Sky Sports presenter Geoff Shreeves has revealed Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘explosion’ after an FA Cup game against Middlesbrough.
The former Manchester United boss called Shreeves ‘out of order’ after the presenter questioned if Cristiano Ronaldo dived to win a penalty during the game.
Recounting the episode in his new book, Cheers, Geoff! Tales from the Touchline, which has been serialised by the Sun, Shreeves has revealed how his hard-hitting questions got under the skin of Ferguson.
Shreeves has struck up a rapport with the biggest names in the game having carved out a career as Sky Sports’ Chief Touchline Reporter.
He joined the broadcaster in 1991 and has gone on to become the most recognisable voice and face of coverage and post-match interviews.
‘Fergie was certainly no stranger to whispering in my ear, telling me to ask about a certain player or situation he wanted to highlight,’ Shreeves wrote.
‘He loved the cut and thrust and used interviews for a message to his players, the fans or even the Manchester United board.
‘But he also 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.’
‘I thought I’d done a decent job but as soon as I got home, I stuck the tape on. Then I saw I had got it wrong. It was heavy-handed, piling into him, demanding to know if he was a cheat. I wrote Fergie an email, admitting I’d got it wrong. No response.’
Shreeves also told a story of how he nearly blinded the legendary Scottish manager.
‘I’m wrestling with this magnum of bubbly, with “Champions” emblazoned on it,’ Shreeves said.
‘Three seconds before we go live, the cork flies out like an Exocet missile straight at Fergie, missing his right eye by millimetres.
‘The first words our studio and audience hear is, “Christ, Geoff, you could have taken my eye out!”
Shreeves goes on to detail further encounters with the legendary coach, who he describes as ‘a 70-year-old schoolkid in love with football’.
Ferguson retired from management in 2013 after spending 26 years with Manchester United.
Under his management the Red Devils won 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, and two UEFA Champions League titles.