by Noel Draper
If you are a social person then you couldn’t help but notice the mass of mainly rude comments aimed at one Geoff Shreeves for the lovely bed side manner he showed during his post match interview with Chelsea player Branislav Ivanovic after Tuesday’s Champions League game. For the sake of the non social persons amongst you – hello Brian – this is what the master interviewer and altogether rounded person said after finishing his little chat with Ashley Cole and moving onto Branislav.
“Were you booked after the penalty?” A simple question but one that makes you feel that dear old Geoff was leading Ivanovic into some sort of set up. On national television. The Chelsea defender glanced downwards and said, “Yes I was booked”. It was here that the wobbly microphone holder tried to deliver a killer blow. “You know that means you are out of the final now?” he shouted with glee.
After some stunned mutterings from an obviously shocked and slightly not understanding player, Shreeves, clearly not happy with the response, produced a slightly differently worded killer blow. “Unfortunately that means you don’t play in the final” he shouted again.
I then imagine Geoff to be giving a mental high five to all of the Sky staff as a clearly stunned Ivanovic looks around for help like a Serbian Meerkat. No help is coming, of course, as Ashley “intelligence? I had one of them yesterday” Cole is standing next to him. Shreeves then carried on with a normal interview beginning with the question “what was it like for you tonight?” as though the last twenty seconds hadn’t happened. The footballing world watched all this aghast and slightly disbelieving.
Obviously a master at work, but is he alone? Well no, no he isn’t, as a certain Mr Andy Burton will now prove to you all. While interviewing Carlos Tevez after his hat-trick had helped Manchester City beat Norwich 6-1 recently, Andy had the opportunity to ask any question he liked. This is obviously the same Carlos Tevez who had caused so much controversy by refusing to warm up in a Champions League game. The same player who Mancini said would never play for City again. So, what question do you think dear old Andy asked? Yup, that’s right. “Did you dive”. Is it any wonder that Carlos looked at him, picked up his champagne and walked off?
The trouble is that without the quite brilliant questions posed by Messrs Shreeves and Burton then a standard footballer interview is completely boring and follows the same formulaic pattern. If a player scores a goal the question will be, “was it nice to score again?” If he scores and the team wins then after the “how does it feel to get the win?” has been asked the player will respond with “It was great to score a goal but as long as we win that’s the main thing”. In other words, the same old usual drivel.
As much as Twitter, and to a lesser extent Facebook, exploded with indignation at Mr Shreeves and his complete lack of feeling on Tuesday night I would rather have these sort of interviews that provoke argument and talking points rather than the standard interview questions I have mentioned above. It makes the game of football a far more enjoyable experience and that, after all, is what we the supporters want. Isn’t it?