Beware when bosses bite back

The great Brian Clough
The great Brian Clough
Mutiny Festival 2017 Picture: Paul Windsor

Keep children safe – but beware the nanny state

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I will let you into a secret. Most TV broadcasters hate having to interview managers minutes after the final whistle.

Losing bosses are usually in an awful mood and likely to bite your head off.

Winners look smug and tend to sink into clichés about the result ‘being a launch pad for our season’.

But there has been many a memorable tale from the tunnel like the one involving Liverpool’s Kenny Dalglish on Saturday.

BBC reporter, talking about Luis Suarez’s goal: ‘You’d have been proud to score that one yourself, Kenny.’

Dalglish: ‘Aye, I would... at my age.’

Remember when Jose Mourinho, serving a European ban, was alleged to have been smuggled into Stamford Bridge in a laundry basket?

In the tunnel at the next Chelsea game, Mourinho pulled a hood over the head of dumbfounded commentator Rob Hawthorne, saying: ‘Is this what I did? Was I in disguise like this? Ask your friends at Sky.’

Sir Alex Ferguson has clashed with nearly every broadcaster out there, including Alan Green and John Motson.

He once grabbed a Manchester radio man by the scruff of the neck and pinned him against the wall until the guy told him: ‘Don’t ever try that again, Alex.’

Ferguson recently accused the lovely Kelly Cates – daughter of Kenny Dalglish – of ‘asking silly questions’ on the sensitive subject of his goalkeepers.

On another occasion, he was trying to compare Cristiano Ronaldo to a Grand Prix car and asked his questioner what car he drove.

‘I don’t drive,’ said the young TV man.

‘Och, where have you been all your life, son?’ snapped Fergie.

The late Brian Clough once refused an interview with me after a Forest win, saying: ‘We are in a rush to get some fish and chips on the way home, young man, but I will talk next time.’

The following week I reminded him of his promise: ‘Brian, you remember you said you would do an interview?’

‘Did I? Well I am a bloody liar then, aren’t I?’, he said.

Gordon Strachan could be very prickly. Last season, a Radio Five Live man asked him to explain why his Middlesbrough team had lost.

‘You tell me,’ said Strachan, ‘you are a football reporter. You guys know it all. So you explain it.’

After a Southampton defeat, I started my interview unwisely by reminding then-manager Lawrie McMenemy that it was now seven games without a win.

‘Yeah, well, nobody knew that ’til you just told them on the radio and now everyone thinks we’re rubbish. Thanks,’ said Lawrie.

Funnier was current Saints boss Nigel Adkins in his Scunthorpe days.

I asked him how his team would approach a play-off final against Millwall at Wembley.

Adkins said: ‘We will shock them, like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. It will be ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’ like the movie, all over again.’

Then he stopped and said: ‘Oh, blimey, scrub that. I just realised... Japan lost in the end, didn’t they?’

The likeable TV man Gary Newbon had a love-hate relationship with players and fans in the Midlands.

Clough once told him: ‘The trouble with football is there’s too many commentators around – and by the way, you’re one of them.’

A disgruntled player told Newbon on air: ‘I have named my son after you.’

‘What, Gary?’, smiled a delighted Newbon. ‘No, Wally,’ came the withering reply.

These days, I have worked out a good approach to post-match interviews.

Let someone else do them.