Just when you think the club media managers and press officers have stopped up every gap they go and break the rules themselves.
I have to admit I was stunned when I was made aware of Sunderland defender Wes Brown’s revelation he felt that former Manchester United teammate Anderson was the ‘least intelligent’ footballer he had ever played alongside.
Initially I wondered how anyone had managed to squeeze in such an obtuse question when press conferences these days are generally controlled by men in sharp suits who are very quick to step in from the sidelines should something either controversial or leftfield – or in this case both – get thrown into the mix.
The answer was that this interview was carried out by ‘Sunderland’s official YouTube channel’ – so obviously in the comfort of their own surroundings some gamekeepers are happy to play poacher, especially when it is a bit of a jibe at a rival.
However, the more stunning factor was that Brown was happy to hold forth and that he based his criticism on the evidence Brazilian midfielder Anderson had failed to learn any English in seven years at United – with an added inference that this highlights that the former Porto player is actually a bit lazy.
All very interesting and a touch unexpected, but is Brown right that the Brazilian is a samba or two short of a carnival, or is Anderson actually misunderstood?
I have to take issue with the portrayal of the 26-year-old Gremio product, who reportedly is heading back to his old club in his hometown of Porto Alegre in the January transfer window.
Should Anderson head back to Brazil, he will leave with a rare old haul of medals and having collected a lot of rather impressive annual salaries for the past eight years without having expended a whole lot of effort.
While leaning more than slightly on my rather fluffy maths, I make it that his 14 major honours picked up between 2006 and the present day in his stays at Porto and United have come at a playing average of a little under 15 games per trophy – having played 18 times for Porto and 181 for the Red Devils.
Just to illustrate what a master of minimal effort for maximum return Anderson has been, take a look at his role in the 2008 Champions League final against Chelsea at the Luzhniki Stadium, in Moscow,
Anderson was brought on as a substitute in the final minute of extra time – so he had already managed to shy away from 119 minutes of action at least – to replace his critic Brown, and then converted United’s sixth attempt in the penalty shootout, which United won 6–5, and collected a winners medal.
While I can see there is real merit in earning your rewards, you would still have to mark out Anderson’s ability to win something for almost nothing as a touch of sheer genius rather than stupidity.