BBC BLOGS - Dan Walker

Archives for February 2011

Bizarre weekend as Crawley go for glory

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Dan Walker | 06:40 UK time, Thursday, 24 February 2011

I often get asked to give talks to schools and universities. Whenever I do, I always ask the people in the audience to tell me who they support. It's good to know your audience.

Once I have gone through the names of the big teams, I ask for fans of Crawley Town to identify themselves. When every hand stays down, I then ask if anyone has heard of Crawley Town. The occasional mitt would be raised.

This season's FA Cup run has changed all that.

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Focus turns to King Eric

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Dan Walker | 12:11 UK time, Wednesday, 16 February 2011

I am writing this week's blog on my way back from Birmingham. There are two blokes across the carriage talking about dull spreadsheets, a girl snoring like a beast in front and a man behind eating, what smells like, a mouldy fish sandwich.

I feel quite strongly that some food should be banned from all public transport. Mackerel is one of them and whatever he is eating is another.

I just wanted to say thanks for all your comments about the Rafael Benitez blog and full-length interview last week. There was some good healthy debate going on with plenty of strong opinions either way. I'm glad you appreciated the 25-minute interview and we'll try to do that in the future when it's warranted.

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Chess-loving Benitez lays out welcome mat

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Dan Walker | 19:42 UK time, Tuesday, 8 February 2011

There are very few managers who divide opinion quite as spectacularly as Rafael Benitez. There are those - many of whom are Liverpool fans - who will vehemently defend his record and style, while others dismiss his achievements and question whether he should be a football coach at all.

I remember sitting in a radio studio when an unnamed pundit claimed that Benitez had "offered nothing in 2005" and that the Champions League win over AC Milan in Istanbul was achieved "in spite of Benitez and certainly not because of him".

Benitez is seen by many as a manager who overspent at Liverpool, wasted the club's best chance of winning the title in recent seasons, let Sir Alex Ferguson get under his skin and fell out with the man crucial to Liverpool's success - Xabi Alonso.

I have spent plenty of time attending Benitez's media conferences over the years and interviewed the Spaniard on numerous occasions but last Thursday he invited the Football Focus cameras down to his pad in the Wirral. I spent the best part of two hours with him, playing chess, walking his dog and talking about his first love - football.

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Fun and games on Transfer Deadline Day

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Dan Walker | 19:55 UK time, Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Last week's blog turned out to be something of a hit. It seems that reminiscing about three-and-in and wall-ball or W.E.M.B.L.E.Y is a favourite pastime for many of us.

I hope you enjoyed Saturday's show. We had two quality jackets on the show: Kenny and the one being worn by David Ginola. I don't know many people who would turn up on the sofa wearing a leather beauty but he seemed to get away with it.

It was interesting to hear him say that Kevin Keegan stopped him going to Barcelona when he was at Newcastle. The Spanish side put in a £12m bid but, with Andy Cole having left the previous season, Keegan told Ginola he had to stay at St James' Park.

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