May 13, 2021

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Iconic Moments in Football No.81


Post-match interviews with managers can be great viewing. The result is a significant factor in how the interview pans out. The most entertaining interviews for me have to be when they are angry after a defeat.

Everyone remembers Kevin Keegan’s “I would love it!” interview after his Newcastle United side drew away to Nottingham Forest in their penultimate league match in 1996. Keegan had been wound up by comments that Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson had made an chose the post-match interview with Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys to vent his spleen. It made for excellent television.

In the same year, Keys had interviewed another Premier League manager and again he managed to get a similar reaction. This time it was Coventry City’s Ron Atkinson who would get incensed in front of the cameras.

City had lost 1-0 at Southampton in a game covered live on Sky Sports. The victory put Southampton above Coventry in the league table, sending Atkinson’s men into the bottom three and with seven games remaining.
Ron Atkinson stepped into a small room in the recesses of The Dell, Southampton’s former home, for a post-match interview. He was given oversized headphones and a microphone and was plugged in ready to speak to Richard Keys and Andy Gray, who were sat safely near London.

Keys himself was an avid Coventry fan and with only one victory in the past eleven league games, he was keen to probe the manager of his club for answers.

Atkinson held his own and was quick to defend his players. At one point, he remembered that the opposing goalkeeper (Dave Beasant) had been awarded the man of the match. This gave a clear indication that Coventry had created several chances over the course of the game and at least put up a good fight.

After the interview had finished, Atkinson threw his headphones in anger. They flew off camera and hit a member of the Sky Sports team! That must really have hurt as they looked quite heavy!

Coventry went on to win three and draw two of their last seven games and managed to stay up in the Premier League. They finished 16th, level on points with Southampton in 17th and Manchester City who went down in the final relegation spot. Coventry and Southampton’s goal difference were both -18, but Manchester City went down with -25.

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