Geoff Shreeves recalls Sir Alex Ferguson’s X-rated tirade after Ronaldo dip question… and almost blinding Man Utd legend

SKY SPORTS coverage has put the Premier League in orbit for the past 30 years – and nobody has been closer to the action than the channel’s chief football interviewer GEOFF SHREEVES.

In his new book Cheers, Geoff! In Tales from the Touchline he reveals some of the mysteries of the Holy of Holies, beginning with the greatest beast of them all, Sir Alex Ferguson – the man he nearly blinded.

Sir Alex Ferguson was furious with Geoff Shreeves when the Sky Sports icon tried to pressure then-whiz kid Cristiano Ronaldo in an interview

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Sir Alex Ferguson was furious with Geoff Shreeves when the Sky Sports icon tried to pressure then-whiz kid Cristiano Ronaldo in an interviewPhoto credit: Getty
Interviewer Geoff Shreeves, seen with Man Utd legend-turned-pundit Gary Neville, has revealed run-ins with ex-Old Trafford manager Alex Ferguson

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Interviewer Geoff Shreeves, seen with Man Utd legend-turned-pundit Gary Neville, has revealed run-ins with ex-Old Trafford manager Alex FergusonCredit: PA:Empics Sport

I WRESTLE with this champagne magnum emblazoned with “Champions”.

Three seconds before we go live, the cork flies straight at Fergie like an Exocet rocket, missing his right eye by millimeters.

The first words our studio and audience hear are, “Christ, Geoff, you could have plucked my eye out!”

Fergie was certainly no stranger to whispering in my ear and telling me to ask about a specific player or situation that he wanted to highlight.

He loved the cut and jab and used interviews to send a message to his players, the fans or even the Manchester United board.

But he also stood up for his players, as I found out after an FA Cup win against Middlesbrough when Cristiano Ronaldo took a penalty.

I asked Cristiano if he was slightly down. Ronaldo is pretty noncommittal but says it was a penalty.

I certainly wasn’t aware of the impending explosion.

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Sir Alex comes out of the dressing room and struts straight at me.

“You and your fucking questions, you’re fucking out of order,” he growled.

“The boy hardly speaks English, you’re bloody out of order,” plus even more colorful language.

“Don’t talk to me like that,” I replied. “I’m not one of your stupid young players.”

This turned the red Ferguson Nebula deep red.

He physically lunged at me, only United communications chief Di Law jumped between us, preventing a full confrontation.

“Don’t even think about it,” I said to Fergie, which was immediately met with a “fuck off, you’re banned” as he was rushed away from the crime scene.

I thought I did a good job but as soon as I got home I put the tape on.

Then I saw that I was wrong. It was persistent, pushing its way inside him, demanding to know if he was a cheater.

I emailed Fergie and admitted I was wrong. No Answer.

Fergie managed Cristiano Ronaldo from 2003 to 2009 during his 27 years in office

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Fergie managed Cristiano Ronaldo from 2003 to 2009 during his 27 years in officePhoto credit: Getty

Our next game was a Champions League game against United in Rome.

He appeared out of nowhere in the tunnel and said, “Right, are you ready for the interview?”

I replied, “Look, I meant what I said in my email.”

He said, “Listen, you don’t need to say anything else, you apologized. It will never be spoken of again.”

People might think I sold myself short, but my job was to work with Fergie, not against him.

Funnily enough, Cristiano was the focus of another of my Fergie showdowns.

United were in Lisbon for a Champions League game against Sporting. Ronaldo is the obvious interview.

Halfway I hear a noise behind me. I see Ronaldo’s body tense and his demeanor visibly change. That can only mean one thing – Sir Alex.

I can feel him on my shoulder. I rattle through a few questions and finish earlier than planned.

However, that’s not good enough for Fergie. “Damn joke, what kind of damn documentary is this? You get the shit,” he hissed. “Too many damn questions.”

Fergie couldn’t really apologize but tried his best to make up for his mistake.

The next day I was on the sidelines. Fergie slowly walks over to me and says, “Do you want the team?” Of course I do.

He hands it to me, then Di Law comes in with a huge grin on his face.

“Did he give you the team?” she asked. “He forgot to change his watch when you did the Cristiano interview; He was convinced that you would make him late for training.

Fergie couldn’t really apologize but tried his best to make up for his mistake.

And even on his last day at United in 2013, Fergie had to have the last word.

I entered the lap of honor and chatted with the players.

Suddenly I am catapulted forward and almost knocked off my feet.

I regain my composure and balance, look around and there’s Sir Alex cackling, has rammed a shoulder in my back and is trying to knock me over, still a 70 year old schoolboy who loves football.

  • Cheers, Geoff!: Tales from the Touchline by Geoff Shreeves will be published by Macmillan in hardcover on 13th October, priced at £22. Available HERE on Amazon in all formats

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6266267/geoff-shreeves-man-utd-cristiano-ronaldo-alex-ferguson-book/ Geoff Shreeves recalls Sir Alex Ferguson’s X-rated tirade after Ronaldo dip question… and almost blinding Man Utd legend

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