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Anderson – Six years later

Manchester United beat Kitchee FC 5-2 in their final game of the pre-season tour of the East and Anderson got a rare 90 minute run out. That game marked the six year anniversary of Anderson Luis de Abreu Oliveira being granted a work permit to play in the UK, and four days later the boy from Brazil officially became a Manchester United player.

Aged just 19, Anderson joined for a significant transfer fee – around £20m – and was immediately handed the number 8 shirt vacated by Wayne Rooney (who became United’s number 10). And fans were cautiously optimistic. Youtube footage of him did the rounds. We liked what we saw: Ando scoring a brilliant solo-goal for Gremio, in which he slalomed through the entire opposition defence before calmly slotting home. Ando buccaneering up and down the pitch for Porto. Some said that given time, he would become the box-to-box midfielder we so yearned for.

Six years later, and we’re still waiting.

The jury’s not just still out on Anderson, they’re out-out. Downing beers at George Best’s best session rate. Drinking to forget.

Anderson’s become a bit of a punchline, a comedy caperer. A clown. We laugh at his antics at United free-kicks when he stands in front of the opposition ‘keeper, generally arsing around and trying to put him off. We have a little giggle at his over-the-top celebrations after title wins. Most fans are as likely to talk about his expanding waistline, or the way he’s so obviously wheezing after a lung-busting run upfield as they are his goals. The song we sung about him – the one in which we inform him he “shits on Fabregas”; would we still sing it if, and that’s one whopper of an if, Cesc signs? – isn’t belted out with as much gusto any more. And there are some in the Old Trafford crowd who are up for debate about another of the lines in that song too: is he better than Kleberson?

And at this point every year we find ourselves asking will this – finally – be the year that Anderson comes good? Five years ago, we were confident that it would be. Four years ago, we were a little less certain. Six years on, we’re entitled to ask just how many chances does the boy deserve?

Scott the Red put together some great analysis on this site on the cyclical nature of Anderson’s career. And it’s true. Anderson is woefully inconsistent: one great game followed by two poor ones where he can’t last 60 minutes, puffs and pants his way around the pitch like a competition winner, followed by an injury followed by a long lay-off followed by a fight to get back into consideration followed by one great game…

I’m not saying he’s fat, round, and bounces on the ground, but his career doesn’t half go round in circles (down the plughole?) That’s how he rolls.

Anderson’s United debut was against Sunderland on 1st September 2007. He lasted forty-five minutes. Was hooked at half-time, replaced by Louis Saha (who would eventually score United’s winner that day). And it would become a characteristic of his career that he’d rarely if ever complete the full 90 minutes. At the end of his first season, the Reds won the Champions League final in Moscow, with Anderson coming off the bench in the last minute of extra time. Playing just over sixty seconds meant he still had enough energy to go up and take – and score – one of our penalties.

Anderson also scored a penalty in the shootout in the League Cup final the following year. This time it was to prove the decisive kick. And it was hoped he’d really kick on in the following year. Build on his early promise and become a mainstay of the side. And things looked good on 29th July 2009 – two years to the day since he’d received his work permit – when he scored a cracking free-kick in a pre-season friendly against Boca Juniors. Indeed, he scored his first competitive goal for the Reds in September against Spurs.

But then, in early 2010, Ando chipped off to Brazil without Fergie’s permission, and the boy who was already beginning to test his manager’s patience – there were lots of rumours of Ando’s partying, indeed, if even half of them were true then he put that other Party Boy midfielder Eric sniff Djemba sniff Djemba to shame. Allegedly – suddenly had his cards marked.

For a month, Anderson buckled down. And then, just as it appeared he’d put all that nonsense behind him, disaster struck. He ruptured his cruciate ligament in a game against West Ham in February and missed the rest of the season. Worse was to come in August, when the Brazilian was involved in a serious car accident in Portugal. He returned to Carrington very much with his tail between his legs. (Not a euphemism).

Still, in 2010-11, Anderson began to fight his way back into the kind of form which had made him such a fan favourite: he added more goals too, especially in Europe, where he netted against Valencia in the group stages and twice in the Semi-Final against Schalke as United powered to the Champions League final. In December, contrary to rumours that he might be heading for the door marked EXIT, he’d been offered a new four year contract which would keep him at the club until June 2015, and he seemed more settled than we’d seen him in a Red shirt for many a month.

But this was to prove yet another false dawn. Injury once again rocked him. Initially Ando was supposed to be ruled out for three months, however a combination of niggles, tweaks and twangs conspired to keep him out of action for the remainder of the season.

Last season was supposed to be a different story, and indeed started promisingly, particularly in the League Cup, where he scored in United’s opening round tie at home to Newcastle, and then turned in a man of the match performance as a weakened United side so nearly beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, eventually losing 5-4 after extra time. But then, in December the injury curse reared its ugly head again. This time it was a hamstring injury, suffered in another topsy-turvy roller-coaster of a game, the 4-3 at Reading (in which he’d also bagged the Reds’ opener).

And so, gearing up for 2013-14, Anderson still has a lot to prove. By rights he should have now made himself first-choice, the box-to-box runner to complement Carrick’s elegant quarterbacking. But I just can’t see him making that berth his own. Don’t get me wrong. I like Anderson. But I’ve lost the faith in him I once had, when as a relative youngster he dominated the likes of Gerrard and Fabregas in central midfield battles. I no longer think he’s the answer to our seemingly eternal midfield conundrum. He remains something of a mystery wrapped up inside a predator, a watched kettle which will never come to the boil.

Six years is a very long time in football. Its only four years away from a testimonial, for Christ’s sake. Already he’s enjoyed a longer United playing career than comparative legends like Jim Holton, Arnold Muhren, Viv Anderson, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Dwight Yorke and Diego Forlan, whilst never fully imprinting himself on the collective United consciousness to the same degree as those players.

And I think it says something that of the eight caps Anderson has won at senior international level for Brazil, none have been won since the six he won in a successful 2008. The hot-blooded young man who won the Golden Ball as Brazil took silver in the 2005 FIFA under-17 world championship, who’d been tipped for greatness, has been left out in the international cold for virtually his entire United career.

He’ll start with a clean slate under Moyes though, and yet again, fans will hope. It’s just that the hope won’t be as high as it once was.

In The Guardian’s minute-by-minute commentary of United’s clash with Kitchee in Hong Kong, Daniel Harris pondered: “Apart from Ryan Giggs, has there ever been a more frustrating footballer than Anderson? He takes possession in his own half, and immediately sweeps a perfect ball forwards, into the stride of Zaha, pacing down the right. He cuts back low and hard, Anderson arriving on the edge of the box, but his shit is deflected away from the goal.”

I’m presuming Daniel means “shot” here, but shit might do just as well. Ando’s shit appears to have been deflected from its true course for much of the six years he’d been here. Let’s hope he finds the right path this season.




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340 Comments

  1. Wakey says:

    I don’t understand all the hatred about Woodward. Seriously guys transfers are a little harder than they are on FM. Infact I suspect they are harder this summer than ever because of FFP which is causing clubs to dig their heels in to get the best price possible to fund their own transfers both this summer and in the previous two seasons too.

    As for hi staying in London. Lets be honest most of his work doesn’t need him to be in Manchester and if anything being based on London is probably better for much of it. If he need to be in Manchester its only a couple of hours away

  2. Rukky says:

    The media is taking advantage of our search for a quality midfielder and writing all sort of bullocks, linking us with swhinstiger and now matinez in just two days. Its getting embarrassing in a way. Really the roo twilight saga could be killing the spirit in locker, he should sold or ‘maloudarise’ already

  3. Mr C says:

    @ King Cantona – greetings to you too. They way I see it is that Moyes has to try and keep the top spinning for a bit. City? Not bothered about that lot as they peaked over a year ago. Their fans would be mindful of how far they were behind United last season despite all the money they’d spent, ending up with their manager getting sacked. Chelsea worry me a bit more – Hazard, Oscar and Mata are top quality and in Lukaku (or whatever his name is) they may have a rough diamond. Luckily, Mourihno’s such a negative minded coach he’ll probably reign in their play. Would I be bothered about Rooney ending up there? No. But would I be bothered about Rooney ending up at Arsenal? Yes. I can’t see it happening but most definitely. Wenger may be cheap but he’s a canny bastard and increasingly seems anxious to keep the Arsenal crowd off his back as they are seriously pissed off. If the Suarez thing falls through it wouldnt surprise me if they go after Rooney.

  4. Rukky says:

    I think this martinez is a striker, but who cares? If the reports of squad harmony is true, then something has to be done about wayneboy already

  5. The Truth says:

    @Wakey

    We all know the “Red Knights” were a bunch of chancers. They could barely muster a million quid, let alone two billion. Their public mouthpiece was that Keith Harris fella who brokered the disasterous takeover of Portsmouth FC by Gaydamak the arms dealer. Look where Portsmouth are now! The proposed Red Knights takeover was yet more pie in the sky. “Green and gold until they fold!” Remember all that tripe? I remember Old Trafford was literally rocking to the chant of “we want Glazer out” but in truth all the Glazers had to do was ignore it and let Sir Alex go about his business of winning trophies. As always Sir Alex delivered and sure enough the dissent soon dissipated. We haven’t heard a peep since. Might be a different story under Moyes though. I’m digging out my Newton Heath scarf just in case!

  6. Wakey says:

    @Rukky
    Its not just us though. They do it every summer to all clubs but this season has some really unique situations. We have selling clubs more eager than anything to get the best price and buying clubs to get players cheap (because of FFP) while we also have some rich clubs saying sod it.

    And most importantly we have a few top players who seem to want to get out of their current club but are officially not for sale but unoffcially they are but for top dollar (Rooney, Suarez, Bale, Ronaldo and Cesc to name just a few). We are in that holding partern that’s waitin for just one of them to go through which will start a domino effect around Europe

  7. King Cantona says:

    @ Wakey – interesting write up on MUST. I don’t think MUST would ever be able to organise a takeover of OT, but I do think they are more useful as a pressure group than you give them credit for. The pressure from fans groups like MUST is a factor in pressuring Glazers to reduce the debt.

    Also the Glazers weren’t exactly pro-fans and even Gill was against the way they loaded the Club with debt. The Glazers did a pretty dirty purchase of United that was high risk, they have been super lucky with record low interest rates and success of the Club, it was shaky at moments. Had SAF not had so much success it could be a different picture and MUST would look like prophets.

    I personally feel a fan pressure group is good. It means the owners know that fans have limits and will go against them if they mess with the Club. Pressure groups may not always be right, but they serve a useful purpose and MUST has definitely benefited the Club and pressured Glazers on debt. Let us not forget for the Glazers this is just a business. For MUST they love United. They may be a bit off centre at times but they are true fans.

  8. The Truth says:

    @King Cantona

    Spot on about MUST. The Glazers must be held accountable for their actions and cannot be allowed to ride roughshod over United. This is OUR CLUB. It belongs to the people of Manchester. Sadly the average footy fan today couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery, so it’s important to have a mobilising force like MUST out there to ask the questions that need asking keep the important issues front and centre in the minds of matchgoing reds. After all, it was us who built this club, not Malcolm Glazer. He and his freakish offspring are merely custodians.

  9. Wakey says:

    @The Truth
    While most people have come to terms with the Red Knights being chancers very little of the mud stuck to MUST who were integral in the deal. They must have had talks with theRed Knights for the golden share to be agreed so would have had details and still backed it. If they didn’t then they are incompetent as who backs something without in depth talks or for that matter produces plenty of propaganda material for them. While I think MUST have lost some support it does seem most still seem to think they are the good guys which is disappointing.

    And actually the Glazers might have had to do something if MUST could have actually persuaded people to stop attending games and didn’t buy merchandise like both MUST and the RK’s proposed. The Glazers would have either taken the RK’s offer or just folded the club as their total personal,financial liability was relatively small (with the PIK in their name, their personal contribution to the takeover amount and the purchase of the initial 30% to trigger the takeover it was around £400mill of their own at stake with the bank on the hook for just under £600mill

  10. The Truth says:

    The Glazer takeover of United was certainly audacious. Say what you will about them but they certainly know how to get more bang for their buck. I think that’s an understatement!

  11. Wakey says:

    @King Cantona
    MUST played no part in them reducing the debt. Its standard practice to reduce debt levels and interest rates after a leveraged buyout. The original business plan even suggested that was the intention which was backed up by the refinancing they did before the Financial crisis hit. And as any of the long term RoM users will attest I predicted before and during the RK/G&G stuff that they would be reducing it, I believe I predicted a debt figure of around £200mill in 2017 which will be refinanced to even better rates and probably left like that for good (as debt in a business isn’t a bad thing as its usually cheaper than being debt free)

    And actually they have been the opposite of lucky. The financial crash was unexpected and set their plans back just as it being the cause for Liverpools issues. Certainly they weren’t getting the record low interest rates you suggest, Infact when the bank debt was refinanced into bonds the interest rate they had to offer was over 2% of what the initial documents suggested they were after.

    And I don’t have a problem with Supporters Trusts in theory BUT the problem is they often fall into the same trap that Trade Unions do. Rather than representing their members interests it becomes about protecting the leaders positions and the members then get used as chess pieces under the guise its for them. MUST are little more than an annoying fly that you get used to and ignore to the Glazers in reality as they simply don’t have an argument strong enough to get fans to go far enough to put the club at,risk with serious long term boycotts. What we need is a supporters trust who isn’t all about spin and character assassinations so that they have a chance of getting a seat at the table rather alienating them and making it impossible for the Glazers to communicate with them and other supporters groups even if they wanted to

  12. NBI Red Moyesy says:

    Hmmm, the press are shite. Hopefully whether Ronnie as signed can be cleared up soon, either way I don’t expect him to arrive this summer.

    @ Wakey – great analysis, you have an incredible knowledge of detail on these things, have to say I was a fan of the G&G, I do think it put a bit of pressure on them, but now that’s eased and SAF gone we will see what they are about. If we get to £200mn debt in 2017 that will be champagne all round 4sho. Hopefully it won’t come at the price of selling our soul to every tin pot business that comes calling. So far I think most fans have been won over as they have been non-interfering owners and backed SAF at least publicly, they have also cut hated debt, but now the stalwarts are gone we will see how it goes. They Club did seem to liaise more with Stretford end and fans re banners etc at OT in this end, so hopefully that’s a sign.

    Re Roo, that poster saying “Rooney – back” should have said “Rooney – shoulder”.

  13. NBI Red Moyesy says:

    It’s ramping up now how Rooney wants to go to Chelsea and walk in Drogba’s shoes, cheap scouse bastard can’t even buy his own shoes.

    Can’t see Maureen getting the better of Moyes in negotiations though, it’s too early to judge Moyes other than the fact he looks strikingly like Gollum, and if someone looks like Gollum, don’t fuk with his precious. After all all he sold us a 17 year old for £30mn. Sell Roo to the elder elves over the shores and make them pay the blood price, £50mn for Roo and not a penny less.

  14. NBI Red Moyesy says:

    Ando is giving Pea one hell of a chest/stomach/err bump in the picture, I hope this is not where Pea got his concussion.

  15. NBI Red Moyesy says:

    Searched everywhere, can’t find any report of the game against Real Betis saying Roo was injured. Only report I saw said score was 3-0 to United and Rooney played first half and did not score but Nani has apparently been in great form. Who is Real Betis? Is this a real team or another name for our under 14′s?

    Maybe Rooney just does not like Sweden. His hair is also not quite right yet and it’s hard to face the public like that. People need to be more sensitive to his feelings.

    4sho It will all be alright if he joins his best friend forever Ashley Cole (would take a bullet for him) and ofcourse CLL JT, wonder what the 3 of them would get up to, would they have anything in common…??? Books maybe.

    One thing 4sho, Roo’s team will be pleased with press coverage, it largely supports their case he never asked to leave and now with reports of senior players apparently annoyed with him he has more reason to say his position was untenable and claim constructive dismissal or some shite. His lawyers will have been sitting there pouring over every article and word to find a way to threaten United….

    It’s laughable you know, all this shit happened as the fat bastard was unfit and the so-called team player’s ego could not handle being substituted and benched. My my. Who would have thought. What choice do United have, keep an expensive unhappy player or sell to a rival?

    My preference if no bids come in for him from overseas, loan him to Stoke for a season. If Clubs pay his wage, no harm sending Roo on loan somewhere exotic, Wales maybe.

  16. King Cantona says:

    @ NBI – haha – LOL!!!!

    Yup, time for Rooney to go….like the loan idea, but doubt he would take a loan abroad. It might be a way to tempt an overseas team though.

    Rooney has been here 9 years. That’s about £3.1mn a year if you amortise his purchase price. Loan him for a year and flog him abroad in summer. Sounds like a plan. But this just looks like it’s going to get a whole lot uglier and fuk up and overshadow Rio’s testimonial and Moyes first competitive game and chance of silverwear. The amount of crap this is attracting, no way is it going to end nicely and this was the one summer we could do without this shit. No other player has ever caused so much problem. Ronnie asked to leave to an overseas, was persuaded to stay a year and left with SAF’s blessing. This is dragging and is an ugly press briefing game and a sale to a fuking rival, no way. What will happen is fan will hate the bastard coward swine’s guts.

  17. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Dan-young – bashing ronaldo? If you’ve been reading my comments, you’d notice that my stance is there’s no chance of signing him and apparently, he’s about to nail a new deal at madrid and as for kagawa, I have no.problem with him but I still find klopp dodgy and definitely,durong the difficult period for shinji, he’s hinted about returning there and fair enough but he’s only spent one season here, his mind-set should be entirely focused on united and improving, i’ve been an avid supporter of him and his talent but I also firmly call things as I see it and I don’t think shinji giving the likes of klopp hope is wise.

  18. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Don’t get why people get agitated about the money players earn. They’re fortunate to have the talent that is desperately needed in an industry that unimaginable wealth and they get paid well for what the industry issues, quit comparing yourselves to superstars and get over it.

  19. NBI Red Moyesy says:

    Funny that Chelsea put in a bid and our Wazza falls down injured. Did Chelsea’s bid injure Wayne? Is this kind of black magic within FFP?

  20. NBI Red Moyesy says:

    Peter Bolton has claimed that someone at United sent him a message saying Rooney had refused to travel to Sweden.

  21. NBI Red Moyesy says:

    Promo for Talksport Drivetime – Adrian Durham: “Manchester United are holding Wayne Rooney prisoner.”

  22. spidey says:

    As someone said earlier , maybe Rooney’s shoulder got injured writing the transfer request :P I hope the issue is resolved soon.. And hasn’t fellaini’s release clause date expired? Which will mean we may have to pay in excess of 23mn.. I am not sure about that.. Maybe we will have a quiet year or two but groom the youngsters and blood them in better than this weird transfer market strategies

  23. mjcRED says:

    On Rooney, decisive action is now surely required. Moyes needs to show some teeth and show the aforementioned number 10 the exit. How much longer can he be allowed to tarnish the club with his actions??!!

  24. OJM says:

    NBI Red Moyesy:

    – A £250,000 per week prisoner who signed a contractual agreement to work with the club for a set period of time. That’s the sort of prisoner I wouldn’t mind being… Fucking ginger prick is just fishing for bites. I hate Adrian pissing Durham.

    Regarding Rooney, I feel incredibly torn. On the one hand, this is the second time that he has massively disrespected the club in the space of two years. Nobody should be bigger than the club and an example needs to be made – we should give the Fat Scouse Bastard the heave-ho.

    On the other hand, nobody but Chelsea seems to be interested and they are already favourites for the title next year (in my opinion) and selling Rooney to them would improve them further. Anybody that suggests otherwise, is underestimating Rooney’s capabilities. I also feel that Rooney under Moyes could be fresh, rejuvenated and deadly. Something like the deadly player we have seen in the past. Thirdly, I think that if we did sell him (even if not to Chelsea), we wouldn’t have time to sign a decent replacement. Hell, we haven’t even signed the CMF player we have obviously needed for the last 5 seasons or so, so really can’t see us signing a Rooney replacement at such short notice.

  25. Mr C says:

    If it is decided to sell Rooney then just let him go and have done with it. Arguing about price is one thing, and I think Rooney’s high wages are a factor in the lack of interest generally and relatively low headline bid from Chelsea. The other way to look at it however is that it’s £200k+ week worth of wages freed up. I don’t really get ‘this not strengthening a rival argument’ Chelsea or not. It’s all too negative. Rather, we need to focus on our squad and how to strengthen it, not what others may or may not do with an ex-player of ours. As for Rooney himself, my view has always been that he should have been got rid of after the ‘ambition’ nonsense. Even so, I’m a bit disappointed to see the extent of the dissing being directed at the guy. For most part, like him or not, Rooney’s given great service on the field to the club, and IMHO sacrificed elements of his game in doing so. Do I rate him as highly as others do or as highly as he clearly rates himself? Hell no, albeit he had the ability to play shit and still score goals, at United at any rate. But we’ve had our money’s worth out of him so just let Rooney fuck off elsewhere.

  26. OJM says:

    NBI Red Moyesy:

    – You’ve never heard of Real Betis? Fuck me …

  27. markdegea says:

    Maybe NBI REd is only joking

  28. Red4ever says:

    This wayne rooney talk is full of shit im not going to waste my time commenting on it ,,,,,

    Im gonna be on vacations till the real thing begins can’t wait for the season to start

    Glory glory man united glory glory man united and the reds go marching on on on !!!!!!!

  29. ady_mufc says:

    OJM- exactly what I was thinking, you got there before me! Lol I was hoping he wasn’t being serious!

  30. markdegea says:

    If Rooney wants to leave then so be it. Sell him to any taker. I am fed up. Let’s strip him of that number already

  31. Proverb says:

    Just finished watching the clip of lads hammering at hands of bitters :( ! Gonna say, that was the worst display by far Although fletcher’s curler or boy!! Get well soon lad

  32. Wakey says:

    @NBI
    Thats because there were no reports of an injury. Infact all the reports I read said that Rooney played 45 minutes and came through unscathed (and I read he had scored in one reports). I’m almost certain the injury is just cover for either Moyes not wanting him around the players due to his negativity or that he refused to go

    @spidey
    Nope Fellanis clause expires on the 14th

  33. Proverb says:

    Funny ting is at 3-0
    After fletcher pulled one back lads didn’t even seem like getting a second which would have spiced up the game, given we were at home. To the contrary bitters weren’t done yet

  34. lawman10 says:

    the sooner that ungratefull scouse cunt rooney goes the better,
    sick to death of this will he, wont he………………..just fuck off,
    its time manchester united grab the headlines not rooney.

  35. United till I die says:

    I’ve said all summer not to believe the shit that’s printed by these cunts from the papers but its time fir Rooney to publicly state his intentions. If he wants to move on then fine but if he wants to stay he needs to make that clear immediately.

  36. Cyrus says:

    Sell Rooney and buy Darren Bent :p
    Sell Rooney and buy Peter crouch
    Sell Rooney and buy Robbie savage

  37. NBI Red Moyesy says:

    @ cyrus – a certain some one from the break off site is back, guess your new site isn’t working out for you.

  38. JC says:

    @Onion – /facepalm the name was CYRIL not CYRUS… ye gads man.

  39. ManChestHairUnited says:

    Go away ando. It’s time to move on. Go to russia

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