Arsenal ‘phonegate’: An apology to Unai Emery after my mobile went off during his press conference at London Colney...
PUBLISHED: 17:25 31 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:28 01 September 2018
We’ve all been in situations when someone’s mobile has gone off when it shouldn’t have.
I’ve been at a few weddings over the years when the shrill ringtone of a phone has interrupted speeches, or one occasion in church during the service.
But what happens when it’s your own phone?
Not only that, but it’s your phone ringing during the middle of a Premier League press conference at Arsenal’s training HQ, London Colney?
That’s the fate which befell me on Friday lunchtime.
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery was holding forth in his weekly press conference about his side’s trip to Cardiff City when, to my horror, my phone started ringing.
Just as I was about to jump up and get it, the Gunners boss, picked up the offending item and proceeded to answer it.
The call was from a pal, a fellow journalist who was getting in touch on an Arsenal matter, and had no idea he would be disrupting a public press conference.
To his credit he apologised to me. Which is testament to the good guy he is – but the fault is all mine, 100 per cent.
I’ve covered murder trials and serious crime cases at the High Court, not to mention political stories at Westminster in my role as a news reporter prior to moving onto sport, and the first thing you learn is to turn your phone off when you enter.
As the Islington Gazette’s Arsenal reporter I’ve covered the club everywhere from Barcelona’s Nou Camp and Wembley to Sutton’s Gander Green Lane, not to mention reporting on all aspects of the North London giants including the U23s, the U18s, the Women’s sides and Arsenal in the Community, as well as the inspirational Arsenal Amputee team
Ironically enough I had been transcribing an interview on said phone late into last night.
The chat was with a talented young Arsenal coach I had spoken with, who was training youngsters, and I simply forgot to turn the phone back to silent, as I’ve done in hundreds, if not thousands of press conferences over the years.
There’s no excuse for it – but thankfully Arsenal boss Emery showed he has a sense of humour and is a great sport by answering my phone and chatting with my pal.
I was relieved there was no harm done but I penned a short private apology to the club anyway just to assure them it will never happen again, – which they have very graciously accepted and we’ll move on from ‘phonegate’ – even if I’m sure social media won’t let me forget for a while!
I’d also like to apologise to the other journos present at Colney. I take my job very seriously as you all do too and can only say sorry for the interruption.
Thankfully most saw the funny side, as you can probably tell from the laughter during the footage on Arsenal’s official Instagram account, which prompted Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Danny Welbeck to ‘like’ the video.
I’ve already had a few calls from mickey-taking old friends, and a few journo pals too.
No doubt I’ll have a few comments aimed at me on Sunday at Cardiff City when I cover Arsenal in South Wales, which I fully deserve and will bat away with a self-deprecating smile.
But one thing I won’t do is forget to switch my phone to airplane mode during a post-match press conference ever again – and certainly not on Sunday.
Because I’m not sure Neil Warnock would take it as well as Unai…
Follow Arsenal reporter Layth Yousif on Twitter @laythy29