Geoff Shreeves has recalled altercations with some of the top Premier League managers on duty as a Sky Sports reporter.
Writing in his upcoming book ‘Cheers, Geoff! Tales from the Touchline’, Shreeves explained what caused former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger to want to hit him and how a question he asked Cristiano Ronaldo led Sir Alex Ferguson to launch himself at the reporter.
Shreeves was tasked with asking Wenger the questions after Arsenal’s 8-2 defeat to United in 2011 and held no punches.
“I first interviewed Arsene Wenger when he joined Arsenal in 1996. We’d speak 30 times a season, over the 21 years he was in charge,” Shreeves said. “I know what makes him tick, he knows how I work but there are still moments when the relationship spills over into antagonism.
“After Arsenal had been beaten 8-2 by Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2011, there was no room for soft-soap questions — Wenger had to face an inquisition. I asked if he would resign and if he thought the board would back him. Brutal questions.
“I could see the anger building in his eyes and afterwards Arsenal’s head of media, Mark Gonnella said: ‘The boss has just told me he wanted to hit you during that interview, he was so angry.’
“Years later, Arsene told me: ‘Geoff, I wanted to hit you that day, it’s true. But you were not the only one — there were many others.’”
Shreeves also felt the wrath of Ferguson after an FA Cup clash with Middlesbrough.
Shreeves explained: “He [Ferguson] stood up for his players, as I discovered after an FA Cup win over Middlesbrough when Cristiano Ronaldo went tumbling to win a penalty. I asked Cristiano whether he went down easily. Ronaldo is pretty non-committal but says it was a penalty. I certainly wasn’t aware of the impending explosion.
“Sir Alex comes out of the dressing room and stalks straight towards me. ‘You and your f***ing questions, you’re f***ing out of order,’ he snarled. ‘The boy hardly speaks English, you’re f***ing bang out of order’, plus even more colourful language. ‘Don’t talk to me like that,’ I replied. ‘I’m not one of your daft, young players’.”
“That saw the Ferguson red mist turn deep crimson. He launched himself at me physically, with only United’s head of communications, Di Law, who jumped between us, preventing a full confrontation.”