Louis Van Gaal’s press conference walk-out on Wednesday will earn plenty of headlines given the Dutchman’s increasingly precarious position at Old Trafford.
But Van Gaal’s all-too-brief festive appearance sorely lacked fireworks when compared to some other giants of the genre.
Here, then, are five seminal examples of when sports press conferences attack:
HEAD IN THE SAND
Nigel Pearson made the year’s most memorable press conference allusion in April when he responded angrily to a reporter who questioned his assertion that media negativity was not helping his relegation-threatened side. “I think you are an ostrich,” Pearson told the bemused reporter. “Your head must be in the sand.” Pearson left the club two months later. Under his successor, Claudio Ranieri, they zoomed, ostrich-like, up the table.
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch made his intentions clear during a so-called Superbowl ‘media opportunity’ in January. Lynch told a packed room of reporters “I’m just here so I don’t get fined”, and proceeded to answer every question thrown at him with a variation on the same sentiment before standing up and leaving the room precisely four minutes and 51 seconds after his ‘press conference’ began.
Forget the boxing press conference brawls, of which there are too many to mention. Love him or loathe him, Tyson Fury certainly brought something new to the table when he dressed as Batman - and proceeded to brawl with a stooge dressed as his arch-enemy The Joker - at a press conference to promote his upcoming world heavyweight title fight with Wladimir Klitschko. And who can now say it did not work?
The often inane questions served up at post-match Wimbledon press conferences can often make it a chore for even the most well-intentioned interviewee. But it all got too much for notoriously truculent Anna Kournikova in 2002 when BBC reporter Gary Richardson suggested her numerous off-court interests could be affecting her form. Kournikova stood up and asked for the interview to be re-started, but it was later broadcast in full, leading to protests from the WTA.
Never have Sir Alex Ferguson’s mind games paid off so deliciously - not, not even Kevin Keegan’s infamous “Love it!” tirade - as when then Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez responded to his needling in 2009 by reading from a pre-prepared list of “facts” at a pre-match press conference in 2009. Liverpool, top of the table at the time, went on to lose the title to United. “It killed him because I didn’t need to say anything else,” Ferguson later grinned.