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Martin, me and the Focus 5

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Dan Walker | 13:14 UK time, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Martin Keown went to Arsenal's training ground to interview Sol Campbell last week but had to hang around for a while as Sol was having a massage.

When he finally got back to BBC Telelvision Centre, Martin and I made our way to the studio to record Friday Focus.

We sat down on the steps at the front of the set and, while the cameraman was setting up, Keown - mid tuna sandwich - had something he needed to say...

Martin: "I read your blog this week Dan. [chomp] Do you write that yourself?"
Dan: "Yeah."
Martin: "We need to do some work on that, don't we?"
Dan: "What do you mean?"
Martin: "What was all that rubbish about sandwiches? [chomp]
Dan: "I'm just trying to make it a little different. Plus, everyone loves a sandwich don't they?"
Martin: "I don't [really big chomp]. We can make it a lot better."

On Tuesday, he collared me after our weekly programme meeting and gave me his five steps to blog success:

1. More insights from behind the scenes;
2. More information about what happens in the Tuesday meeting;
3. More stuff about Martin Keown (He was joking about that one);
4. Less about Lee Dixon (He wasn't joking about that one);
5. More about the structure of the programme and the way stories are covered.

I told him we've been doing that all season, but he just gave me the eyes. I felt a little bit like Ruud Van Nistlerooy after he missed that penalty at Old Trafford in 2003.

mart595.jpgMartin Keown has a 'conversation' with Ruud van Nistelrooy

He didn't jump all over me with his arms in the air, but I had been well and truly 'Keowned'. Those of you who regularly read this blog will hopefully know that I welcome a bit of feedback, so when I told Martin this week's subject matter (which ticked number three on his list of five top blogging tips) his reaction was: "That's more like it, Dan. Keep working along those lines and you might get somewhere."

One of the things we're keen to do on Focus this season is try out new ways of doing things. If I was a business manager, I would probably use the phrase "blue-sky thinking". But if those words ever pass my lips, you have permission to spear me in the face.

Anyway, we've had some interesting guests on the sofa, the likes of Phil Brown, Robbie Savage, Gary Megson (the week he was sacked) and Gareth Southgate. I really enjoyed chatting to John Hartson on Saturday. Top bloke from the minute he arrived in the building and an incredible story of survival against all the odds.

We got hundreds of emails and tweets for John. When I showed them to him at the end of the programme, he was genuinely touched. He told me he'd love to come back on the show before the end of the season.

Perhaps the biggest change we've made this season is going out on the road. Editor Mark Cole and I made the trip to Burnley last week to prepare for our next out-and-about show on 6 February. That's when West Ham are in town. Preparations are coming together nicely. We've even found a butcher who names his sausages after members of the Burnley squad! Brian 'The Beast' Jensen is about twice the size of all the others.

Anyway, this week we're trying something that we have not done before. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... 'The Focus 5'! For the final five minutes of the show, Lawro, Dixon, Keown and one of the Score pundits to join us for a quick-fire debate about all things football. 5 topics, 5 minutes, 5 people. Now you know why it's called 'The Focus 5'.

It might work and become a regular feature, or it might be a shambolic affair that never sees the studio lights again. You'll have a role to play, too, because the 'new' thing about this initiative is that we are not picking the subject matter. You are.

So if you have spent any part of the last few years complaining about what's on the programme or thought we missed a trick by not covering something, this is your chance to wield your editorial pencil. You can send your suggestions as a comment below or you can bung them on my Twitter page.

Obviously, we choose the five questions, but this could be the opportunity you've been waiting for. Hopefully, this satifies Mr Keown's blog cravings.

You can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/danwalkerbbc

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Whilst I welcome the change of pace and more professional tone of the blog this week I miss the food based frivolity. I trust this is a one off?
    Martin's sandwich of tuna seems rather bland, have you not schooled him in the way of the crazy combo? tut tut.
    Fox Force 5 sounds a little chaotic - 5 topics in 5 minutes - don't let Garth Crooks ask the questions!
    I look forward to seeing how it works though. Can you ask the panel if they think the "Big 4" is no more with the downturn of Liverpools form this season? Should it be Big 3 +1 for Champs League spots?

  • Comment number 2.

    Really enjoy your blogs, and the new things your trying out on focus!! Don't listen to Keown, everyone does love a sandwich, my personal fave is a pretty basic ham and cheese with mashed up boiled egg mixed in salad cream!!! Its Yummy!!

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Dan - a good read as always.

    How about something in your 'Focus 5' spot about Darren Fletcher - I'm certain he would walk into the first team at any of the other 'big 4' teams - discuss!

  • Comment number 4.

    Question fo 'focus 5'
    Who do you think has been the best signing this season so far?

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Focus 5,

    Do you think Defoe's penalty record will count against him when Capello comes to pick the England squad for the world cup?

    okay, a more serious one. I see a number of players pushing for a late call-up into the squad, Cattermole, Joe Cole, Downing, Hart... How many (and which) players do you think could make into the squad for the Egypt game?

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Dan,

    Don't be bullied by Keown, think he'll change his tune after everyone slates his sandwich. Self-preservation will kick in and he'll have to defend himself. If he's going for tuna, he's got to put it in a little torpedo roll, put some grated cheese on it and grill it. Of course, that would need to be dealt with straight from the grill, so I suppose it wouldn't work in an office situation.

    Anyway, in terms of questions, how about this. In terms of the race for fourth spot, out of Liverpool, Spurs, Villa and Man City, how well-equipped do the pundits think these sides are for Champions League football, and who would progress the furthest? I for one think City would be the most interesting candidate at the present time.

  • Comment number 8.

    I'd like to hear the panel's views on who would win in a fight between Accrington Stanley and the cast of Fame.

  • Comment number 9.

    Morning everyone...

    Thanks for the suggestions so far. My wife is not going to be happy. Her advice this week was similar to Keown's - steer clear of food. Of the comments so far almost everyone has mentioned sandwiches! You can't stop the juggernaut Mrs Walker.

    I am sitting opposite Coledog today so I am firing your topics at him as soon as they come in. Some have gone in the bag already. Keep them coming.

  • Comment number 10.

    You won't believe this Sausage Arms but you Stanley v Fame suggestion has already been binned by Mr Cole.

  • Comment number 11.

    Dan I need to open your mind to a new taste sensation. I had a packet of the new Chilli and Lime Pringles the other day and added my own dip, mango chutney. I urge anyone and everyone to try this, it will blow your mind.

    Good blog, keep it up. we need more culinary sensations!!

  • Comment number 12.

    "Everyone loves a sandwich don't they?"
    "I don't" (While eating a sandwich)
    Keown doesnt know what hes talking about.

    Anyway questions for the Focus 5
    1. With all the debt in football, do the pundits think that more clubs will eventually either do a leeds or go out of business altogether, and will that effect the quality of prem football
    2. Do the pundits think that Liverpool's season is a one-off and that they can scrap this season and get into Champo League next year

  • Comment number 13.

    Try getting someone who didnt play in the Arsenal back four on your sofa. Should be called the Arsenal forcus! or lets talk to Dixion, Keown, Adams, Winterburn and Seaman in 5 mins at the end of every show.

    Arsenal overload!!!!!

  • Comment number 14.

    Dan,
    Just last week I asked you to ping Keown about the RVN blast, and now it is up on the blogg. Ohh, how I laughed. Then I saw Cashley Hole on the left of the picture and did not feel so jolly.
    This is an Arsenal overload and it is great. Clearly Arsenal have had some very articulate and educated players over the years.

    I would like to see a little bit of your crazy food cocktails, but not too much. Next time you are out on the road try Jelly Beans (keep banging the same drum).
    I for one would love to read of more solid football from the Championship. You could do some great interviews with: the new up comign stars, or the old pros still fighting on, or some of the most interesting managers in the game. Give me the choice of who I would like to talk to from Gordon Strachan and Sir Alex (Dan, is his not talking to you a blessing or curse)and it would be Strachan all the time, or Neil Warnock and Ancelloti. Dave Jones has quite a story to tell at CCFC too.

    My main question would focus on the pre-madona mindset: How do the various managers 'handle' the 'I love myself' footballers who have no accomplishments other than kicking a ball around?

  • Comment number 15.

    Dan,
    One other thing,
    You know how suffering produces perseverance & perseverance character, character hope, ...
    Well thought I ought to let you know - with out any glee on my part- that it is snowing big time in CT and I am going to take time off work to build snow men and sledge with the fam.

  • Comment number 16.

    Garth Crooks is always so angry. I bet his kids go to bed on time.

  • Comment number 17.

    Dan did you try the chicken and peanut butter titan sandwich?? I want the food kept in it.. Keown may be clever but look at the success so far of your blog..

    My question is why does Garth Crooks do 'blue steel' everytime he finishes answering a question whilst completing the 'lean back' on the sofa??

  • Comment number 18.

    LOL!!

    One of the first 5 questions will have to be the best sandwiches/filling ever tasted!

  • Comment number 19.

    Mikey, I thought it was Le Tigre

  • Comment number 20.

    On a week where Celtic manager Tony Mowbray comes under increasing pressure, one of your questions has to be: can Tony Mowbray survive and be successful as Celtic manager?
    Another excellent blog Dan! Keep up the good work on Focus!

  • Comment number 21.

    Nice blog fella - and, even after all these years, how scary is that photo of Keown?

    Q for the 5.

    One of the skills of good management is getting the best out of the resources you have available. On that criteria alone, how good a manager is Rafa Benetiz this season?

  • Comment number 22.

    I would question who the panels pre-madonna star of choice is. Mine is probabaly a toss up of Mozart or Abba. Sandwich of choice - cheese and ham melt with tabasco, jalapenos and a thin layer of Bovril.

  • Comment number 23.

    Dan,
    You've got to keep the sandwich chat going - ignore Keown.
    Reckon Focus 5 should consider something along the lines of 'Foreign investers in British clubs - good or bad?' or 'Are business types stealing football's Soul?'.
    Re the greatest ever sandwich filling - the only thing that goes with chocolate spread is more chocolate spread!

  • Comment number 24.

    Hi Dan
    Great Blog
    Keown doesnt know what hes on about Sandwiches = taste sensation.
    I have a question for the focus 5.
    do they think over the next couple of years there will be a player exodus from the prem, with clubs debts racking up and not being able to offer the wages players demand, this also leads me onto another question (Sorry) should there be a global wage cap for football teams to stop debts geting out of hand?

  • Comment number 25.

    Dan, As an Arsenal fan I have happy memoris of Keown eyeballing opponents - but surely his advising you to lay off the crazy food combos is just plain wrong.
    There are times when a man just has to do what a man has to do - and I'd suggest that this is one of those times. Man it up, stare back at big martin and tell him slowly and clearly "No, bad martin, No," following this up with a tap on the nose with a newspaper if its appropriate!

  • Comment number 26.

    The cheek! Keown telling a journalist how to write a blog is like you giving him advice on how defend a free kick, and i don't think he'd appreciate that judging from the picture above..

    He should know the humble sandwich is a great British tradition.

    He's right about more stories from behind the scenes though, as that is the most valuable thing you can offer with the position you are in as a journalist. I agree with the other poster about covering more stuff from the Championship. Maybe i'm biased because my team play in that division but there must be some fascinating stories and events happening every week in the lower leagues that we don't normally get to see, where the gloss that exists in the Prem isn't an all pervading force.

  • Comment number 27.

    Afternoon everyone...

    Some excellent suggestions for topics. Cole is currently compiling a first draft and talking about how Focus 5 will work. Not sure how we're going to fit 5 people on the show!!!

    Before I get to sandwiches... Cuzza10 (#13) brings up the old thing about Arsenal bias. I take your point that we are Arsenal (and Liverpool) heavy in our pundits but they are all eloquent and successful footballers who played for the 'big' teams in their era.

    Good to see some strong support for the sandwiches and a couple of excellent fillings.

    DiegoforUtd (#2)"pretty basic ham and cheese with mashed up boiled egg mixed in salad cream"

    Anightatthechopra (#7) has lightened the mood with a mention of a submarine roll

    Clacko (#11) has gone off topic slightly with pringles and mango chutney but magical mango takes most things up a notch

    Mikey (#17) I haven't tried the sandwich yet because we are out of peanut butter in the Walker household. Leave it with me.

    sensibleworldofsteve (#22) breaks all records by mentioning tabasco, jalapenos and Bovril in the same sentence.

    Keep those suggestions coming in. I'm just about to eat some cake... it's Rachel 'Pato Banton' Paterson's birthday.







  • Comment number 28.

    Garth Crooks will be joining us for the Focus 5 this week.

  • Comment number 29.

    Hi dan

    Here are some topics for the famous five panel to debate

    1) The Uefa and other coaching badges. Why is it important to have them in football these days ? Who has done better over last five years managers with the licence or without, a comparison of promotions and play off victories.

    2) Should we ban/boycott the use of the 'vuvusela' in this years World Cup in South Africa, it spoils listening to the commentary, fans songs and should be left at rugby/cricket games in the southern hemisphere. I appreciate commentators want the event to be authentic african but did we hear the deafening noise of the mariachis when the cup was in mexico or blaring rock music during USA 94.

    3) Why dont British grown players ever try their chance in overseas leagues in the 21st century , more culture, better cuisine, weather and lifestlye. Players like Linker, Blisset, Gasgoigne tried it but what puts off british players following them...purely money ? Will this situation change in lieu of the tax rises in the Uk compared to Italy and Spain and will more professionals try it if the money was better ?

    4) A bizarre feature of pre and post match rituals and stories from the dressing room past and present, where the focus five get to recreate those moments. Didnt stevie nicol at liverpool used to read the match day programme before games.

    5) A feature on some of the more colourful/iconic past players/fans from the clubs around the country, their mascots, crazy fans and local food/drink dedicated to the club. maybe those bare chested nutters from the Owls like tango man, Newcastle, forest,etc

    best sandwich....

    Grilled pannini with chicken, olive oil and roasted vegetables

    ps, can you inform the MOD and Focus crew that the birmingham striker is called Chucho (the sound as in snow) not Choo Choo like a kids train !

  • Comment number 30.

    Mikey & pidgeGull - hahaha, not Ferrari then?

    Dan, ignore Martin Keown, since when has he ever been an expert on blogging? Gets on my nerves when people say "you know what we need to do" when it's clear they're about to tell you. Anyway stick with the sangers, and if you're ever in Newcastle covering the Toon take a trip to Dene's Deli in Jesmond who (certainly used to) make a superb chicken, banana & mango sandwich.

    In terms of my own creations I am very fond of tuna mayo (including sweetcorn and mini-diced green & red pepper) with cheese & pickle on either white or brown. Good with slices of those posh thick-cut seeded batch loaves all the supermarkets do and fat chunks of extra mature cheddar.

    For the Focus 5 maybe a discussion on luck and player confidence? Confidence makes all the difference at the top level and I often wonder how much it affects teams as well as individuals.

    As an example I didn't see much difference in the way Liverpool played at the start of this season compared with last and yet whereas they got some lucky wins last year and ended up challenging for the tiel this year there were some unlucky moments in defeats and they are struggling. Had they had a lucky win against Spurs and/or Villa early in the season do you think they would still be doing as badly?

  • Comment number 31.

    At 5:46pm on 28 Jan 2010, Dan Walker wrote:
    Garth Crooks will be joining us for the Focus 5 this week.

    Really?? Can you ask him to confirm that England have qualified for the World Cup Finals?

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi Dan

    As an Arsenal fan I will always have time for Keown, I do however think he has misinterpreted the spirit of this blog. Yes, it is indeed a footy related blog and I too enjoy the behind the scence insights which you afford us, it's always interesting stuff. BUT the food thread is this blogs hook/gimic it gets the banter going and in the cases of food competition (e.g No1 nut etc) it generates comments.

    Keep serving up the food related blogs and we'll keep eating them up.

    Question suggestion'.

    If possible I would like someone to shed some light on the PL's fit and proper persons investigations. With what has been happening at Utd, L'pool and recently Portsmouth I can't understand how it is possible that these owners were allowed to take over these clubs. (Especially Portsmouth)

  • Comment number 33.

    Dan

    Ignore keown the blogs have been good. The behind the scences stuff has been enjoyable and fun to watch. As a question for the famous focus 5, I was wondering who is the most overrated player, and underated player (though please dont mention fletcher, he's an overrated underrated player, if that makes sense) and the same for managers in the EPL?

  • Comment number 34.

  • Comment number 35.

    Clearly Keown must be a big fish fan - i was sat opposite him on Saturday evening at Loch Fyne fish restaurant in Oxford.
    He wasted no time polishing off a starter and main course, sorry did not stop to see if he had a pud.

  • Comment number 36.

    Dan,

    Love your blogs. I agree with everyone else. Ignore Keown. What does he know about blogging? In fact, tell him!

    My subject would be why can't the Premier League/Football League not accept a scottish team into their league? Not that I want to rid Scotland of Celtic or Rangers, but they soooo want to move dahn sarf for the big bucks. I mean, Swansea and Cardiff are successful there.

  • Comment number 37.

    Awesome blog... enjoy it every week.

    On the flip side, did anyone see the Jonathan Pearce video? Woeful

  • Comment number 38.

    Greetings Dan!

    I can't believe Keown has been sticking his oar in on your blog, all the chit chat about food etc was what made your blog different! I say ignore the haters and carry on regardless, if it aint broke, don't fix it!

    Focus 5 sounds like an interesting concept, I hope it doesn't turn into a shouting match for 5 minutes!

    I think an interesting topic would be Robinho's loan move to Santos, what does that mean for the club and the amount of money they spent on him, and what does this now mean for Robinho's career?

    Also, and I think someone has already asked this one, but, which signing in the last transfer window has made the biggest impact on their respective club?

    I reckon Keown and Dixon will sinlge out Vermaelen as one of the top runners for that crown.....

  • Comment number 39.

    Evening. My sister has just called in the middle of the latest Star Trek film!!! Last night it was 10 minutes before full time at Old Trafford.

    I has also just discovered that my computer is muffed up and logs on for a maximum of 2 minutes before falling over with some sort of technological thing.

    Sadly this means I cannot respond to your comments. I will get to them tomorrow morning at work. Soldier on maybe by the morning jpf (#35) will have got to the bottom of the Keown pudding investigation. My 2 minutes is up.

  • Comment number 40.

    Cheese and apple was recommended to me recently, a definite yes!

    My quick question - automatic red for diving. Yes or no?

  • Comment number 41.

  • Comment number 42.

    I like to browse the blog and I like football and sandwiches, so it works for me.
    I enjoyed the lower-leagueness of the cup weekend and especially the interviews with ordinary, excited, passionate, players, fans, and managers. It was in stark contrast to the bored post-Premiership managerial comments which are as white sliced as you can get. (Martin O'Neill types excepted. If I've recorded MOTD I usually fast forward those bits. I know we had some excitement in the Manchester v Manchester game but the Cup gives us some sort of proper football.
    I'm worried about the money in football. It brings us some great players to watch but the game must begin to step back, pause, evaluate and deal with the vulgar 'I want it all and I want it now' attitude. I'm sure you can phrase a question to the 5 on these lines. Keep up the good work. It's good to poke football with a sharp stick from time to time.

  • Comment number 43.

    Dan,

    Keep going with the blogs and ignore Keown !

    What do the panel consider to be the most serious issue for football at present, and what would they recomend be done about it ?

    Do any of the Arsenal boys know what's wrong with Arsene's eyesight ? Why has he never done anything about it ?

  • Comment number 44.

    Morning everybody.

    Still trying to get my head around the Star Trek film from last night.

    I think I should point out that Martin's suggestions were made with a modicum of jest and he was trying to help. It's good that he cares about the output even if he is misguided on food.

    An impressive 5 subjects from Jason Burnett (#29) and an excellent sandwich suggestion backed up by thebunshop (#30).

    Sitaol (#31) I will let Garth know!

    I like the suggestion about the transfer window OptimumDJ (#38) that has been added to Cole's bag of topics.

    Kevin Dunn has gone for culinary simplicity with cheese and apple (#40) and Ezlablog (#42) I am glad you enjoyed last weeks programme. It was nice to get some unusual faces on the programme and I thought Big John Hartson was great as well.

    Back in a mo with a rundown of what is on this week's show.

  • Comment number 45.

    Hello friends and fans of football. On this week's show we won't have much time for talk, because we'll be shoehorning in all the goals from midweek!

    We've got a special look at the fragile state of football finance, and England striker Darren Bent will be talking to Garth Crooks about a Sunderland side who are struggling to reach the heights of the early part of the season.

    Owen Coyle (Moses or Judas, you decide) will be talking about life at Bolton, Motty will be live at West Ham and hopefully chatting to one of their new owners. And we'll drop in on Billy Davies as Nottingham Forest prepare to face Derby in an all-East Midlands match at Pride Park.

    All that plus Africa Cup of Nations highlights, goals galore (did I already mention that?) and a brand new feature called Focus 5 - which you all of course know about already.

    See you at 1215 GMT on Saturday, live on BBC One.

  • Comment number 46.

    Hye Dan -

    Suggestion; The best player to play top division English football and only receive one cap from his country. Not none, not two, but one. That should nicely fit into one minute. And you can have that gratis.

  • Comment number 47.

    Morning Dan

    Enjoyed the blog as usual mate.
    Keep up the good work, and yes, I think you can tell that most enjoy the food debate thrown in there... How about a good old fish finger sandwich? Not had one for years, but damn they're good!

    As for transfer of the season, I may be labelled as biased, but I think one Niko Kranjcar should be up there! Definitely bargain of the season at £2-3m!

    The African Nations is always a crazy affair, Egypt Algeria last night was just bizarrely fantastic

  • Comment number 48.

    And you can't beat vintage mature cheddar cheese, red onion chutney, red onion itself, bacon, a good quality sausage (i.e. pork and apple, toulouse...) and decent butter on granary bread. Yes it's excessive and it does remind you of the last days of Rome but my god, is it worth the effort.

    That's now made me hungry but luckily through working in the city I also have the benefit of Fuzzy Grub round the corner - an entire hot roast dinner between two doorstops. Now that's progress.

  • Comment number 49.

    In response to (27)

    Are you trying to tell me keown and winterburn are "eloquent" speakers? Your better off with Dean Windass or Chris "talks pants" waddle.

  • Comment number 50.

    Dan,
    Three questions I would raise,one that addresses this blogg directly, the other not so directly.
    My main question would focus on the pre-madona mindset: How do the various managers 'handle' the 'I love myself' footballers who have no accomplishments other than kicking a ball around?

    Second, who would be more fun for you to interview A real character from the championship or league 1 /2 or some press savy tight lipped Director of football fromt he big Premiership clubs?
    You could do some great Championship interviews with: the new up coming stars, or the old pros still fighting on, or some of the most interesting managers in the game. Give me the choice of who I would like to talk to from Gordon Strachan and Sir Alex (Dan, is his not talking to you a blessing or curse)and it would be Strachan all the time, or Neil Warnock and Ancelloti. Dave Jones has quite a story to tell at CCFC too.

    Third among all this banter about sandwiches (I am on a diet so bummer - but it is working so the bummer is not so big) what do you make of jelly beans?

  • Comment number 51.

    Dan - this is social media - which is your form of online conversation and viewpoint.

    Its not a report of facts, its based on opinion and what matters to you and people need to remember that. If this means sandwich filling engages readers and illicits opinions that are constructive to your conversation then so be it. People who criticise fall in to two categories:
    1. Those who genuinely disageree with your viewpoint and constructively offer reasoned arguement as to why - these people are brilliant because they bring good value to the conversation.
    2. The other category is those who simply belittle and dismiss - these are the type of people who in conversation would use the phrase "whatever" - meaning they actually have nothing to bring to the table and are completely worthless to your chat - you wouldnt panda to these people in a pub conversation so dont do it here.

    To that end remember that this is YOUR chat so take it to where YOU want it to go.

    If you dont like this blog - start your own! Simples.

    And now to the matter in hand: A really good sandwich is ham and curried egg (boiled egg mayo as you would expect, but with a liberal splashing of curry powder/paprika/chilli powder/all of these) - I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

  • Comment number 52.

    Dont know if this is cheating (sandwichwise) but M&S do an American Deli Sandwich that is wonderful.

    I am currently typing one handed as I'm trying the sainsburys version of this it's entitled:
    British pastrami with Emmental, vine ripened tomato, gherkin & dill dressing & mustard mayonnaise with Apollo lettuce on slow fermented rye & caraway bread.

    No doesn't mean a thing to me either but still bursting with flavour.

    Question for Focus 5.
    Does the team think.........discuss.

  • Comment number 53.

    With the 50% tax band that footballer's wages attract in this country, are the 'Golden Years' of the Premier League over, and if so, which of Spain or Italy is best placed to be called 'The Best League in Europe'?

  • Comment number 54.

    Just filmed Friday Focus with Lawro in the graphics area. I will let you know when it goes on.

    GINOLLLLA (#47) Fully agree with the note about Kranjcar. What a purchase that was. I am trying to squeeze him into my fantasy league team.

    Thom (#48) I see where you are going but surely the red onion chutney and red onion is a bit too much... red onion! I am not ruling it out but I am slightly worried about it.

    blaenorynyclwyd (#50) I would always go for the character over the tight-lipped director but you have to add an editorial layer to it as well. If the tight-lipped director is talking about a big issue you still want to hear from him - even if he says very little. Hopefully there is usually room for both. Jelly beans are legendary by the way... the bigger the bag the better.

    rushers82 (#51) I do like a good rant and that is certainly what you have provided us with there. Well written and executed. I also enjoy the way you have taken a relatively simple ham and egg sandwich and ramped it up with curry powder!

    And Whatever (#52) what manner of food is this of which you speak "British pastrami with Emmental, vine ripened tomato, gherkin & dill dressing & mustard mayonnaise with Apollo lettuce on slow fermented rye & caraway bread". That sounds like a London sandwich. When we first arrived in the capital I popped out with a £20 note to get a simple egg mayonnaise roll and foolishly wandered into a deli where I emerged with a parma ham and crushed tomato foccacia, an organic chocolate slice and less than a tenner in change. Shambles.


  • Comment number 55.

    For me the ultimat sandwich has to be the Mcdonald Sandwich! (not a big mac) but from Selfridges on Oxford street! Very expensive and very pretentious but mind blowingly tasty and extremely filling!

    The ingredients of the sandwich are: Wagyu beef, fresh lobe foie gras, black truffle mayonnaise, brie de meaux, rocket, red pepper and mustard confit and English plum tomatoes.

    All for £85! not the most expensive in the world but in my opinion the best!


    Q for focus 5

    Do you think proposed UEFA financial regulation should be brought in and do you think they will actually make any difference?

    Can Wayne Rooney really be called world class until he has proved himself on at the highest level?

    What would the pannel introduce to force owners to manage club finances without crippling the clubs we all love?

    Keep up the good work Dan! and tell Keown to button it, whats he know about writting a blog????? the man doesnt even like sandwiches! He clearly knows nothing!

  • Comment number 56.

    Hi Dan,

    Here is my question for the Focus 5:

    In light of some poor refereeing and linesmanship at the ACoN and the continuing uncommittment to goal-line technology, do you think referee's should be held accountable and explain larger decisions in post-match debriefs?

    It'll soon get to the point that no one will question referee's in fear of touchline bans, when a lot of the time their accusations are more than reasonable.

  • Comment number 57.

    Somewhat jumping on the sandwich filling bandwagon but felt I had to add this combination in: Cheese (pref edam), Mustard, Chicken, Ham and Sweet Chilli Sauce-Gordon Ramsay would probably have a heart attack and what he would likely call a visually gastronomically (sorry poor spelling) catastrophe-but the taste is fantastico!

    With regards the Focus Five-I guess the first question I would ask the panel is how long before we see clubs in the prem start to fold due to financial mismanagement?

  • Comment number 58.

    @ dan

    There is a lot i posted to keep you guys going but one more final question which could be covered , especially with Brighty and garth Crooks having knowledge of african football and the final being this weekend.?

    Question...

    Taking into account Pele's comments that 'one day an African Nation will win the World Cup', do the team focus 5 team having seen all the major contenders this january really believe that this can happen or is it as likely as a nick clegg leading the lib dems to victory this may !

    I think Egypt are probably one of the better sides in terms of ball retention, tactical awareness, etc but they wont be there. I was thoroughly dissapointed with what was on offer and i think a quarter final place if the best the african nations can hope for this year even with home support.

    Dan, if you get up to Wolverhampton with the football roadshow ill let you know where to find that excellent sandwich shop there in the town centre that serves the trully amazing grilled pannini's with philly cheese, chicken tikka, roasted vegebtables, etc..

    ps...i dont know about the Ant & Dec comparison with you and Lawro , he seems more of a chuckle brother..lol...does Hansen get annoyed with anyone who site on his special seat on the MOD sofa ?

  • Comment number 59.

    Full of ideas late at night, must be the cheese in my sarnies keeping me up !

    Great 5 min topic for Focus Five...Name their Premiership Team of the Decade..

    Mine based on form in the league only over that time

    Reina
    Carragher
    Terry
    Hyppia
    A Cole
    Beckham
    keane
    Lampard
    Giggs
    Shearer
    Henry

    beat that ! im sure there would be a fight for the captaincy though between Keane and Shearer,

  • Comment number 60.

    Jason Burnett, premiership team of the decade is a good idea, though i do question some of your inclusions, for me it would be

    Given(over the last decade,way better and more consistant than Reina)
    Garragher( I'll give you that, strong consistant player)
    Terry( As much as i don't like him, great leader for Chelsea)
    Ferdinand(has to be ahead of Hyppia over the 10 years)
    A.Cole(I think Evra is better, but Cole has been quality over the decade)
    Ronaldo(Becks left in 03,so didnt play enough this decade,Ronaldo legend)
    Gerrard(this decade has been quality,Keane 90's player of the decade!!)
    Lampard(give u that)
    Giggs(Obviously)
    Henry(quality)
    Rooney(Shearer like Keane in his prime in the 90's)




  • Comment number 61.

    what is the name of the song played at the end of football focus during the arsenal man utd preview

  • Comment number 62.

    @mike - the song at the end was "Crystalised" by The xx.

  • Comment number 63.

    how long does it take for the moderators to check my bloody message?!

  • Comment number 64.

    on the team of the decade thing i think we could go one further and have a Since the formation of the premiership top XI (i admit the title needs a little work)

    GK - Schmeichel (there is no other contender)
    LB - A.Cole
    RB - Carragher (ok, I admit more of a CB but the only other oprion G. Nev and that was never gonna happen!)
    CB - Terry (No need to comment, would wlak into any team in the world)
    CB - Tony Adams
    RM - Ronaldo (possibly the best, if not 1 of top 3)
    CM - Cantona (Ultimate legend)
    CM - Gerrard (best English player for a generation)
    LM - Giggs (If he was English they may have actually won something in recent memory)
    FW - Zola (Legend! Immense skill and a true gentleman)
    ST - Shearer (his record says it all)

    Just out of curiosity, how much do you think these players would be worth in todays transfer market??????? Debate.........

  • Comment number 65.

    £85 sandwich???? You have got to be kidding! A new suspension arm for my P reg saxo cost less than that bad boy Alex (#55).

    Excellent sandwich from flaminhaggis (#57) and Jason Burnett thanks for the offer... I might take you up on that advice when we venture into wolverhampton(#58).

    Some solid suggestions for team of the decade. Tough to pick... I would definitely stick Rooney in there - the boy is looking tastier than ever at the mo.

  • Comment number 66.

    Another good blog and FF Dan. Looked as though Lawro got his wages this week as he seemed to be in good form all weekend.

    Good point made above (26.) - stick to what you think you know something about!

    We have a local sandwich chain called "The Steat" who do a lovely "a little bit of Christmas" joby filled with the usual Turkey, Ham, Stuffing and Cranbury sauce. Hard to beat.

    The Focus 5 I thought went down well. something new and fresh giving us the opportunity to contribute. A few Q's:

    1. Who will win the Champions League and why?
    2. Will Roy Keane be sacked again this summer after doing nothing at Ipswich?
    3. Would any of the Focus 4 consider football management if the "right" offer and conditions came about? Lawro talks a good game. Would love to see in the thick of it. (with all due respect Lawro of course)
    4. YOu caould do once a month - Predict the top 4 and bottom 3 for end of season, althoug this may get boring.
    5. Would Tevez's current form be as good if he was playing week in week out for United this season, or did he need that move to be given more space to shine? I think if he was still at United he wouldn't be as good.

    Can I make a couple of points please: Lee Dixon said yesterday he could have played in Uniteds back four yesterday because they had nothing to do - Dixon your right, but sorry United wouldn't want you!! on a positive note I enjoyed his commentary and thought he was very good at it. Dan - would you ever do it if given the opportunity?

    I think United won't be taken over, but will be ok as long as Sir Alex has the final say regarding buying/selling players. If they sell Rooney for business reasons, my respect and support for the club will fade out like a QPR manager.

    MB


  • Comment number 67.

    I eat my words re Keano. Ispwich have just signed David Healy for a while. Lets hope he can get fit and find the form he's capable of. Who knows what might happen!!

    MB

  • Comment number 68.

    @dan

    I thought the focus five thing worked ok last week although the lads did seem a bit overwhelmed at first when talking off the cuff. Funniest moment of the last show was Garth getting his grammar consistently mixed up around the blogging website with Darren Bent...' so what happens when youve made a twitter ??? bless.

    It is also good to see lawro has stopped wearing those 'harry hill' type shirts with the massive collars ! Did he make that decision himself or was it the BBC wardrobe department ?

    The interview with the other managers and ground visits, etc seemed to be all done very quickly which i presume was cos of the large amount of goals you neeeded to fit in the show. It would be good soon to see some features and inside the grounds themselves more and i think teams like Birminham, Stoke, Villa, Everton could be featured with Bournemouth, blackpool, Charlton, Dagenham, Rochdale, Cardiff, and some interviews with their managers, theyve all done well this season.

    Up the mariners !

  • Comment number 69.

    Important matters first....a sandwich recipe from my student days...takle one pastie, heat it up in a microwave, pop it between two slices of bread, lots of brown sauce....surprisingly good.

    A quick question about Lawro, Lee and Jocky. When they discuss football amongst themselves is it the kind of stuff that a reasonably knowledgable supporter would come out with or do they have a mystical, zen-like understanding of the game and have to dumb it down for the telly?

  • Comment number 70.

    Suggestions for the Focus 5

    If you were playing now, which opponent would you be dreading having to play against?

    Management...never say never?

    Which ground do you wish you played at but never got the chance?

  • Comment number 71.

    Come on everyone,

    Save your comments on Focus 5 for this week's blog.

    jason burnett (#68) Lawro's shirts are all his own work. There is no costume department interaction with those bad boys and cheeseisthedevilswork (#70) I think I can answer the last one for Mr Dixon.

    He wished he'd have played at Craven Cottage because that was the only one of the 92 league clubs at the time that he hadn't played on.

    Oh, and excellent sandwich news although I don't think the pasty and bread combo would fit well with the low carb diet that everyone seems obsessed with.

    New blog should either be up today or tomorrow friends.

 

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