In anticipation of tomorrow’s Champions League match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich, Arensal manager Arsene Wenger held a press conference that got weird and hostile rather quickly. The first question, which touches on rumors of Wenger’s coming two-year contract extension, sends him into a tailspin. He prattles on about “wrong information” and journalists only wanting to cause “harm,”
Then, after blindly accusing some random reporter of peddling this wrong information, brilliance:
Wenger: Why do you look at me?
Journalist: Because it’s your press conference. It’s not my story.
Defensive, matter-of-fact sass is the best kind of sass. Wenger then half-apologizes, saying he thought it was this specific reporter who cooked up the rumors, though it’s hard to tell if he was retaliating with a “See how it feels?” fortune reversal. Then he declares that he only wants to talk about the upcoming match. Fine.
The next question does just that, addressing Bayern Munich’s back line. But Wenger cuts it off because “I don’t talk about Bayern Munich today.” So, let’s take stock: reporters can’t ask about non-match items or Baynern Munich, a match item. Got it.
Cut to later in the press conference, when a reporter whom Wenger previously upstaged throws him a softball, asking about wanting to bring trophies to Arsenal. It should be noted that on Saturday Aresnal lost to Blackburn in the FA Cup, and the larger point of the question is to meagerly dance around rumors that Wenger doesn’t care about winning the FA Cup. Wenger, to his credit, smells out the ploy. Except in his highly irritated state, he curtly retorts, “I won four times the FA Cup. Who has won it more?” And so we direct him to Sir Alex Ferguson’s five wins, or Tottenham’s George Ramsay, who won it six times. Or Blackburn’s Thomas Mitchell, who won it five times as well. Oh, and Sheffield’s John Nicholson’s four wins. Otherwise, no one’s won it more.
As for where Wenger ranks in the history of press conference melees, it’s hard to say. Though we’re pretty sure no one has ever lost sight of why the room is gathered there.