IT is not often you hear of a scientific survey declaring that footballers are brainy.
I have defended, both publicly and privately, footballers’ intelligence for a more than 25 years. To me, footballers are no more or less intelligent than any other random sample of young males.
These days, of course, footballers are much more practised when it comes to being interviewed. They are given media training by their clubs, and have the opportunity to continue their academic studies whilst developing their footballing careers.
Nobody, for example, could argue that the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey or other young stars are any less eloquent, educated and thoughtful than equivalents from other walks of life.
Thankfully, then, this survey was a filip to footballers. Although I fear the test may have been fundamentally flawed.
The tests were designed to judge on mental agility, speed of thought and visual problem solving. These are, of course, fundamental skills needed to be a top footballer, and so it was no surprise to see the professionals score highly.
It was a bit like discovering that the best racehorses are genetically predisposed to running quickly. Hardly a Eureka moment.
Nonetheless, the tabloid media, of course, revelled in printing a list of the best footballing verbal gaffes; the likes of “we didn’t underestimate them, they were better than we thought” by Sir Bobby Robson and “my parents have been there for me, ever since I was about seven,” by David Beckham.
I have argued long and hard that footballers are not stupid, but it is hard to deny that they can say some stupid things sometimes.