Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho faces his old team Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday April 16 as his replacement at Stamford Bridge Antonio Conte closes in on lifting the Premier League title trophy.
And woe betide the PRESS – if the former ‘Special One’ loses the match!
Mourinho is noted for making numerous excuses when he loses, hardly sporting, from someone within sport. And the former Barcelona boss Mourinho isn’t on his own!
Having reported in sport for 40 years I have been on the end of a few spats with many a manager and player!
Former England, Liverpool and Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan spat his ‘dummy out of the pram’ at me, for asking reasonable questions in a Press Conference when in charge at Manchester City, after a game against Preston North End in 2002.
Keegan – like Mourinho – is well known for his rants, recalling when at Newcastle in his famous ‘I will love it’ blast 21 years ago, when Newcastle beat Leeds to close the gap to three points of leaders Manchester United – with a game in hand and two to play.
The then United boss Sir Alex Ferguson had quipped Nottingham Forest might not try as hard against Keegan’s Newcastle – as they did against United.
Newcastle were playing Forest, three days after United had hammered them 5-0.
After Newcastle defeated Leeds, Keegan raged: “I’ve kept really quiet, but I’ll tell you something, he (Fergie) went down in my estimations when he said that. We have not resorted to that.
“You can tell him now, we’re still fighting for this title and he’s got to go to Middlesbrough and get something – and I’ll tell you, honestly, I will love it if we beat them. Love it.
“It really has got to me. I’ve voiced it live, not in front of the press or anywhere. I’m not even going to the press conference but the battle is still on and Man United have not won this yet.”
For the record Newcastle drew 1-1 with Forest, and drew in their next game against Spurs. United defeated Middlesbrough 3-0 – winning the title by four points – after Newcastle had led by 12 points at one stage.
Under pressure Sunderland boss David Moyes made an apology – after he suggested BBC reporter Vicki Sparks ‘might get a slap’ – for an off-air comment in March, following Sunderland’s 0-0 draw against Burnley.
Moyes said: “It was getting a wee bit naughty at the end there so just watch yourself. You still might get a slap even though you’re a woman. Careful the next time you come in.”
What was Vicki Sparks ‘crime’? She sked Moyes whether he was under more pressure (with relegation this season) as Sunderland chairman Ellis Short was at the game.
A BBC spokeswoman said of the incident: “Mr Moyes has apologised to our reporter and she has accepted his apology.”
She was lucky! I have been on the end of some terrible unsporting words by managers and players alike – who were proven wrong in their actions – but never apologised thereafter.
One player phoned me up – ‘effin and jeffin’ – after I had filed a report to the Scottish papers. He was angry – saying it was only meant for the English press! I ask you!
And I was ‘banned’ from attending Press Conferences and reporting on games by one club – following an article about a player that they were interested in signing.
And it’s not just reporters that can get the ‘hairdrier’ (Fergie) treatment – players too from certain clubs can be hit with fines – if they speak to the Media, without the managers, or clubs permission!
I can tell you, at times, it’s like being in Infant School. Honestly!
Away from the childish antics of some managers I recall when former Preston North End and Scotland national manager Craig Brown – who remains a good friend of mine – gave me an Exclusive interview.
Craig had stated that The Auld Enemy phrase was ‘make believe’. It wasn’t really like that between England and Scotland!
It hit the headlines in the Daily Record – with the banner headline: ‘Broown The Bend!’. It also hit the front and inside pages of the paper, with Politicians, et al, all getting involved in the story.
I’ve had many a manager phone me up – including former England boss Sir Bobby Robson – who obliged, having asked him for some quotes on Preston and England legend Sir Tom Finney.
And Sir Tom himself was always a gentleman towards me – including the Foreword he wrote in my book: “David Beckham-In at The Deep End”.
Mourinho’s handling of Chelsea’s former physio Eva Carneiro in the 2015-16 season, when he was unhappy with how she ran onto the pitch during Chelsea’s game against Swansea – to tend to an injured Eden Hazard – ended in a court case.
The ‘Special One’ Mourinho – Chelsea’s most successful manager – was sacked for the second time at Stamford Bridge in December 2015.
Who’d be a manager? That said: Who’d be a journalist?!