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Football Focus visits Downing Street

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Dan Walker | 12:28 UK time, Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Greetings one and all! With all eyes on Zurich this week I thought I would give you a behind-the-scenes look at our Football Focus exclusive with Prime Minister David Cameron.

I know politicians polarise opinion - especially when they talk about football - but David Cameron (along with Prince William, David Beckham and others) has a crucial role to play this week and it was the perfect time to get his views on all things 2018.

As you read this - as long as it's before Thursday - he is probably involved in some sort of meeting with a Fifa delegate trying to persuade them that England is the place to be in eight years.

You can always tell when we've got an important interview lined up on Focus because you get phone calls from lots of BBC big hitters. There were all sorts of people interested in what we would be asking, what line we would take and what we were doing with it afterwards. It was also important to make sure that we were on safe ground editorially and didn't need to balance things up by speaking to every political party out there.

The Panorama programme obviously added a little more weight to the interview and, in the end, it was Mr Cameron's quote about being "frustrated" that made BBC News at Six and Ten last Friday and the newspapers on Saturday. I'll be honest, there was something very satisfying about Fiona Bruce saying "you can see the full interview with the prime minister on Football Focus tomorrow at 1215 on BBC One."

dan10.jpgGetting comfortable at Number 10

We received confirmation from Number 10 last Wednesday that the prime minister would be available the following day at 1630 GMT. We needed to be at Downing Street from 1500 to set up. Editor Mark Cole, director Ian Finch and I all left BBC TV Centre together (suited and booted) and wandered past the Number 10 security guards at 1450.

I remember going to Downing Street on a school trip back in the early 1990s. The policeman outside the front door confiscated a tennis ball that my friend and I had been playing football with on the coach journey there. I did enquire if it was still knocking around in lost property but sadly there was a negative response.

Behind the most famous front door in the world we were ushered upstairs to a room that was Margaret Thatcher's study during her time as chief and was also used by Sir Winston Churchill for his afternoon naps!

Nothing is ordinary in Downing Street. In the corner was some authentic rock from the moon - a gift from the American president back in the 1960s.

While we were setting up, there was a healthy debate about what type of sofa we should use. With fellow ambassador Gary Lineker present as well, we needed enough space for both of them but didn't want it so padded that they were on a 45 degree angle. Normally in these situations, we would move furniture ourselves but when the couch is a gift from Tsar Nicholas II, Number 10 are understandably cagey about who lifts what.

With the room prepared, we had a discussion with communications director Andy Coulson and the prime minister's media team about questions, agreeing that the cameras would be rolling from the moment he stepped into the room.

He arrived, on time, straight from a meeting with the Swedish consulate. We spoke for a couple of minutes and then got down to business. The interview lasted about 15 minutes and made a significant chunk of last week's show which you can see here...

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After the interview, we posed for the official photograph and then I asked the PM if he wanted to take on Lawro in our Premier League predictions challenge. When I told him Alastair Campbell was top of the table, that seemed to clinch it! So, this is what the prime minister thinks will happen this weekend. He's an Aston Villa fan by the way!

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We said our goodbyes, packed up and left. There was a great moment as we departed. We walked out the door at 1705, just as Adam Boulton was doing a live for Sky News. Sadly, I can't post it on here but you can see us all wandering about in the background carrying massive bags. To say we looked a little dodgy is something of an understatement.

The thing I took away from meeting the PM is that - both on and off camera - he is 100% behind the bid. Whatever you think of his politics or football knowledge, if he has a positive impact in Zurich this week that can only be good for football in this country.

The reaction to 2018 will obviously make up a large part of this week's show - 1215 GMT on BBC One - and we'll have a chat with Owen Coyle about how well Bolton are doing at the moment.

As ever if you've got any questions or comments about this blog or the show them whack them down below. You can follow all the build-up to Saturday's show at twitter.com/danwalkerbbc where last week's themed football team was a Lord of the Rings XI. I will leave you with that this week. See you soon.

Manager
Gandalf Ramsey

Squad
Peter Smeagol
Gollum Davidson
Jan Aragorn of Hesselink
Saruman Kalou
Arwen Robben
Bobby Mordor (c)
Jean-Pierre Pippin
Theoden Walcott
Aragorn Lennon
Vinny Samwise
Legolassana Diarra
Boromir Zenden
Alfrodo Di Stefano
Dwight Orc

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    I must say as an Asian English Football fan...its just amazing to see your Prime-Minister being so passionate and involved of the game...inspired i must say of the footballing culture...although his prediction of the Liverpool Villa game is just ridiculous

  • Comment number 3.

    Headache cures are always welcome.

    If we get the world cup all ambassdors can come round and enjoy the gazebo of joy!

    So Dan, what did you steal, admit you stole didnt you, you stole something ministerly didnt you!!

    apparently steaming pyjamas are bad.

    Noted!

    Lord fesslewick

  • Comment number 4.

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

  • Comment number 5.

    Cameron said a lot of good things, though I admit I'm not a fan of him or his party in general. I liked his prediction of 6-0 to Villa this weekend as well, there's something about Villa and that scoreline this season isn't there!

    Good blog and cracking programme as always. Focus has got a lot better these past few years, keep up the good work Dan.

  • Comment number 6.

    Good afternoon Dan,

    One thing I have always wanted to know...Number 10's door always looks so shiny on TV, but you never see anyone polishing it or re-painting it...Don't suppose you did?!

    I really do hope our bid doesn't fail because of the Panarama programme, I can't help but feel they should have perhaps waited until after the winner was announced. I would love to know your honest opinion on this, but understand you may not wish to bite the hand that feeds you (although if you were to whisper it to me I wouldn't tell anyone, honest)!

    Dick Dastardly

  • Comment number 7.

    gimli floyd hasslebank
    eowyn hargreaves

    thats my lot

  • Comment number 8.

    just realised i didn't post my message,

    dan, did downing st produce any snacks, tea and biscuits per say, during the interview. it would be nice to see someone enjoy my taxes.

    Helm Hammerhand

  • Comment number 9.

    Marcus Ent

  • Comment number 10.

    Sauron Atkinson
    The Silbrasillians
    The Return of Ledley King

  • Comment number 11.

    Tough one this week. All I can think of is...Boromiroslav Klose

    Dan, in that pic you look like a giant compared to the PM and Lineker! Are you Treebeard in disguise??


    Peter Jackson

  • Comment number 12.

    Rohan Elmander....

  • Comment number 13.

    Gandalf Ramsey-- haha, nice one

    Yeah interesting blog Dan, well done on getting DC to do the predos for this weekend (although as a United fan, not best pleased about his predo for us!!) But I assume he isn't the biggest football fan on earth...

    Gary does look a little awkward on the same sofa as someone else for once! Let alone the PM!!

  • Comment number 14.

    Luis Arangornes

    Hobbit Bermudez (mexican left mid)

  • Comment number 15.

    The Two Toures (Kolo and Yaya)
    Galadriel Agbonlahor
    Dani Elves

  • Comment number 16.

    peter treebeardsley

    also looks like he belongs in middle earth

  • Comment number 17.

    They would have to play games against Athletico Bilbo and Heart of Midlothlorien wouldn't they?

    BTW what were the Downing Street biscuits like?


    David Wetherall

  • Comment number 18.

    Theoden-nis Wise
    Sau-ron Saunders

    Lord of the Rings is certainly popular with the punter's on here.

    What would your World Cup 2018 host city prediction be...? Do you think they will want to go to somewhere they haven't before, and take it to Russia?

    It'll be mildly interesting to see what David Cameron has predicted, and how close he'll be. At least he was sporting in joining in.

    Will be quite interesting to hear what Owen Coyle has to say as Bolton have certainly been a revelation this season. It is making a nice change to see some other clubs up there and doing well, such as Bolton, Sunderland, and Newcastle. It was rather bizarre to see last weekend that the Newcastle managers position was again a point of discussion. It would be utterly bizarre to destroy what they have up there considering how low they had sunk to previously in the Premier League. Some people never learn... if they don't give the guy a chance, and all future managers at that place, they will never win anything again (well in our lifetimes anyway).

    Jack Regan

  • Comment number 19.

    PS Hard to believe Gary Lineker is 50 already... the memories of 1990 are still pretty strong. All those childhood heroes are middle-aged!

    Ray Doyle

  • Comment number 20.

    From footy show presentor to polotical correspondant, not bad Dan.

    But as others have inquired, was there no nosh available at number 10? It's nice that it has some posh furniture in there but we need to know what was on the snack trolley and you're usually the man with the plan when it comes to such info'.

    I'd advise the PM not to give up his day job (as if he'd want to) as his predo skills leave a lot to be desired, but then again that's never stopped Lawro has it? ;p.

    I nominate Calos Tevez as captain of your LOTR team. Always thought he looked a bit orc-ish.

    John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.

  • Comment number 21.

    Nice piece Dan. Your pre-interview instructions with the PM seemed a bit like the interviewer on 'V' being told to put a positive spin on the Alien visitors or there 'd be consequences!

    Question is did you ger to touch the Moon Rock...many people reach for the Moon and touch the stars...you get to do both (although the latter sounds a bit dodgy heh ;) ?

  • Comment number 22.

    Good to see some genuine humanity from a guy whose political agenda I unfortunately disagree with. And a Villa fan to top it off.

    I agree wholeheartedly with his predo of 6-0, and anyone who complains about it should lighten up!

    Its only a game!

  • Comment number 23.

    He seems to know as much about football as he does with his economics... the Americans seem to think so too!

    Fortunately, he is a good PR man.. so he is backing this doomed bid.

  • Comment number 24.

    Sadly we can take Mr Camerons 'interest' in football with a large pinch of salt. It's funny how politician's, particularly Tories, become interested in the beautiful game only when things aren't going so well in the political World?

    Add in the kudos on 'one' appearing to be 'with the man on the street' by supporting the World Cup bid, and you can top off his latest exercise in cynicism.

    I'm not surprised in the least that the BBC decided to send someone to interview their hero on his conversion to the WC cause.

    Politicans (of any colour) and sport.

    They don't mix.

  • Comment number 25.

    #24
    Seb Coe was a Tory peer, then going back a little further you have Colin Moynihan, another Tory, who was an Olympian I believe, and then Menzies Campbell of the Lib Dems who was also an athlete. I do agree though that it can be very cringeworthy when a politician makes a fool of themselves with regards to Sport, or Entertainment in general. However, its clear that its important to have strong political backing for Olympic and World Cup bids, and if its something that will help the economy, then the country needs all the cash it can get. If you're also a football fan, then you benefit even further.

    Jim Hacker

  • Comment number 26.

    Evening all.

    Thanks for comments so far. Will get back to your questions tomorrow. It's too late and I'm in a mood about what happened at St Andrews.

    Ed Milliband

  • Comment number 27.

    It's good seeing the more human side of public figures like the PM coming through on here regardless of whether you agree with his policies.

  • Comment number 28.

    Can't stand Lord of the Rings.

    There is a pub in Summertown,Oxford called The Eagle and Child(the bird and baby as it's known locally)where a number of writers used to meet and discuss their work as part of a group called the Inklings.

    It is said that JRR Tolein started reading more of his book to the club,at which CS Lewis said "Not more ******* elves"

    I'm with him on that one.

    Colin Dexter

  • Comment number 29.

    # 26 Dan Walker

    Frustrations understood. But if FIFA are going to look into the behaviour of idiotic fans to not give England the World Cup, then surely the mass racism that players have been subjected to in Spain must count against them?

    One incident in a minor league game caused Eto'o to try and leave the field of play, plus a meaningless international friendly with England was destroyed by racist chanting throughout. Would FIFA risk a high profile game going the same way as this?

    Last night was a security issue, and i'd be suprised if the amount of stewards, officials and security was not at least doubled for a World Cup match.

    Aled Haydn-Jones

  • Comment number 30.

    So what did a helicopter bid do for your bid? Hold the jackets?

    Did someone explain to Cameron that it was the wrong shaped ball and no friendly rucking would be involved at the meet-and-greet.

    Did someone explain to Becks just why he was there?

  • Comment number 31.

    Gimli Varadi

    Wile E. Coyote

  • Comment number 32.

    @25, this is the problem. Do we really want the World cup? Commercially it's actual benefits are being called severely into question. It recently emerged that once FIFA took their slice (virtually all of the revenue) that Germany didn't do very well at all out of their WC..................in fact there was a nasty suggestion that they didn't actually make anything at all.

    In terms of prestige, well yes, it's always prestigious to host a WC event, but who benefits (long term) from 'prestige'?

    As a sporting event, which the WC was once all about, the whole thing has long been a flop. FIFA's interference on the pitch has reduced the games to boring farces at groups stages, and in the latter stages the reward stifles the incitement to entertain.

    Add in that very few 'real' fans see WC's any more, and you do wonder, beyond a chance for polticians and sporting figures to wave the flag, just what the fuss is all about?

  • Comment number 33.

    If England win the World Cup bid this afternoon, a large slice of that will be down to Cameron turning up in Zurich and speaking to the deligates. The fact that Russia had all but been awarded it 2 days ago, shows what influence he has.

  • Comment number 34.

    #25

    I think you make very fair points. I have to admit, I wasn't aware of what you say about FIFA taking a very large slice of the revenue from Germany '06 (and presumably South Africa 10?) which would indicate a poor deal for the host country. I don't know whether the World Cup in Germany has increased football tourism there as I know quite a few people from this country like to go and watch games there. The attractions have been covered on this blog previously, but people like the fact you can stand on terraces there, have a drink, and enjoy what seems to be a safe, vibrant atmosphere.

    I suppose another concern is that you don't just want any cash benefits being swallowed by what is already a very rich industry in this country, and that you want industries and businesses not directly involved with football to also benefit. If that happens, then I think it could be a worthwhile boost to the country. I guess a less tangible benefit is the boost it can give to the country, a la Euro 96, which seemed to give a real morale boost to many people - helped of course by England's performances.

    You are right that many of the matches can be dull - I'm not sure what the solution is to that. You of course get plenty of exciting matches, but they are balanced by the mind-numbing ones.

    It would be nice to think that a World Cup in this country would be organised more with the fans in mind when it comes to ticketing, as seems to have been attempted with the 2012 Olympics, albeit there are some very expensive tickets. Football does sadly seem to be more bothered about how much cash it can make. I hope a balance might be struck.

    On another note, the blog seems to be very quiet this week... seems that whenever the link is moved from the main Sport page, that activity slows down on here.

    Charlie Brooker

  • Comment number 35.

    The Panorama programme was a huge piece of mischief making by the BBC. Someone clearly decided to screen it at the most inappropriate week possible. I hope the BBC will have the steel to close themselves down throughout forthcoming World Cups if our bid fails. The credit will go nowhere near the BBC if our bid wins.

  • Comment number 36.

    #35
    Should possible corruption be swept under the carpet merely for the sake of convenience though? I was a little surprised that the three most publicised allegations related to quite a few years ago admittedly, but the IOC are clearly treating it seriously as they're investigating one of the FIFA people who is also on the IOC.

    After all, corruption was sniffed out with the IOC in relation to Salt Lake City for the Winter Olympics, so if it exists in FIFA, then it should be rooted out. From the BBC's point of view, its probably inevitable they would screen the programme at the time of the bid - that's commercial sense. I guess it all depends where you see responsibility lying for all the issues involved.

    Good King Wenceslas

  • Comment number 37.

    No. 36: "commercial sense"? Since when has the BBC been a commercial operation? I thought it got its billion pound budget through the compulsory licence fee. The alleged corruption could have been kept back another few days in the national interest. Clearly Panorama has no national integrity and deserves every ounce of disgust that has been levelled at it.

  • Comment number 38.

    Excellent blog Dan. What was the Downing Street food like?

    And what about 'Radagast the Wes Brown'? Samuel E'to Gangee? Michael Eowyn?


    Lee Young-Pyo

  • Comment number 39.

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

  • Comment number 40.

    Dear Daniel Son - quite an achievement young man getting to Downing Street, your mother must have been proud. So tell me, because I'm dying to know, what was Gary Lineker really like? Is he as nice off camera as he is on it? I sometimes wonder if he's secretly a little agressive off camera; with those ears who could blame him huh, or if he's the kind of guy who would give you his last rolo. Has he ever given you a Rolo Dan?

    What does Cameron smell like? I imagine he'd probably smell a little bit of butter. And maybe leather.

  • Comment number 41.

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

  • Comment number 42.

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

  • Comment number 43.

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

  • Comment number 44.

    Sounds like Spain/Portugal and Qatar might do it... hmm.

    Russ Abbott

  • Comment number 45.

    Half right... money rules in football.

    Gordon Gekko

  • Comment number 46.

    Right here we go then…

    Come back Helena Hope #1. Would like to know what you kicked things off with - as long as it's nice.

    Andy Connor #3 you become increasingly ludicrous as the week's go by… I love it. Someone in the office asked if I knew you this week. In the nicest possible way I was delighted to say that I didn’t. Keep them coming.

    Steviemac14 #5 thanks big man. Glad you are enjoying it.

    England_TheGreatEscape #6 I didn't see anyone polishing the door but I hear that it happens every single morning.

    Don_eamo #8 sadly no snacks although there was a cup of tea

    Luke Giles #11 I am a large human but you're right - I do look a little huge.

    Siralexferguson #13 He's more of a cricket and tennis man apparently but he does enjoy watching the villa.

    Surreybloke123 #19 Owen Coyle went down very well by the way. I think you'll enjoy his interview.

    Joc #21 Sadly - I only found out about the moon rock after I'd left the room… shambolic miss from me.

    Nelly #24 I know what you mean but it's good to get him on none the less.

    Stew 10 #30 You win cynic of the week brother. Sterling work.

    I know a lot of you want me to comment on Panorama but I believe it would be unwise.

    Windsor Horne Lockwood III #40 Lineker is a top man and the prime minister does indeed smell of leather!

    Right. Strange old week. Looking forward to the fan fests in Qatar in 2022!!!

    Keep the comments coming brother and sisters.

    Vladimir Putin

  • Comment number 47.

    #46 Dan wrote: 'I know a lot of you want me to comment on Panorama but I believe it would be unwise.'

    ..sometimes silence speaks volumes ;)

    Good luck to Russia and Quatar. Do you think we'll be on stand-by again and that's why we're never picked?

    Hate to say iy but the voting is gettng more loke Eurovision every time! :(

    Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin

  • Comment number 48.

    #47 Crikey my spelling's gone the way of our bid!!

    Abdul-A-Bul-Bul-Amir

  • Comment number 49.

    Very disappointed that England did not win but I can understand that Russia deserves to have a go. I have not read the Russian bid, so are they staging the WC in the whole country (9 time zones) or just in the European part of Russia?

    From a security point of view Qatar is a huge gamble. Does Blatter know something about Al Quaeda'a future intentions that the CIA and MI6 do not? Plus Iran has the missile capabilty to cause the Qatar "air conditioning" to go pop.

  • Comment number 50.

    #48
    There's a real blast from the past! I can remember the advert now...

    Apparently England got TWO votes! Sounds like some "promises" made to vote weren't kept.

    Looking forward to Coyle's interview... could be an early contender for Manager of the Year if Bolton could keep it going. I like the way he has added some footballing style, if I may call it that, to their play this season.

    Secret Lemonade Drinker

  • Comment number 51.

    2 votes for England. Geoff Thompson is nailed on so that's 15 million quid for just one vote!

    Huckleberry Finn

  • Comment number 52.

    Are you suggesting by the sign off the other vote's got to be Chuck Blazer :( .....for the 'motherland' of football to be so loved heh!?

    Et tu, Brute?

  • Comment number 53.

    Instead of making wisecracks, why doesn't anyone at the BBC take some bloody responsibility?

    You people make the majority of the UK, who are forced to pay for your profilgacy and massive downturn in standards, sick to the core.

  • Comment number 54.

    Right...

    CoalitionOfTheWilting #53 Bold statement there chief. Do you have any figures to back that up?

    You are right though... I take full responsibility for this, the assassination of President Kennedy and the disappearance of Lord Lucan.

    It's not my job to defend the BBC and but are you honestly telling me that Russia won the right to host the 2018 world cup because of a 30 minute programme last Monday night?

    Let me encourage you to watch Football Focus on Saturday - you might be interested to know how far back Russia and Qatar seemed nailed on for 2018 and 2022.

    May I politely suggest that you don't post comments when you are furious sir. I'm sure you are normally a far more measured individual.

    Speak to you soon.

    You people

  • Comment number 55.

    So that'll be a 'no', then.

    Hubris at its best.

  • Comment number 56.

    And I stopped watching Football Focus to any great degree a long time ago. It's just awful.

    But if what you say is true and the BBC had an inkling of what was going to happen, why was it kept quiet until now? Or wasn't it in the public interest?

    (I see FIFA have released the 2018 logo already, btw.)

    http://img130.imageshack.us/img130/4988/fifa18logo.jpg

  • Comment number 57.

    54

    Will Football Focus also examine the erratic voting that occured in both 2018 1nd 2022 between the first and second rounds? Why would 2 delegates vote for Netherlands/belgium in round 1 but switch their preference to Russia in round 2 for 2018?

    Such behaviour is bizarre to say the least.

  • Comment number 58.

    "It's not my job to defend the BBC"

    You bloody work for it!!!

    Unbelievable.

  • Comment number 59.

    Tempers are bound to be a little frayed after the disappointment of yet another defeat for our game. Dan, you are really teasing us with that comment about Russia and Qatar being 'nailed on' for ages.

    The rights and wrongs of the Panorama documentary are really questioned, it's time of it's showing that winds most people up. Surely it would have been much more effective after the vote - if we'd won (which seems unlikely now we hear what the voting was) - now any accusations about the winners will sound like sour grapes unfortnately.

    By the way what were your whereabouts at the exact time of Shergar's disappearance Dan?

    Violet Beauregarde

  • Comment number 60.

    JoC,

    That's the problem with an organisation like the BBC - they pass the buck with such bare-faced arrogance whilst dipping their fingers into our pockets.

    Nobody is ever to blame at the BBC. Just ask Ray Snoddy.

  • Comment number 61.

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

  • Comment number 62.

    "#58

    If somebody said something about the company you work for, would you automatically defend it as well?"

    I would argue that most people would expect an organisation like the BBC to be impartial.

    I would certainly argue that if the BBC knew that the England bid was pretty much a waste of time then they should have flagged that up a long time ago and saved the country millions of pounds, instead of using it to cynically justify the Panorama 'revelations'.

  • Comment number 63.

    Nothing against you personally btw Dan, just the crypto-socialist firm you work for.

  • Comment number 64.

    The idea of vote fiddling being behind England losing the bid is a smoke screen. With such high profile coverage of 'rigging' recently (this week) even FIFA aren't arrogant enough to allow it to happen again (so soon).

    In fact, I suspect that the very man Dan Walker met before this blog was one of the main reasons we lost out. As the recent revelations show, he is held in very low regard outside, as well as by many inside, the country.

    Add to that, FIFA are now very wary of heavy handed Political influence after South Africa, and his presence was a recipe for disaster. Putin, I don't doubt, stayed away for that very reason.

    Who was proved right?

    Did Panorama put FIFA's noses out of joint? Well, that depends how 'big' we think FIFA are.

    I would hate to give a view on that.........


  • Comment number 65.

    @63, the BBC, or as it's otherwise known the 'EBC', crypto socialist? Your avin' a laugh.............

  • Comment number 66.

    Hello again...

    CoalitionOfTheWilting (various) I understand your BBC rage to an extent and I'm glad you are trying not to make this personal. I find it slightly strange that you accuse me of hubris but are happy to pontificate from your high and lofty tower.

    Let me explain... It's not my job to defend or poke Panorama because I have absolutely nothing to do with them what-so-ever - neither does anyone else in Sport. Maybe the BBC does have a case to answer but it's not for me to say - I am a very small tadpole in a vast pond.

    In terms of Football Focus this Saturday... we are just reporting what people have been saying for a long time. Russia and Qatar tick all the FIFA boxes.

    I'm obviously disappointed that you don't watch the show anymore but let me warmly invite you back to BBC 1 this Saturday. If you hate it then feel free to come back next week and jab away again.

    Have a good night and - despite your obvious lack of love for the BBC - you must admit that it's good that you can come on here and electronically shout at someone.

    See you soon.

    Yelena Isinbeyava

  • Comment number 67.

    in this country the papers/TV are the ones to blame for this, they will do anything to sell more papers or in this case for TV ratings. i cant see how else we could have lost this.

    as for russia and qatar ticking the boxes, erm Qatar - over 50degrees temp in summer, alcohol ban etc. Russia - not got the infastructure in place, cold temp, diff time zones.

    England was the best place and because of the bbc its gone to Russia.


    disgrace.

  • Comment number 68.

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

  • Comment number 69.

    #57 its a good point- why did Holland/ Belgium lose two votes between round 1 & 2- very bizarre!

  • Comment number 70.

    Why do we have to stay in FIFA? Isn't it just a union of the Football Associations. If England, Spain, Holland, US, Australia boycott FIFA or even the World Cup - they could set up a rival association without the catastrophically bad 'delegate' voting system.

  • Comment number 71.

    It was Becks wot lost it

  • Comment number 72.

    Great article again! I can't believe Cameron is a Villa fan. I wonder how many of our starting eleven he can name.

    http://www.inofftheghost.wordpress.com

  • Comment number 73.

    Hi Dan,
    Well that official #10 photo has to be one for the parent's mantle piece.
    So you had your tennis ball confiscated last time you were there! Who would have imagined lil old Dan Walker the tennis kid would ever end up sitting in #10 with the PM.

    I thought your response to CoalitionofTheWilting was both measured and gracious. Sometimes such a response is the powerful refutation of that kind of fairly mindless outpourings. I have no idea who Mr. Coalition is but I have met some people who, rather than stepping back from a thing they dislike, choose to jump straight in with a real joy and passion into the very thing they claim gives the opposite of joy.

    Press on young Jedi, and keep eating the jelly beans and what ever else you wish. Right now I wish I had some crackers with mature cheddar and sliced, full bodied pickled onions on top. Returning to Uk in Jan so maybe then.

  • Comment number 74.

    #66 Dan wrote: 'we are just reporting what people have been saying for a long time. Russia and Qatar tick all the FIFA boxes'

    ....is that a bit of back-tracking I hear? Bit of a difference from

    #54 'seem nailed on for a long time' (oh well...I was really looking forward to FF, but now fear it's just gonna be the usual 'Fifa new frontiers' bilge? (sorry to stir, Dan)

    What was Yelena Isinbeyava and that model doing representing the Russian bid? We had Denise Lewis at the Olympics...did we miss a trick there?

    Cheryl Cole

  • Comment number 75.

    Interesting piece on the BBC News Channel that suggests the 'new frontiers' (bilge - my words) isn't quite the bilge I thought...so apologies Dan. Fifa's policy of breaking new ground is heavily backed by corporate giants like certain major drinks companies - who are more keen to spread their products to developing markets than the actual game. After all the Premier League is watched the world over. Financially it makes sense for the money men but it suggests countries like ours will never host it again? Football has indeed sold it's soul which once belonged to the common man to the Devil.

  • Comment number 76.

    So what you're essentially saying is that nobody at the BBC has an opinion when pushed.

    You and I know there's a million holes you can prod in that argument, but the vast majority of licence fee payers wouldn't see it that way.

    It seems to me, from what you've written, that the BBC is about to wash its hands of any of this Panorama nonsense because another arm of the BBC knew better anyway.

    What part of what Football Focus is about to reveal wasn't 'in the public interest' when we as a nation were spending millions upon millions on what you seem to suggest was a pointless excersise?

  • Comment number 77.

    Now you have to hunt for this blog, in favour of, let's see, a nonsense piece of Qatar, which I take it you won't be mentioning the slavery issue.

    Cowards.

  • Comment number 78.

    You're a small man with a big organisation behind you.

  • Comment number 79.

    Right,

    CoalitionoftheWilting

    There I was beginning to think maybe you deserved the benefit of the doubt and you start ranting and insulting people again.

    You sir have some serious issues. It appears that whatever I say you will twist it into something you can then use as the basis for another little explosion of anger.

    I am not hiding behind the BBC and I am not short of an opinion. I am, however, not going part with my opinons on certain issues just because someone tries to bully it out of me.

    The BBC has defended Panorama. The director general has done it, the head of factual programmes and the show's editor have all been quoted in saying why they did what they did. You might not agree with them but there is no point beating down my door about it. It's like punching the sweet-shop owner because the butcher across the road has sold you a cut of meat you don't like.

    I am more than happy to have a reasoned debate with you but every sentence of your comments are saturated with either veiled digs or insults. You suggest I am a 'small man' well, if I may be so bold, it appears you could do with growing up a little yourself fine sir.

    And don't think I haven't spotted you Marsman #71. Thank you for leaving your Beckham comment short of a full rant this time.

    Well done everyone. Saturday's show is coming together nicely. Got some good guests and interviews lined up already.

    Off to bed now so I will see you in the morning after I've organised the wine gums and spoken to the butcher across the road.

    Willy Wonka

  • Comment number 80.

    Dan re comment 66

    You may be a tadpole now but one day you will grow into a beautiful frog

    Would you still call yourself dan or something more frog appropriate?

    Gutted we didnt get the world cup but all the best to the Russians and hope they do a good job, of the tournament is as entertaining as there dancing we are on for a treat.

    Ps the gazebo is staying regardless.

    P p s it's okay to play Christmas songs now it's december so chris rea on repeat!

    P p p s. FACE


    Shmile

  • Comment number 81.

    #80
    Praise the lord for Howling Mad Murdoch coming back for some levity at the end of the day.

    All arise for God Save the Queen...

    Time to settle down for an Ashes marathon (should that be Snickers?). Here's hoping for a hat-trick in the first over to demoralise our Australian cousins - who will have learnt today that we are twice as popular as they are in downtown Zurich.

    OOMPA LOOMPA DOOMPADEE DOO

    Augustus Gloop

  • Comment number 82.

    Wonderful - run out in the first over. Ponting out for a duck would be nice. Yes! Before I could click on send, he's out for a duck!

    Coalition needs to do whatever it is that cheers him up and come back with a smile tomorrow after all that suppressed rage (well maybe not so suppressed) coming out this evening.

    Veruca Salt

  • Comment number 83.

    Not bothered about England 2018 now... thoroughly cheered up by the Ashes.

    Ricky Ponting... quack, quack, quack.

  • Comment number 84.

    It's very easy to lay the blame on Panorama,Sunday Times and any other meeja outlet that has had a go at FIFA.The point is that the clandestine way these things are chosen makes it easy to machine gun the blame around.

    Plinny the Younger

  • Comment number 85.

    Coalition of the Wilting,
    Be a decent chap and find a blog dedicated to pursuits and managed by people you can get along with. You have become repetitive and boring in maintaining your offensiveness.

    NOW GOT TO CHECK OUT WHAT IS BEHIND SURREYBLOKE123'S ASHES REMARKS.

  • Comment number 86.

    ANYONE KNOW WHAT PONTING AND STRAUSS SAID TO ONE ANOTHER AT STUMPS AS THE PLAYERS LEFT THE PITCH?

    Sorry dan know this is footie b log and so on.

  • Comment number 87.

    I imagine it went along the lines of, "Good days play old bean, will convene upstairs and reminiss over some whiskey".

    yeah definitely think that was it.

  • Comment number 88.

    If that had been in the Premier League, they'd have been thrusting their chests out and putting forehead to forehead.

    I wonder if all the Premier League games will go ahead this weekend. We could do with a repeat of last weekend to take football fans' minds off yesterday in Zurich.

    Timmy Mallett

  • Comment number 89.

    Who says Politics & Football should never mix? I think Mr Cameron would make a good football manager, by bringing a little more Eton discipline into the game - cold showers, regular beatings from the older chaps & fags - although personally I believe that smoking should be positively discouraged - unless it's just at half time of course. Maybe Mr Capello could take a leaf out of his book, after all he is already very chummy with Silvio Berlusconi & he seems like an upstanding individual.

    It was good of Prince William to take time out from his wedding plans to be in Zurich too, although I'm sure there are lots of people on his staff pouring over the seating plan as we speak. Imagine getting an invite & having to sit next to Prince Philip?

    And what more can be said about Becks? The most successful footballer to have ever come out of Essex & a fantastic brand of beer named after him. Such versatility. What an ambassador he is for the country.

    On a loosely related note, reading that story about those poor people who were forced to spend all night on a train in the snow reminded me of the time that our mini-bus back from Lincoln City on Boxing Day broke down & we were forced to take refuge in a farmer's hay-loft overnight. It was minus 7 & some developed a mild case of hypothermia. Great days.

    Is there anything that the BBC can do to put pressure on these train operating companies to get their act together? After all we all pay a licence fee.

  • Comment number 90.

    Brilliant show today dan. Hats off to you, lawro and Englands number 9

    MB

 

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