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How Herald's Michael Grant (and his wife) upstaged Neil Lennon

It was what can only be called a mobile malfunction.

Neil Lennon and Michael Grant
Neil Lennon and Michael Grant

When The Herald's chief football correspondent Michael Grant attended a Celtic FC press conference, he used his mobile phone to record the wisdom of Neil Lennon.

Unfortunately, as the Celtic manager orated, Grant's wife, Sharon, decided she needed to speak to her man - twice.

Watch the video below.

Lennon initially ignored the ring and vibration on his desk, but then took the call. 'She's not happy,' he said, as Mrs Grant hung up....

...but then called back. 'Are you going to stop interrupting my press conference please,' Lennon said as he answered. 'This is Neil Lennon.'

He then laughed as the call was cut again, before turning to the man whose phone it was, adding: 'You're not going out tonight, Michael.'

After the press conference Michael tweeted: "Wanted: old style tape recorder. For sale: iPhone."

ITV Football also tweeted: "Journalists take note: Don't use your smartphone as a dictaphone, as it may end with Neil Lennon speaking to your wife."

Lennon then tweeted, ahead of the Dundee United match: "Another tough game tonight...pitch is in good condition and we are all looking forward to it

"Am also looking forward to the press conf afterwards ...ahem."

Here's Michael explanation of what happened.

There's a tiny switch on the top corner of an iPhone that silences its ring. There's also a feature called Airplane Mode which essentially shuts it down too. And yes, I have known this for quite a while.

For some reason I hadn't activated either of these safety nets on my phone before a call was made at teatime on Saturday night. So not only did I hear it, Neil Lennon did too.

Thanks to my doziness and the Celtic manager's sense of mischief it now seems as though everyone in Scotland – and plenty further afield – now knows about the moment when the bold Mrs Grant phoned during his press conference ... and he answered.

The scene was the media room inside Celtic Park, housing around 30 reporters waiting to hear what the manager thought of Celtic's win over Hearts. Neil had taken a question and was chatting when a phone started trilling in front of him.

Now, reporters using (silenced) iPhones as recorders has become common in the last couple of years, so there were at least four or five in front of him. No need to panic. The phone is on mute 90% of the time. Besides, hardly anyone bothers to phone it. Clearly some other poor sod was at fault here.

I know Neil well enough to recognise his sense of devilment. Having plucked up the courage to watch the clip again, the flash of mischief in his eyes was obvious as the phone continued to ring and he decided to pick it up.

The room dissolved into laughter. I sniggered along with the others. Nah, it didn't look like my phone. Only one side of the conversation was audible as Neil went to work.

It ended when he laughed, saying "she's hung up ... she's not happy". And then he looked at the name on the screen and said ... "who's SW?"

Oh no. No, no, no, no. My wife, her initials, my phone.

There was no option but to own up. He – and everyone else – laughed louder. Normal service resumed and he took another question ... and then the phone went off again. Neil asked me my wife's name. "Sharon: are you gonna stop interrupting my press conference please? This is Neil Lennon here." Uproar.

He paused and reacted as if she'd given him a mouthful before hanging up again. The place was in stitches. He said: "You're not going out tonight Michael." Later he saw me in another part of the ground and burst out laughing again. He's not the only one, to be fair.

A weekend of mickey-taking followed. As it was dying down the clip was released by Celtic and it took off. It was on this website, then that radio station, and was getting retweeted. STV, Sky and the BBC showed it. Someone from Celtic said it was on the club's YouTube site. Pals said we'd gone viral, it was the new Gangnam Style, and it was time to get an agent. Time to get a tape recorder, more like.

To those who have asked: no, Sharon wasn't in a bad mood. She thought she'd got a wrong number in the first call and realised halfway through the second she was on to the manager. She'd phoned as the car had broken down. And what had she said at the end of the second call? Nothing as interesting as Neil made it look, the big ham that he is.

Last night me and the phone were back at Parkhead for the Dundee United game. Sharon asked me to say hello to Neil.

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