In his book, Geoff Shreeves revealed one of the craziest moments of his broadcasting career: The time Sir Alex Ferguson went after him for asking a then young Cristiano Ronaldo about his diving habits.
‘Cheers, Geoff! Tales from the Touchline’ is Shreeves pulling back the curtain on what it’s like to be at the pinnacle of sports broadcasting.
The renowned interviewer had a great relationship with many of football’s biggest stars, none of which were bigger than the great man himself, Manchester United icon Ferguson.
Shreeves talks of the time he nearly blinded Ferguson with a champagne cork. As well as how the Scot would frequently whisper topics he’d like to be asked about in his ear prior to an interview commencing.
But the most shocking moment of all came when Shreeves decided to ask Ronaldo whether he went down to easily in the box one game.
The youngster apparently didn’t seem too bothered to Shreeves, who simply said it was a penalty.
But the interviewer was unaware of the impending storm brewing in the United locker room.
‘You and your f***ing questions, you’re f***ing out of order,’ Ferguson snarled as he rampaged towards Shreeves, per The Sun.
‘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,’ Shreeves replied. ‘I’m not one of your daft, young players.’
That sent Ferguson over the edge. The boss launched himself at Shreeves with United’s Head of Communications the only thing stopping a full body assault.
‘F*** off, you’re barred,’ Ferguson shouted as he was hurried away from the scene.
Shreeves didn’t believe he had done anything wrong. However, having watched the footage back, he actually realised that he’d been far too heavy-handed with Ronaldo.
He wrote Ferguson an email, admitting his wrongdoings and apologising. He got no response.
Shreeves’ next match with United was a Champions League game in Rome.
Fergie saw him in the tunnel, walked straight up to him and said:
‘Right, you ready for that interview?’
‘Look, I meant what I said in my email.’ Shreeves replied.
He said: ‘Listen, you don’t need to say anything else, you apologised. It will never be spoken of again.’
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What a story. What a manager. What a class act.
Part of what made the United legend so great was his ability to protect his players and work out what they needed and when they needed it.
And in this case, he did everything he could to protect and nurture Ronaldo in the best way possible.
You can bet Shreeves thought twice before asking that kind of question again.