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newsgeoff shreeves interview

Geoff Shreeves Interview: Sky offered me wage cut but I nearly stayed; Prem refereeing is a mess and VAR is utter nonsense

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Sky offered me wage cut but I nearly stayed

In an exclusive interview with , pitch-side reporter Geoff Shreeves opened up on how he called time on his 30-year career with Sky Sports after they asked him to take a substantial pay cut.

Shreeves also explained why he believes a complete cultural reset of Premier League referees is required and gave an insight into the mindset of managers Mikel Arteta, Pep Guardiola, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

Interview Highlights:

  • Quitting Sky over wage reduction was tough decision – I was tempted to stay
  • Premier League refs face impossible job and VAR should be scrapped
  • Mourinho kept cool but Fergie and Wenger often saw red because of my questions   
  • Unfiltered Mikel Arteta is an interviewer’s dream

Sky offered me wage cut but I nearly stayed

Pitchside presenter Geoff Shreeves was considered part of the furniture at Sky Sports, so it was a shock when he quit in the summer over a pay cut offer. But he revealed he was tempted to stay despite the reduction in wages;

Geoff Shreeves: “There was a reduction in money, but the offer they made me was good. I could have easily taken it, but it didn’t leave me much room to do anything else. I was interested in documentaries, in film, in podcasts and production in general as well. So I had to make a decision. Do I stay here now, and realistically see out my career here?

“It was a hard decision because one of the most difficult things in life, I always say, is knowing when to leave a really good party. Stay too late, everybody’s drunk and you wish you’d gone earlier. Go too early, you’ve missed all the fun. I just thought, you know what, now it’s a good time to go, so I’ll go. I wouldn’t rule out working with Sky in the future at some point. They might have ruled me out, but I wouldn’t rule out working with them again.”

Prem refereeing is a mess and VAR is utter nonsense

With seemingly weekly controversy over refereeing and VAR decisions in the Premier League this season, Shreeves reckons the time has come for a complete overhaul of the entire process; 

Shreeves: “They used to say that the England manager’s job is the impossible job but I think being a referee is an impossible job now, I think we’re in such a mess. We need a complete cultural reset on referees. Everything has become too forensic. VAR can sometimes take three or four minutes to decide something. And the biggest insult, all the punters have paid hard earned dough to be in the stadium –  they have not got a clue what’s happening. How can you treat your paying customer worse than the people watching on TV? It’s utter nonsense.

“If we continually seek perfection, we’ll kill it, we’ll kill the game. There’ll be no flow whatsoever. Human error is a part of football, always has been, but we’re trying to iron it out. Also, if the ref says I don’t think it’s a foul – fine. That’s an opinion. So then asking another for his opinion! They’re refereeing and running the game with an insurance that even if they don’t blow up for a decision, they know VAR will tell you if it is or isn’t – it takes away that instant decision making.”

I loved dueling with the ‘Five Dukes’ – Fergie, Wenger, Mourinho, Klopp and Pep

Shreeves interviewed the most legendary Premier League bosses multiple times and often had to ask them inflammatory questions which resulted in some heated exchanges;

Shreeves: “They were such huge characters. Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Mourinho, along with Pep and Jurgen, they’re the five grand dukes I loved dueling with the most. When you’re going in there to interview them, you’re trying to get an answer for your viewers, so it’s how far you are willing to push them; a lot of that depends on your relationship with them. 

“I never fell out with Mourinho. Pep I’ve had a few frosty exchanges with, and Arsene Wenger didn’t take it too well when I asked him if he thought he might be relieved of his duties after they just lost 8-2 at Old Trafford. That didn’t go so well. One time I did an interview with Cristiano Ronaldo which Sir Alex took exception to and he had a pop at me. I had a pop back and then he physically jumped towards me, and a press officer – Dennis Law’s daughter – jumped in between us and said ‘stop this stop this!’.”

Unfiltered Mikel Arteta is an interviewer’s dream

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has faced the wrath of the PGMOL and the FA on various occasions this season but Shreeves is a fan of the Arsenal manager’s way of talking to the media;

Shreeves: “Arteta, wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s straight, I think sometimes he goes too strong, but then also if I’m an interviewer, I love him because he’s unfiltered. The thing with Mikel, sometimes, when he’s quite calm, when he speaks, he has very little inflection in his voice. So if you’re interviewing him, and asking him a question, he just stops speaking. He doesn’t come to a natural end of a sentence like you or I would. Suddenly it’s just silence and you have to jump in. He’s pretty calm pre-match most of the time.”

Max Barlow
Max Barlow
Max Barlow

Max is a data anlalyst and writer for Betting Sites with experience on reputable sites such as SportsLens, LegalSportsbooks and Basketball Insiders. He covers a variety of topics including sports, crypto and business.

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