Beleaguered Newcastle boss Steve McClaren became embroiled in an angry row with a journalist as he conducted his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon.
McClaren launched an attack on the reporter at the club’s Darsley Park training headquarters after being questioned about the speculation over his future and the state of the club as he spoke to television reporters.
He said: “I’ve heard there have been one or two articles – probably one main article – and as I say, I don’t read it. It doesn’t help me win football matches and my concentration and focus are purely on Bournemouth and winning that game tomorrow.
“Someone told me about it and unfortunately it’s done, obviously, by a journalist who for the last 18 months has written nothing but negative things about Newcastle, a journalist who used to work at this football club and who four or five years ago, was released from this club.
“Whatever that journalist writes, I’m afraid I don’t read it.”
A story was published in a national newspaper on Friday morning suggesting senior players were surprised McClaren was still in his job after a poor season to date, and that they expect him to be sacked if they lose to Bournemouth on Saturday.
Asked later if he planned to meet managing director Lee Charnley to discuss the situation, the former England boss added: “We don’t want anything to destabilise what we are trying to achieve.
“That article that appeared is half-truths and half-lies and destabilises what we are trying to do in that dressing room. We have to ignore it and we have to know what we are doing, and we do.”
The journalist who wrote the article confronted McClaren as he left the room to speak to radio reporters, denying that he had an agenda and attacking the 54-year-old’s record on Tyneside as he headed off down the corridor.
He said: “Steve, don’t you dare accuse me of having an agenda. You are second bottom of the league. This is a new one, Steve. Is this your latest excuse, is it? It’s a new one, I’ll give you that.
“I’m not the problem, Steve. You’re the problem, not me. You’re the problem, not me. Don’t you dare suggest I’ve got an agenda against you.
“Walk away Steve, smile and grin again. [Turning towards colleagues] He has been out of his depth since the minute he walked in.”
The pair later had lengthy face-to-face talks, during which it is understood apologies were offered and accepted, before McClaren returned to speak to the written press.
It is not the first time a Newcastle manager has had a heated exchange with the press, with interim boss Joe Kinnear memorably launching a foul-mouthed rant during his first formal press conference in 2008.