Answers to your questions
Hello people. I trust all is well out there. I got a letter last week. It was a rather angry one. Thankfully I don't get too many furious letters but this was a good one. It was from a Blackpool fan who was a little bit miffed that I said on Focus that his team played in orange.
In truth I should have known better. I used to work in the north-west of England and I am well aware that a) they play in tangerine and b) their supporters get very moody if you describe it as "orange".
The letter was about 7/10 on the rage scale - sections of capital letters also take you into the 7-10 bracket. The phrase "HAVE YOU GOT IT?" was repeated several times and the answer is, yes, I have got it and I aim to avoid any colour-based confusion over the rest of the season.
Anyway, normally the letters and emails I get are at least a little friendlier so I thought I would take the opportunity to answer some of the regular questions that we get sent through.
What was the first game you ever commentated on?
That one is locked away in the memory banks. I went to a game at Chesterfield as a reporter in 1998 but my first commentary involved a trip to Oakwell for a game between Barnsley and Stockport in 1999.
I was working for Piccadilly Radio in Manchester and the game ended in a 2-1 win for Barnsley with the mighty Mike Sheron bagging a brace.
I remember it was freezing cold and I needed the toilet for almost the entire match. There were a few minutes of added time at the end and it almost sent me over the edge.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The answer to this changes depending on when I get asked it but if you are looking at sheer euphoria it would be commentating on England against Greece at Old Trafford in 2001.
It was the World Cup qualifier where David Beckham was out of this world and England needed a point to go through after Germany had drawn their match (which I seem to remember was against Finland).
Teddy Sheringham bagged to make it 1-1 but Greece scored almost immediately and then - deep into added time - Beckham placed the ball down and this was my commentary...
"Well. What a finish this could be. David Beckham lines up one of the most important free kicks of his career. If ever you needed to hit one, well, right now would do very nicely.
"It's finished nil-nil in Germany... all we [I'd lost all objectivity by this point] need is a goal. Can David Beckham supply it?
"YES HE CAN... YES HE CAN... UNBELIEVEABLE! IT'S UNBELIEVABLE! DAVID BECKHAM HAS TAKEN ENGLAND TO THE WORLD CUP!"
I went a bit Bob the Builder with the 'YES HE CAN' bit but it was a wonderful moment to be part of. I was getting hugged by the co-commentator, things were going crazy and the mixture of relief and hysteria will be hard to match.
How many people work on Focus?
It doesn't matter - it's all about me! (I'm kidding) About 25 is the answer to that. We have an editor and a director, who are the top dogs, and then there are six or seven producers who put the pieces together, four or five cameramen and six or so video editors, who cut the items you see on the TV.
We have a production assistant who times the program, sorts out all the scripts and tells you when to shut up at the end. There is someone on autocue, sound, lighting and a floor manager who is the boss in the studio.
During the program there are also a stack of people in a place called VT where all the pieces are played out from. The person in charge down there is called the "sweeper" - a bit like Ronald Koeman but without the range of passing. They are ably assisted by a set of nice blokes who do technical things which make my head hurt.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone wanting to work in the media what would it be?
I would split that one piece of advice up into three sections:
1) Try and have an idea of what area you want to go into. Get some work experience if you can and if you like radio - concentrate on that. If telly gets your juices flowing then make that your focus. Once you've decided move to 2.
2) Practice. There is an element of broadcasting which is natural but a large percentage of it is either learnt of taught and a lot of that can be done in the comfort of your own home. If you want to be on TV get in front of a mirror and present - and be harsh on what you see. If it's radio, then listen to the people you like and try and emulate their best bits in your own style.
Try and imagine what you would say if someone came to you for a report right now. If you see yourself as more of a print journalist then get your quill out! Start a blog, send articles to everyone you can think of or write a match report and compare it to the ones on the back pages.
Once you are as good as you can be it's time for step 3.
3) Take the opportunity. "The media" is more competitive than ever so when you get a chance take it and work your butt off to make yourself indispensible in the shortest period of time. Don't annoy people, leave your attitude at the door and show them that, when a bigger opportunity comes along, you are worth taking a chance on.
Right comrades - if you've got any more questions then fire them down and I will either deal with them in the comments section or return to them in a later blog. Thanks again for reading this entry and if you want to follow the progress of this week's show the best way to do it is at http://twitter.com/danwalkerbbc
P.S. I am wearing orange socks - not a hint of tangerine!