Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 July 2015

The ten best sports press conferences

By Simon Rice

Published 20/02/2010 | 00:01

<b>David Beckham</b><br/> 
Following the 2006 World Cup - and yet another missed opportunity by England to lift the greatest trophy of them all - David Beckham announced he would be stepping down as captain. Unfurling a piece of paper to make his statement, Beckham struggled to get his words out as he described the hurt the players were feeling at being knocked out of the tournament. "I have lived the dream, I'm extremely proud to have worn the armband," he said. Then, as Beckham walked away, the normally baying press broke out in an impromptu round of applause.
David Beckham
Following the 2006 World Cup - and yet another missed opportunity by England to lift the greatest trophy of them all - David Beckham announced he would be stepping down as captain. Unfurling a piece of paper to make his statement, Beckham struggled to get his words out as he described the hurt the players were feeling at being knocked out of the tournament. "I have lived the dream, I'm extremely proud to have worn the armband," he said. Then, as Beckham walked away, the normally baying press broke out in an impromptu round of applause.
Mike Tyson v Lennox Lewis
Mike Tyson has been in numerous highly charged press conferences, one interview in which he said he would "eat" Lennox Lewis' children was particularly note worthy. But it was the time he came face to face with Lewis to promote their fight that makes it into this countdown. With the two fighters standing opposite one another on stage, Tyson began to walk towards his opponent, apparently looking to engage with the British boxer. A melee ensued and bodyguards dived in. The two boxers rolled away behind a curtain, but not before Tyson bit Lewis on the leg.
Rafael Benitez
Whether Benitez was trying to be humorous or clever is unclear, but the reaction to his 'facts' press conference was one of general perplexity. During a routine pre-match chat with the media, Benitez entered the room and proceeded to unfurl a piece of paper. On that paper were a few 'facts' that he had prepared - generally on the subject of Sir Alex Ferguson. Many of these facts were later shown to be less certain than the Liverpool manager believed - and the overriding result of the conference was to make Benitez look a little foolish.
Michael Vaughan
When England's most successful captain of all time announced that he was stepping down as England skipper, it was an emotional affair. Bringing an end to his five year reign, which had included regaining the Ashes after an 18-year wait, Vaughan was visibly upset. "I gave it all I could give. I wish I could have had one more stab at Australia but I've had five unbelievable years, played in some exciting games and unbelievable series." said the tearful batsman.
Eric Cantona
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown in to the sea." These were the words of Eric Cantona in a somewhat more cryptic press conference than average. The Frenchman was speaking in relation to the media's fascination in his behaviour following his 'kung-fu' kick on a Crystal Palace supporter. The poetic turn of phrase only added to the now mythical status of the Manchester United legend.
Brett Favre
Brett Favre is widely considered one of the greatest quarter-backs of all time, so when he announced his retirement in 2008 it was something of a big deal. The Mississippi born player openly wept as he explained: "I know I can play, but I don't think I want to. And that's really what it comes down to." With football fans believing they had seen the last of Favre, the word 'think' that he used in his statement should have been a clue that maybe not all was what it seemed. Just a few months later, Favre signed up with the New York Jets and is still going, now at the Minnesota Vikings.
Alex Ferguson
The Manchester United manager's press conferences always have the capacity to surprise. Ferguson's standing in the game means he can do, or say, almost whatever he likes - and journalists tend to think twice before challenging him. Yet last year, before a clash with CSKA Moscow, one journalist decided to ask him about his improper conduct charge in relation to the referee Alan Wiley. Fergie was not amused. He rose to his feet and left the conference room after saying: "Silly question and it gets no answer. I've nothing to say about it. I'm at a press conference for a game tomorrow. I'm here to talk about that. Goodnight."
Kevin Keegan
In 1980, Southampton manager Lawrie McMenemy called a press conference to announce the arrival of a new player. But when European Footballer of the Year Kevin Keegan strolled out - the room was left stunned. Southampton were a relatively small club and were only just beginning to establish themselves in the top division. That they had signed a player of Keegan's stature was one of the greatest scalps of all time and a surprise to the whole world of football.
Anna Kournikova
Tennis star and model Anna Kournikova didn't take too kindly to questions put to her in 2002 after she had been knocked out of Wimbledon. When asked if her confidence was low she stood up, disappeared from view, and asked if the interview could be restarted. She decided to carry on and said: "You're asking a question and then you're saying my confidence is low so you're answering it. Who are you to say my confidence is low?" In the brief but tense exchange that followed, Kournikova insisted that her off-court commitments were not affecting her form. "No, I don't think it detracts from my tennis," she said.
Jose Mourinho
When Mourinho arrived in England as manager of Chelsea, the public weren't quite sure what to expect. This guy had won the Champions League, he had celebrated ecstatically on the Old Trafford touchline when his team shocked Manchester United and the word was that he was something of a character. And in his first press conference he didn't disappoint as he announced: "Please don't call me arrogant, but I'm European champion and I think I'm a special one." The name stuck - and after leading Chelsea to their first title in 50 years - there might even be some truth in there as well.

After Tiger Woods' effort we take a look other highly charged press conferences in sport.

>> Click on the image to launch our gallery

Leave your comments and suggestions below

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph