Ferdinand
He missed out on a lot of snogging

As a teenager at Blackheath Bluecoat Rio had to take two hour bus and train journeys to get to and from training at Dagenham and Redbridge.

He writes:  “After school, most of my mates just wanted to play spin the bottle and snog birds, so they made fun of me when I said ‘I’ll play for ten minutes but then I’ve got to go. I ain’t missing my trains.’”

Rio got the last laugh, of course, because some of the lads who stayed for the ‘birds’ could’ve made it too if they had more drive. ‘Now they’re working on building sites,” Rio writes.

News Shopper: Frank Lampard

He owes the Lampards a lot

Rio says as much in the opening of a chapter which focuses on his friendship with the younger Frank Lampard, though it was his dad who picked him up for West Ham.

Rio said: “Frank Senior saw me playing for Blackheath District when I was 15 and he asked me to come to West Ham for a training session.”

Rio hated it that first session but Frank snr persuaded him to stick at it and even drove to pick Rio up in his black Merc.

News Shopper: Rio Ferdinand

Racism stamped out at Charlton

Growing up in Peckham, Rio said there was a lot of racism around and the young Rio’s first reaction was always for a ruck, he writes.

He said: “I remember going to my first training session at Charlton. One of their kids called me a ‘black b*****d’ and we got into a fight immediately. The response of their coach John Cartwright was brilliant. He stepped in, took my side, made the boy apologise and banned him for a few weeks. I hadn’t even signed for Charlton. I was impressed.”

News Shopper: Rio Ferdinand

But not so good in the crowd at the Den...

A lot of black players were getting racially abused when Rio was growing up and he recalls getting a fan’s eye view as a youngster.

He writes: “I’d seen stadium racism first-hand too, when I went with a mate to see Millwall play Derby. Derby had four or five black players and they were all playing well.

“This geezer in front of us was going, ‘those f*****g black b*****ds, send them back to where they’re f*****g from.’ Then he turned around and noticed me.

“There was a policeman standing right next to me. I looked at the policeman and he looked through me like nothing had been said. Then the guy says: ‘not you, mate, just the ones on the pitch.’ I just got up and said to my friend: ‘I’m leaving, man. I can’t deal with this s***.’”

News Shopper:

He’s proud of where he’s from

“I never try to hide the fact of where I’ve come from,” he wrote.

“I like it. I enjoy it. I love it. Growing up in Peckham made me who I am today, so I love to go to familiar places to get some food, say, or a haircut.

“Certain people say, ‘What are you doing there man? You shouldn’t be around here. It’s dangerous.’ They don’t understand that I feel good in places like Lewisham in London or Moss Side in Manchester, or Lozells in Birmingham.”

That’s when he’s not being spotted in Tesco or tucking into Pie and Mash in Orpington, of course.

Rio Ferdinand: #2Sides My Autobiography is out now, published by Blink Publishing, £20.