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On the pitch with Poyet and in the boardroom with Lord Sugar

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Dan Walker | 10:58 UK time, Friday, 20 May 2011

When I used to watch John McGinlay play for Bolton he was always a tasty player. When I played against him in a five-a-side tournament in Manchester he was like Messi, Ronaldo & Xavi all rolled into one to me.

A goalscoring dynamo, with seemingly more than two legs - each of which moved like Bruce Lee in a hurry. He was effortlessly brilliant and reminded the rest of us how distinctly average we were.

I had a similar experience this week when I was invited to play in a charity match at Stamford Bridge to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

It was a team of celebs & media types against members of Her Majesty's parliament. I was in a team with the likes of Angus Deayton, Omid Djalili, Darren Campbell, Dalton Grant and Chris Wolstenholme from Muse. It was the normal situation where nobody wanted to play in defence so I said I'd play centre-half. Little did I know that I would be stepping out with Gustavo Poyet as my defensive partner.

The current Brighton manager and former Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder stroked the ball around masterfully in a 6-4 victory. He had been asked to play at the back because last year he scored five goals in the first half before swapping teams for the second and bagging another four!

There was one moment when I thought about berating him for allowing the smallest man on the pitch to score with a header but I held my tongue. He was strolling around at about eight per cent capacity while I, like everyone else, was struggling with lung capacity and general skill issues.

They say that Messi plays the whole game with his head up. The charity's photographer seems to have captured my own take on that (head down, plough on regardless) as I waddle past the Right Honourable Jim Murphy.

Dan Walker powers past the Right Honourable Jim Murphy at Stamford Bridge

A few people have already pointed out the interesting colour combination I went for and the snazzy boots. It was either the green beauties or a pair of Keegan Patrick's with steel studs!

During the quieter moments of the match I chatted to Poyet about his job and the future. It's clear that he loves the challenge of taking Brighton on to another level and despite occasionally being linked with other jobs, I get the feeling it would take a whopper of an offer to persuade him to leave the south coast.

I also went to see the two men leading our celebrity prediction league this week. For the last few months Alastair Campbell and Lord Sugar have been top of the pile so we got them together for a final day prediction head-to-head.

I was impressed to see how seriously they both took it. Both had notes, both had consulted friends in high places and both were keen to outdo the other.

The Lord was 10 minutes late so Mr Campbell sent him a text saying: "Come on, not even George Bush kept me waiting." Sure enough, a moment later, in burst Sugar bellowing: "Are we doing this then?"

Fittingly we filmed it in a boardroom but there was no sign of moody Nick Hewer, Karren Brady or any of this year's hopefuls. Lord Sugar keeps trying to say he doesn't mind if he doesn't win but you don't get to his position without a serious competitive edge.

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Here are their predictions. Feel free to put your own down below and I'll try and find a suitable prize for the winner. I'm sure I've got some scotch eggs knocking around at the back of the fridge.

Football score predictions by Alastair Campbell and Lord Sugar

This week it's our last ever Football Focus from BBC Television Centre. We move to Salford over the summer and will return in a new studio in August. I hope you've enjoyed the show.

It's been a privilege to work on and we're finishing off with some cracking stuff including Michael Vaughan in conversation with Ryan Giggs. It's on at the earlier time of 11.30 so set those alarms comrades.

You can stick down any questions or comments you have and if you want to follow all the build up on


  • Comment number 1.

    Nice blog yet again Dan! Your playing style reminds me of my own, although I'm guessing you don't rest for a fag every 15 mins like me!

    Darren Campbell up front? I can imagine he'd be like a 5-a-side Torres sprinting past defenders, with Djalili the midfield general, and I'd put Deayton in goal I think.

    Also, were there any 'tasty' tackles against the MP's?

    Good to see Alastair Campbell and Lord Sugar being competitive as well, adds a human touch to them.

    Who's been your favourite guest on the sofa at Television Centre? Have to say as a Man Utd fan I was surprised how likeable Rafa Benitez was, always viewed him as the enemy!

    Steve Guppy

  • Comment number 2.

    Does your sign-off mean that you're not going up to Salford to continue to present Football Focus then? It would be a shame if that were true as you've done a great job on the programme... say it ain't so Joe (Dan).

    Aston Villa 1-3 Liverpool
    Bolton 0-3 Man City
    Everton 1-2 Chelsea
    Fulham 2-1 Arsenal
    Man Utd 4-2 Blackpool
    Newcastle 1-1 West Brom
    Stoke 1-2 Wigan
    Tottenham 2-2 Birmingham
    West Ham 2-0 Sunderland
    Wolves 2-0 Blackburn

    Frank Sinatra

  • Comment number 3.

    Curse you stevedave, I thought I'd got 1st! Nice kit Dan, reminds me of Platini circa 1984 - I'm sure you're a much nicer person than him though! Commiserations on moving to Salford, is this all part of a grand plan to get Ferguson to give interviews to the BBC again?

    Muzzy Izzet

  • Comment number 4.


    Nice blog. I've always wanted to play with some former greats in a charity match. You're a lucky man.

    I went to Salford University (nearby the new Media City). You'll really like it there I'm sure, the people are (scallies aside) friendly, and you'll be about 5 min from Old Trafford and 10 min from Eastlands (depending on whether the Mancunain way is behaving!). There are some decent pubs/bakeries too, a point by which I know you place a great deal of importance.

    Well done on your work this year, enjoy the summer. Hopefully you'll be reporting on more Manchester City successes next year! And, (I'll get heckled for this...) can you try and arrange another Liam Gallagher interview next season? Just for the laughs.

    Long John David Sliva

  • Comment number 5.

    Aston Villa 1-3 Liverpool
    Bolton 0-3 Man City
    Everton 1-2 Chelsea
    Fulham 2-1 Arsenal
    Man Utd 3-0 Blackpool
    Newcastle 1-1 West Brom
    Stoke 0-1 Wigan
    Tottenham 2-0 Birmingham
    West Ham 1-1 Sunderland
    Wolves 0-0 Blackburn (was there ever a more obvious draw?)

    Easy. Nice blog again by the way. Should be a great final day if nothing else.

  • Comment number 6.


    haha sorry mate! Wouldn't have got there first if I was busy at work, but sshhhh! Nice "Other ex-Leicester player" reference though, from the golden Premiership days!

    And thanks Eric Morecambe, forgot to do my predo's!

    Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool
    Bolton 1-3 Man City
    Everton 2-1 Chelsea
    Fulham 0-2 Arsenal
    Man Utd 3-0 Blackpool
    Newcastle 1-1 West Brom
    Stoke 1-2 Wigan
    Tottenham 4-1 Birmingham
    West Ham 2-0 Sunderland
    Wolves 1-0 Blackburn

    Really want Wolves to stay up as a dweller in the city, plus I'm a fan of Elokobi and McCarthy.

    Jeff Goldblum

  • Comment number 7.

    Ooops ... forgot my predictions...

    Aston Villa 1-1 Liverpool
    Bolton 1-2 Man City
    Everton 2-2 Chelsea
    Fulham 0-2 Arsenal
    Man Utd 2-2 Blackpool
    Newcastle 1-1 West Brom
    Stoke 2-1 Wigan
    Tottenham 2-0 Birmingham
    West Ham 1-1 Sunderland
    Wolves 1-1 Blackburn

  • Comment number 8.

    Where are the Tottenham Vs Birmingham predictions Dan? Being a Blackpool fan this could be a crucial one.......not that Sir Alan's or Alastair's guess will make any difference to the final outcome! It just makes me feel better if other people think we can stay up as well :)

  • Comment number 9.

    #8 they were on there earlier but it looks like they deleted them by accident when they reformatted the predictions into two columns.

    Bill Gates

  • Comment number 10.

    There’s usually some strange results on the last day of the season. This weekend should be a belter!

    Aston Villa 1-1 Liverpool
    Bolton 2-4 Man City
    Everton 2-3 Chelsea
    Fulham 1-6 Arsenal
    Man Utd 5-0 Blackpool
    Newcastle 0-0 West Brom
    Stoke 0-1 Wigan
    Tottenham 2-3 Birmingham
    West Ham 4-1 Sunderland
    Wolves 1-1 Blackburn

    Mark Wallington

  • Comment number 11.

    It's the time in the season, where clubs are assessing what changes to make over the summer in preparation for the new season.

    11 weeks to go until the start of the new season and the first Football Focus of the new season, and clubs are preparing changes.

    Focus has experimented with many things this season, including going on the road. This worked better in some locations more than others.

    For instance, the trip to Sheffield Wednesday, unless a Wednesdayite, was, honestly, boring. However, the frantic show from Loftus Road, was as strong a justification for going on the road you could wish for.

    The message is, more of the same, but also, less of the same.

    The 5 topics in 5 minutes, doesn't work. If a topic deserves discussion, discuss it.

    1 More suggestion: Get Savage as a permanent fixture on the sofa.

  • Comment number 12.

    I want that scotch egg!

    Aston Villa 1v1 Liverpool
    Bolton 1v3 Man City
    Everton 2v1 Chelsea
    Fulham 1v0 Arsenal
    Man Utd 2v2 Blackpool
    Newcastle 3v1 West Brom
    Stoke 3v0 Wigan
    Tottenham 4v0 Birmingham
    West Ham 2v0 Sunderland
    Wolverhampton 1v1 Blackburn

  • Comment number 13.

    Sorry to be picky, but theres no spurs-birmingham predo on your page.
    Heres my predictions
    Villa 1-3 liverpool
    Bolton 1-1 man city
    everton 0 0 chelsea
    Fulham 0 2 Arsenal
    Man utd 1 1 Blackpool
    Newcastle 1 4 westbrom
    Stoke 3 3 wigan
    Tottenham 2 3 Birmingham
    West ham 3 sunderland 0
    Wolves 1 Blackburn 0

  • Comment number 14.

    Aston Villa 0-3 Liverpool
    Bolton 1-3 Man City
    Everton 2-2 Chelsea
    Fulham 2-2 Arsenal
    Man Utd 5-4 Blackpool
    Newcastle 0-0 West Brom
    Stoke 1-3 Wigan
    Tottenham 2-1 Birmingham
    West Ham 1-4 Sunderland
    Wolverhampton 3-1 Blackburn

    Enjoy the move Dan, Salford is lovely...

    Frank Sinclair

  • Comment number 15.

    Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool
    Bolton 1-3 Man City
    Everton 2-1 Chelsea
    Fulham 2-1 Arsenal
    Man Utd 3-2 Blackpool
    Newcastle 0-0 West Brom
    Stoke 1-2 Wigan
    Tottenham 2-1 Birmingham
    West Ham 2-1 Sunderland
    Wolverhampton 2-1 Blackburn

    Kevin "Bloody" Wilson

  • Comment number 16.

    That is my prediction...looking forward to d

    Aston Villa 1-3 Liverpool
    Bolton 2-3 Man City
    Everton 1-2 Chelsea
    Fulham 1-3 Arsenal
    Man Utd 2-3 Blackpool
    Newcastle 2-1 West Brom
    Stoke 2-1 Wigan
    Tottenham 2-1 Birmingham
    West Ham 2-0 Sunderland
    Wolves 2-0 Blackburn

    A chelsea season ticket will do

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm confused, does this mean, I put the quiche in first and allow it to then go cold or can I just eat it. Why can't life be straight forward.
    Oh and why can't fly fishing involve flying, but proper wwII flying, tally ho and what not, blow that carp to kingdom come and all that.

    And dan, are you going to be moving to Salford,? You're closing in, and it's getting claustrophobic.

    I'm gonna sign off with a joke, something of a bob monkhouse classic,

    A watched kettle never boils, but does get rather paranoid after a while.

    Love you bob.

    Paul Daniels

  • Comment number 18.

    Afternoon all...

    Sorry about the disappearing Spurs v Birmingham predicitons. Trying to get it sorted now.

    Tony Cottee

  • Comment number 19.

    How come EVERY time i log on to the BBC Football page there is a story (and picture) about Man U ?????

    This week, surely, is about the 5 at the bottom. So why isnt the pic about them?

    Just how much does the BBC receive from Reuters to constantly show their Man U pics?

  • Comment number 20.

    I did begin to wonder how a prediction from Lord Sugar couldn't contain a Spurs game.

    Nice blog Dan.

  • Comment number 21.


    Adding in the Spurs - Birmingham predictions right now.

    Absolutely mea culpa. Sorry, folks, won't happen again.

    Bob Morton

  • Comment number 22.

    Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool
    Bolton 1-2 Man City
    Everton 1-1 Chelsea
    Fulham 2-1 Arsenal
    Man Utd 2-2 Blackpool
    Newcastle 1-2 West Brom
    Stoke 1-1 Wigan
    Tottenham 3-1 Birmingham
    West Ham 1-0 Sunderland
    Wolves 2-0 Blackburn

  • Comment number 23.

    Can you score with a header in five-a-side? I thought the ball had to stay below shoulder height otherwise it was a foul?

    Anyway, glad you're not one of the ones that didn't fancy moving to Salford.

    What do you make of this week's FA/FIFA story? I have to wonder what would happen if there was a breakaway from FIFA i.e. if enough countries (with lucrative-enough television markets) decided that they didn't want to be part of FIFA anymore and decided to set up their own governing body with their own tournaments. Come the revolution...

  • Comment number 24.

    Surely you can donate those green boots as a prize! Cheers Dan keep up the good work.

    Aston Villa 2-2 Liverpool
    Bolton 0-2 Man City
    Everton 1-2 Chelsea
    Fulham 3-2 Arsenal
    Man Utd 5-1 Blackpool
    Newcastle 2-0 West Brom
    Stoke 1-2 Wigan
    Tottenham 2-1 Birmingham
    West Ham 3-1 Sunderland
    Wolves 1-0 Blackburn

  • Comment number 25.

    To Richard Irvine-Brown - BBC Sport (#21)

    "Adding in the Spurs - Birmingham predictions right now.
    Absolutely mea culpa. Sorry, folks, won't happen again."

    Is that a coded prediction on who's getting relegated? ;)

  • Comment number 26.

    Campbell and Sugar are pretty good. But I've gone further (sort of) and taken on Tim Key, Dan Antapolski and Milton Jones at guessing the scores for big Sunday. Look, it's all on my bloggle!

  • Comment number 27.

    I went to school in Salford and survived !

    Its going to be:

    Aston Villa 2-0 Liverpool
    Bolton 1-0 Man City
    Everton 2-2 Chelsea
    Fulham 1-2 Arsenal
    Man Utd 2-2 Blackpool
    Newcastle 1-1 West Brom
    Stoke 0-1 Wigan
    Tottenham 4-2 Birmingham
    West Ham 2-1 Sunderland
    Wolves 1-0 Blackburn

    A Man Utd season ticket would be an appropriate reward


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