WHEN PRESSERS GO WRONG

Blow­ing your top in front of the gath­ered press might not seem like the best idea, though that hasn't stopped many, many man­agers (and own­ers) from do­ing it...

FourFourTwo - - PRESS CONFERENCES -

the wild-eyed boss an­nounced: “I don’t pick the gen­eral’s gov­ern­ment min­is­ters, and so he doesn’t pick my for­ward line.” The com­bustible Sal­danha was fired shortly af­ter­wards, and new coach Mario Za­gallo didn’t need much con­vinc­ing to in­clude Dario (who was benched the the whole time) in ‘his’ fi­nal 22. Not that it mat­tered much any­way.

Ar­guably, the most shock­ing press con­fer­ence took place in Jan­uary 1995, when a tear­ful Paul Mer­son con­fessed to his al­co­hol, gam­bling and co­caine ad­dic­tions. The in­fa­mous rev­e­la­tion was the first ev­i­dence in the Pre­mier League era that mas­sively-monied foot­ball stars were strug­gling to keep their per­sonal lives in or­der away from the pitch.

The el­e­ment of sur­prise is of­ten es­sen­tial to a mem­o­rable presser. Manch­ester United for­ward Eric Can­tona later re­vealed that mid­way through his fa­mous “seagulls” and “trawlers” speech to an ex­pec­tant room of re­porters at Croy­don’s Jury’s Inn Ho­tel – in the af­ter­math of his kung-fu kick on Crys­tal Palace fan Matthew Sim­monds in Fe­bru­ary 1995 – he had a brief sip of wa­ter not to help lu­bri­cate his throat, but to stop him­self from laugh­ing.

Th­ese days, ma­jor sign­ings are an­nounced di­rectly to fans via so­cial me­dia, so by the time new ar­rivals are in­tro­duced to the press there is very lit­tle scope for sur­prise – but that hasn’t al­ways been the case. There were au­di­ble gasps of shock from those present when, dur­ing a spe­cially con­vened con­fer­ence in 1980, two-time Bal­lon d’or win­ner Kevin Kee­gan was re­vealed as the new Southamp­ton re­cruit. A clutch of Lon­don-based jour­nal­ists were left kick­ing them­selves in June 2001 af­ter de­cid­ing that they’d all dodge the (ap­par­ently) low-key ar­rival of Ip­swich goal­keeper Richard Wright at Ar­se­nal’s train­ing ground, when none other than Tot­ten­ham skip­per Sol Camp­bell emerged from be­hind a cur­tain to be un­veiled as Arsene Wenger’s lat­est sign­ing. A bunch of news­pa­per ed­i­tors lam­basted their men for miss­ing out on one of the decade’s great­est trans­fer scoops.

For pure may­hem though, Pele’s ar­rival as a New York Cos­mos player in June 1975 takes some beat­ing. Out­side New York’s fa­mous 21 Club, 51st and 52nd Street, plus Fifth Av­enue, were scenes of com­plete pan­de­mo­nium. The Samba star him­self was two hours late as he could not get through the crowds, and two ri­val pho­tog­ra­phers had a fist fight as they bat­tled to get a pic­ture of the Brazil­ian in the fa­mous Hunt Room – buf­falo skulls and all - smash­ing up a glass ta­ble as they scrapped. “Ab­so­lute chaos – more pho­tog­ra­phers than I’d ever seen in my life,” said Cos­mos gen­eral man­ager Clive Toye. “The most bizarre thing ever.”

VITOR GETS VI­CIOUS

Things were go­ing swim­mingly for Vitor Pereira at Saudi side Al-ahli, un­til the for­mer Porto man­ager de­cided to crit­i­cise one of his play­ers in front of jour­nal­ists. It prompted a swift on-mic in­ter­jec­tion from the club’s press of­fi­cer, in­sist­ing he shouldn’t crit­i­cise in­di­vid­u­als in pub­lic. But Pereira then lost it. “It’s the first time in my life some­one has told me what I can say,” he cried, be­fore storm­ing out of the press room.

THE RE­TURN OF J‘F’K

Sub­tle may not be a word that fea­tures very highly in Joe Kin­n­ear’s vo­cab­u­lary – but c*** ev­i­dently is. The ex-wim­ble­don and Lu­ton boss sin­gled out Daily Mir­ror writer Si­mon Bird for some very choice words in his open­ing presser fol­low­ing his sur­prise ap­point­ment at New­cas­tle United in 2008. “Which one of you is Si­mon Bird? You’re a c***,” Kin­n­ear said bluntly, be­fore em­bark­ing on a 10-minute ex­ple­tive-rid­dled tirade at a host of shocked jour­nal­ists. No prizes for guess­ing what the ‘F’ stands for…

GOD FORGIVES, JE­SUS DOES NOT

Atletico Madrid’s portly for­mer pres­i­dent Je­sus Gil tested his new pace­maker by go­ing to watch the Ro­ji­blan­cos’ 4-3 loss to Vil­lar­real back in 2003. He wasn’t im­pressed with what he wit­nessed. “There are too many bloody pas­sen­gers,” Atleti’s head hon­cho later raged about the squad. “Lluis Car­reras, Santi and Jorge Otero are not good enough. I feel like not pay­ing them and any­one who does not like it can die!”

THERE WERE AU­DI­BLE GASPS In THE ROOM WHEN KEE­GAN WAS UN­VEILED BY SAINTS

TRAP BLOWS HIS TOP

Gio­vanni Tra­p­at­toni blasted his Bay­ern Mu­nich play­ers over a lack of com­mit­ment in a bizarre rant in his own unique ver­sion of Ger­man in 1998. “In this game, it was two, three or four play­ers who were weak like an empty bot­tle,” bel­lowed the Ital­ian fol­low­ing a 1-0 de­feat to Schalke. He then stormed out and re­signed only three weeks later.

“I’LL CALL YOU BACK…”

Roy Keane isn’t a par­tic­u­larly happy man at the best of times. So it wasn’t a huge sur­prise when he took um­brage to a jour­nal­ist let­ting his mo­bile phone ring not once, but twice dur­ing a press con­fer­ence while he was the man­ager of Ip­swich in 2009. “Why don’t you turn it off?” snarled the happy-go-lucky Ir­ish­man. Had it rung once more, we sus­pect the re­porter would’ve needed the hands-free func­tion.

FROM FERGIE WITH LOVE

An­gered by re­ports in the Span­ish press that Real Madrid were set to sign Cris­tiano Ron­aldo, Alex Fer­gu­son re­sponded with a firm de­nial. “Je­sus Christ, I wouldn’t sell that mob a virus,” the Scot snarled. He never did agree to the sale of a lethal strain of in­fluenza, although Ron­aldo ended up at the San­ti­ago Bern­abeu the fol­low­ing sum­mer.

FACTS OF LIFE (AND DEATH)

Liver­pool were seven points clear of Manch­ester United at the top of the Pre­mier League in Jan­uary 2009 when Rafa Ben­itez fell vic­tim to Fergie’s mind games. Re­act­ing to the sug­ges­tion the Reds’ had a more favourable run of fix­tures, the Span­ish gaffer pulled out a piece of paper and be­gan to read a list of “facts” about the Scot’s con­duct. United went on to se­cure the ti­tle by four points from the Reds, and years later Fergie claimed his ri­val’s tirade ‘killed’ the Liver­pool boss.

EN­TER HEAD IN THE SAND MAN

In 2015, Le­ices­ter gaffer Nigel Pear­son called jour­nal­ist Ian Baker an “os­trich” for ques­tion­ing him af­ter he said his team had been un­fairly crit­i­cised. When pressed on his choice of flight­less bird, Pear­son ex­plained the re­porter had his head in the sand (which, to be fair, makes sense), be­fore call­ing him “daft” and “stupid”.

Left Kin­n­ear let rip at a crit­i­cal journo in his first presser as New­cas­tle boss

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