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Oct 12, 2008

Ferdinand slams 'ignorant' Wembley boo boys

Rio Ferdinand has slammed the England fans who booed Ashley Cole after his mistake gifted Kazahstan a goal in their 5-1 defeat at Wembley.

Cole's errant pass allowed Zhambyl Kukeyev to bring the game back to 2-1in the 68th minute.

Soon after, a section of the Wembley crowd booed Cole when he touched the ball.

Ferdinand said the supporters who turned on Cole should "be ashamed of themselves''.

He said: "Everyone is human, and people make mistakes. We are big enough to hold our hands up when we have made a mistake, but it is not made any easier when you have got your own fans booing you.

"I hope people on reflection will make sure they don't do that again. A lot of the fans did try to clap Ashley, and I think you've got to rally round as players and supporters when anyone makes a mistake.''

England coach Fabio Capello said: "I couldn't understand the crowd booing Ashley Cole after he made a mistake. It is possible for one player to make mistake. It is very important that the crowd help him and not boo him.''

The Football Association condemned the booing as "crazy''.

The FA, while delighted at the support received from most of a capacity 90,000 crowd, felt let down by those who attacked Cole.

"It is crazy that a section of our own supporters are booing one of our own players,'' said an FA spokesman.

"That is clearly not going to help the team during the course of a game, and certainly not the individual being booed.''

Booing individual players has been a feature of the new Wembley.

Frank Lampard has taken the brunt of fan anger in the past, while Tottenham's David Bentley was verbally attacked over his decision to pull out of the England Under-21s squad last year so late that coach Stuart Pearce had no time to call up a replacement for the European Championships.

The controversy over Cole's move to Stamford Bridge from Arsenal - and revelations about his private life - have led to occasional adverse publicity.

The FA spokesman continued: "Unfortunately, we are all aware that we have had problems of this kind since we have come back to the new Wembley.

"That is why Fabio Capello stressed before the game we needed the crowd with us.

"The supporters yesterday really got behind us for the vast majority of the game, and there was a great atmosphere during the first half in particular.

"Several players have said they were encouraged to see large numbers in the crowd applauding Ashley Cole to counter-balance those booing him.

"It is unfair on all the fans who have come to the game with the best intentions of supporting the team throughout.''

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