Sunderland manager David Moyes apologises after 'threatening to slap' female BBC journalist

Moyes was recorded telling BBC journalist Vicki Sparks to 'watch herself' and that 'you might still get a slap even though you're a woman' after taking umbrage to one particular question 

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The Independent Football

David Moyes has been forced to apologise to a female reporter, after footage from a camera phone appeared to show the Sunderland manager threatening to “slap” her after a press interview.

BBC Newcastle reporter Vicki Sparks was interviewing Moyes after Sunderland’s 0-0 home draw with Burnley, on March 18.

Moyes appeared to take exception to Sparks’ final question, as she asked whether the presence of club chairman Ellis Short in the stands made him feel under additional pressure.

The Sunderland manager gave a non-committal answer in front of the cameras, before ending the interview. He can then be heard telling Sparks off-camera: “It was getting a wee bit naughty at the end there so just watch yourself.

“You still might get a slap even though you’re a woman. Careful the next time you come in.”

Although it is understood that Sparks herself did not complain to the club, her BBC colleagues were displeased when they heard the audio and subsequently accused the 53-year-old of bullying.

The BBC confirmed that Moyes had since apologised to Sparks for his choice of language.

“Mr Moyes has apologised to our reporter and she has accepted his apology,” a BBC spokesperson said.

A Sunderland spokesperson meanwhile told the Daily Star: “David and the reporter spoke to one another subsequently and the matter was resolved amicably.”

Sunderland chairman Short watched the game from the stands (Getty)

Moyes has been assured by the Sunderland hierarchy that his job is not under threat because of the incident, although it leaves the Scot under even more pressure.

His club are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table, eight points adrift of 17th-place Swansea City.

Sunderland lost 1-0 on Saturday to Watford, with Moyes admitting afterwards that their match against Leicester on Tuesday is now something of a must-win fixture.

“We wanted a win from one of these two games and we didn't get it, we came close to getting something, but we'll have to try and get it on Tuesday against Leicester now,” he said.

“We deserved a point at least at Watford. I thought we stuck at it and we need to make more of our performance next time out.”