BBC BLOGS - Dan Walker
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Archives for January 2011

Hughton and a hall of mirrors

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Dan Walker | 10:09 UK time, Thursday, 27 January 2011

In a week when plenty of people are talking about the things TV pundits and presenters say and do, I wanted to mention how impressed I was by former Newcastle United manager Chris Hughton on last Saturday's Football Focus.

The former Newcastle manager talked about the past and the future - and from the comments we received afterwards, it seems he only enhanced his reputation as one of the nicer men in football. He was a true gentleman before, during and after the show.

There were topics he did not want to discuss but the way he referred to Mike Ashley as "the owner" tells you a lot. The fact he was voted the BBC North East Sports Personality of the Year indicates he is still highly thought of by others.

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Van der Vaart is a hit on and off the pitch

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Dan Walker | 08:14 UK time, Wednesday, 19 January 2011

I thought this week I would write about Rafael van der Vaart and Jack Wilshere after speaking to them at a boot launch in London.

For the purposes of this blog, I am going to refer to Van der Vaart as VDV because Van der Vaart takes an age to type and I am constantly having to stop myself putting about eight 'a's in the Dutchman's name.

BBC Sport were there to interview VDV for Football Focus but I got to ask Wilshere questions in my capacity as host. Arsenal are understandably keeping a very close eye on how many interviews young Wilshere does. If his career continues as it has started, I think he will be doing them for some years to come.

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Hodgson, Torres and a cup shock

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Dan Walker | 12:15 UK time, Thursday, 13 January 2011

If only Roy Hodgson had waited for another 90 minutes.

Last Saturday's Football Focus was an interesting one. For the first time in a long time, the whole programme was pre-recorded. It might have actually been the first time ever.

We had visited a few of the FA Cup third-round underdogs prior to the show, starting in Dover on Monday and finishing outside Wembley on Saturday, and then stitched the whole show together before it went out on BBC One at 1215 GMT. It was a bit of a beast to do and took hours of meticulous planning, so you can imagine our pain when we got word that Hodgson and Liverpool had parted company just before the show went out.

I really felt for the editor of last week's show, James Daniels. He had put in weeks of planning to ensure the programme did not turn into a clichéd FA Cup preview.

I totally understand if some people tuning in were miffed that there was very little reaction to the news from Anfield but if you try to make creative programmes you have to take the occasional risk. We shall continue to do that in the future, although we have learned a few lessons. And fear not, there will be a good look at all things Liverpool this weekend, especially after what happened at Blackpool on Wednesday.

From a personal perspective, the highlight of the third round took place on Monday night at The Broadfield Stadium. If you have read this blog in the past, you will know that I am a Crawley boy and went to my first Town game in the late 1980s.

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Chasing a 'Cupset' with the underdogs

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Dan Walker | 22:17 UK time, Thursday, 6 January 2011

It has been an interesting week. I hope you have enjoyed the little FA Cup specials on the website and are looking forward to round three.

For those of you who don't know - we are doing a special programme which involves visiting a different underdog each day in a bid to cover as many FA Cup stories as we can.

The idea was the brainchild of producer James Daniels who has spent most of Christmas planning the pieces, making phone calls and trying to get the giant TV jigsaw to fit together.

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