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Football Focus wins royal seal of approval

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Dan Walker | 21:32 UK time, Thursday, 29 March 2012

"One doesn't address the Duke like that" was the phrase ringing around my head after the first time I met a member of the royal family.

I was giving a speech at St James's Palace to some Duke of Edinburgh gold award winners and the man himself turned up.

He moved around the room chatting occasionally and eventually approached us at the door. There was an awkward silence in the room, which was making me increasingly uncomfortable. When he got to me and extended his right arm for a shake I exclaimed "morning chief".

"And what is it you do?" came the friendly response.

What followed was a 90-second conversation that ended with him declining my offer to come on the Football Focus sofa the following Saturday. The Duke departed, an aide gave me the evils and produced the phrase that started this blog.

When I was told a few weeks ago that I would be showing the Queen around our new Salford studio I made sure to check what the correct protocol was when coming face to face with the reigning monarch. I knew "chief" wouldn't go down well.

Apparently you don't extend your hand until she does, you call her "your Majesty" on greeting her and then "ma'am" as in "jam" from that point on.

There was a gentle buzz around BBC North towers on the morning of her arrival - I even had to flash my security pass to use the toilets.

The Queen officially opened the BBC's base in MediaCityUK on 23 March. Photo: PA

It was also unusual to see people who normally opt for 'sports-casual' clothing pulling out their wedding suits - apart from Lawro who decided to wear what Robbie Savage claimed was his ice-cream seller's shirt.

I had a slight lack-of-tie issue at one point, but thankfully the most organised man on the planet - floor manager Tim Boucher - carries a spare everything.

I was told I'd have three and a half minutes with the Queen and then she would be off to CBBC. We were in the studio filming World Football Focus and while I was asking Didi Hamann about Martin Jol's time at Hamburg a voice announced: "Her Majesty will be eight minutes early."

Moments later there was a cheer outside and then the patter of feet approaching the studio.

Around the corner came the head of state wearing what I heard someone later describe as "a nice little salmon number". She was accompanied by BBC director general Mark Thompson, who introduced me, and then off we went.

I introduced the ice-cream seller and Didi and then explained what we used the studio for, showed her our snazzy augmented reality graphics and explained that World Football Focus goes into millions of homes around the globe on the BBC World channel each week.

She asked a few questions about the appeal of football, Lawro cracked a couple of gags and I chucked in a stat about the fact that when Li Tie and Sun Jihai played for Everton and Manchester City respectively a few years ago the game between the two sides was watched by 300 million people in China alone. If you see her palming off that in her next speech you know where it's come from.

She had one last look at Lawro's shirt and left. No faux pas, no diplomatic incident and the word "chief" never passed my lips. A number of people mentioned the difference in height between the two of us, with one comedian on Twitter claiming it was like watching Yoda meet Gandalf.

Sadly, Her Majesty didn't fancy doing Premier League predictions for this weekend but we can offer you Steve Bruce and the Toure brothers instead.

We had a great response to our show from Bolton last week and the good news is Fabrice Muamba continues to improve.

We're back in the studio this Saturday where you'll find us at 12:15 on BBC1. If you want to follow the build-up you can always find me on Twitter.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    i love the queen but not as much as i love focus!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 2.

    You didn't stand in front of the Queen with your hand in your pocket the whole time did you?!

    Also does the Queen think that Man U get too many penalties?

  • Comment number 3.

    it is a lovely little salmon number indeed! and i agree that the teenage slouch and hand in pocket look isnt meant for the ol' dears eyes Dan! on the plus i bet lawro got her to have a lick of his 99

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm liking the slightly nervous body language with the old hand in the pocket gag. The Duke looks like a fella that wouldn't mind being called "Chief", did you not want him to have a go on the weekly predictions?

    Is there no comment / blog from Dan Roan / the BBC with regards to Vieira's claims that he was misrepresented in his interview with Roan?

  • Comment number 5.

    @thrashball united get too many penalties, awarded against us yeah!

  • Comment number 6.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 7.

    Good to see the Queen met one of her fellow countrymen: 'Didi' :-)

  • Comment number 8.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2122520/Robeto-Mancini-cycles-big-red-truck.html

    Can you not blow up the first picture and start a caption competition??

  • Comment number 9.

    This is pretty interesting as well.......Seems Mr Vieira was talking out of the proverbial glutius maximus.....

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2122441/Sir-Alex-Ferguson-refutes-refereeing-bias-claim.html

  • Comment number 10.

    #7 stufair

    It's the tower for you old chap.

  • Comment number 11.

    Nice suit Dan, Lawro clearly hadn't been home from the night before and the day he meets the Queen too! Bit of a tip, always clasp hands together when bit nervous, stops you fiddling with them or heaven forbid, hand-in-the-pocket-catalogue-posing in front of a royal.

    Agree with 4, be really interested in beebs opinion, dignified silence is dignified but we want the dirt!

    #royalwalkofshame

  • Comment number 12.

    Dan,
    This picture says it all! Agree with zboy1989 and eduard_streltov. You simply can't take Crawley out of the lad, can you? You also need to have a word with your tailor or the beeb fashion departments- your waistcoat should not stop half inch above you belt buckle.
    Having said that it is good to see you in a tie. I think Beeb presenters should all be wearing a tie, if not jacket and tie on the set.
    Now, going back to the Crawley theme, what are your thoughts on the big battle of Valley Parade? I dare say if the ice cream seller and the juvenile Giant in his 3 piece had been there none of it would have happened.

    Good stuff Dan!
    You make every penny of my 2012 license fee a worth while investment!!!
    JH
    P.S.
    Do Beeb employees have to buy a TV license, or are they exempt from effectively "funding themselves".
    P.P.S. Does her majesty the Queen have to buy a TV license?

  • Comment number 13.

    @12

    Exempt i believe

  • Comment number 14.

    Should have asked the Queen who she thinks is better, Lampard or Gerrard?

  • Comment number 15.

    #12 & 13

    It is probably just as well for the tax payer since a license is required for each property in which one sits in residence.

  • Comment number 16.

    haha a nibble already from Thrashball's comment......great work, getting the rags worked up even before lunch on a friday.

  • Comment number 17.

    16.At 11:44 30th Mar 2012, signori wrote:
    haha a nibble already from Thrashball's comment......great work, getting the rags worked up even before lunch on a friday.
    ____________

    Have you seen the daily mail article with the number of pens stats since 06/07?? Tells a different story to what mr Vieira will have you believe. No wonder he backtracked and scrambled to retract his statement!!!

  • Comment number 18.

    14.At 11:14 30th Mar 2012, We all follow United wrote:
    Should have asked the Queen who she thinks is better, Lampard or Gerrard?

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    think she would say neither ''one must say scholes as the golden boy of the english midfield wouldnt one?'' a direct quote there @12 and 13 its irrelevant as we pay for he so would foot her fee too , wouldnt we?

  • Comment number 19.

    #17.eduard_streltsov_ghost

    whats funny is that people and 'fans' are saying how much they dont care yet its only the United 'fans' that keep mentioning it and going on about it all the time, dragging up stats, while still maintaining their stance of how much they dont care what he has said.........makes me laugh how ruffled their little feathers have got.

    Coo coo cachoo!

  • Comment number 20.

    Have you seen the daily mail article with the number of pens stats since 06/07?? Tells a different story to what mr Vieira will have you believe. No wonder he backtracked and scrambled to retract his statement!!!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    if any1 were to believe a word that cash grabbing sissy defector would say they truly are blind , between him and cashly i cant see whos worse!! the guy was talking out his arsene again, playing mind games with SAF will only get his fingers burnt.

  • Comment number 21.

    Finally, a blog you can comment on! Top stuff Dan, "morning chief" is an epic way to greet the Duke of Edinburgh.

    Surely you must have asked the Queen's thoughts on 'Arry for England? His recent not guilty verdict probably cost her a state visit or two!

  • Comment number 22.

    Dan, nice blog and I'm sure it was an honour and privilege for you to spend a few minutes with the the Queen.

    You are the crew are bad eggs by keeping this a secret from Lawro that the Queen was coming. I'm sure he was embarrassed at not been giving the opportunity to dress up and brush his hair. Just wandering is Lawro one of these blokes who carries a black comb in his back pocket?

    You answered my only question. Why would the Queen not do the Premier League predictions, one asks???

    Nice suit, who did you borrow it from?

    Great show last week. Keep her lit.

    Think Man U still havethe PL sown up and City will once again walk away with their heads down and big wage bills! I still can't understand what is happening to Liverpool this season. So much potential and they are not getting the results. Teams of the year are Newcastle Swansea and Norwich (and again Everton for what they have)

    MB

  • Comment number 23.

    Dan - its clear from her lack of knowledge of the English game that she too watches La Liga.

    I hope you didn't mention that the inglorious Glasgow Rangers might fold in the next few weeks and may have some of their previous titles taken off them because of contract irregularities. Travelling to Balmoral may not be the same this summer

  • Comment number 24.

    #23
    Maybe the Queen might join the bidding for Rangers? The Duke would surely be a better option in defence than Bocanegra as well.

  • Comment number 25.

    I still can't understand what is happening to Liverpool this season. So much potential and they are not getting the results
    .........................................................................................................

    fantastic stuff...........Yes potentially 7th, thats the best they will do as the quality of their squad can only merit this position.

    Queen Kenny to stay

  • Comment number 26.

    I cannot imagine anything more moronic than addressing anybody with the words: "morning chief" ...

  • Comment number 27.

    26. At 12:30 30th Mar 2012, JamesNaylaw wrote:
    I cannot imagine anything more moronic than addressing anybody with the words: "morning chief" ...

    ----------------

    "Alright benders..." How's that?

  • Comment number 28.

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

  • Comment number 29.

    25. At 12:28 30th Mar 2012, signori wrote:
    I still can't understand what is happening to Liverpool this season. So much potential and they are not getting the results
    .........................................................................................................

    fantastic stuff...........Yes potentially 7th, thats the best they will do as the quality of their squad can only merit this position.

    Queen Kenny to stay

    -----------------

    You've obviously forgotten that regardless of quality in the squad and tactical prowess of managers, LFC have a divine right to be up the top of the table.

    Tut, tut...

  • Comment number 30.

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

  • Comment number 31.

    #30. becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    i will let him strike you down with lightning, he may only be referred to as 'the divine spirit' or alternaively 'your highness' will do

  • Comment number 32.

    #24

    Allegedly she was going to put up another Empire Cup/ Cornonation Cup up for grabs to help out with their cashflow - until she was reminded that Glasgow Celtic previously won these trophies!

    One final question Dan, did you ask her if she supported her local team or was yet another ManU fan in exile?

  • Comment number 33.

    #32. Strange_UBoat

    i bet she loves Prawn sandwiches!

  • Comment number 34.

    #33

    :)

  • Comment number 35.

    #32
    Wouldn't the Royal Family's local team be Bayern Munich or Dortmund or someone?

  • Comment number 36.

    #30 becks

    Thanks for letting us know what signori said, missed it first time round. Your's will probably be taken down as well.

  • Comment number 37.

    #35

    Olympiakos for the Duke

  • Comment number 38.

    19.At 12:03 30th Mar 2012, signori wrote:
    _____________

    hahaha mate, I do care that's why it ruffles my feathers. It's just this simple denial that for the last 20 years utd have been the best team in england because they were the better team and won all those trophies fair and square. Nothing to do with favourable treatment from refs, or other managers letting their teams get their tummies tickled.

    It's pretty poor that opposing fans are that envious they think of conspiracy theories to try and downplay & downgrade utd's achievements.

    The sort of nonsensical rubbish I've heard, (one from a villa fan), "utd always get favourable decisions so you can only count a few of their league wins as honest or ture". When you show him the stats such as the DM article that suggest otherwise, further excuses come out. "It doesn't show all the other penalty decisions not given", because ALL the other penalty shouts at other grounds get given don't they!!

    No wonder the planet of the apes concept is plausible when you have idiots like this spouting nonsense!!

  • Comment number 39.

    35.At 13:07 30th Mar 2012, We all follow United wrote:
    #32
    Wouldn't the Royal Family's local team be Bayern Munich or Dortmund or someone?
    ______________

    Surely they'd be Reading fans??

    But if you're talking about local team it would Europa quarter finalists Hanover 96.

  • Comment number 40.

    #38.eduard_streltsov_ghost

    my only point was that a referee, not mentioning any specific ones are sometimes hesitant to give decisions against the bigger teams at their home grounds for fears of ruffling too many feathers themselves. Opposing teams coming to these big stadiums are less likely to get a penalty awarded to them in the last 5 to 10 minutes of a match, thats all im saying, a refs job is hard enough but these huge calls now are too much for them to make, so its easier to make no call at all.

    i dont listen to anything Villa fans have to say, they brought in MCcleish for god sake!

  • Comment number 41.

    # 22

    Oh I'm sure they told Lawro alright, he just didn't hear the 'The'.

    He thought it was to be a meeting of wibbly wobbly wonders with Brian May et al.

    David May

  • Comment number 42.

    Chief lol. Ice cream shirt - priceless.

    #35 Wouldn't the Royal Family's local team be Bayern Munich or Dortmund or someone?

    Would be Hannover 96 i would think....that would be the background anyway. I would nominate for her Mame Biram Diouf as the queens favourite player - The queen had a word with Sir Alex and diouf was the price united had to pay to get the whole independant scotland thing going again - didnt want any squashing of rebellions and all that. tally ho

  • Comment number 43.

    When addressing the Duke, surely the correct terminology would be "Morning Deputy Chief..... has the Boss let you out on your own today".

    As for the 3-piece suit, it reminds me of Rodney Trotter when he played the Funeral director.

    Nice light hearted article..... good work

  • Comment number 44.

    Lawro's probably asking her to replace Jamie Carragher in Liverpool's squad, as she has more pace.

  • Comment number 45.

    you should have asked the queen how she sleeps at night with all her undeserved riches and jewels and money she sponges off us, when poverty is blatant in her own country?

    ye, lets all bow!!

  • Comment number 46.

    @43 - Rodney Trotter?? In Dan's defence if that tie was borrowed and I doubt very much it was, given he must have known about The Queen's visit it is certainly a good match and all very suave looking! Would look at home around Canary Wharf today.

    Lawro probably shrugged shoulders and couldn't be bothered. 99 anybody?

    As for Liverpool, shocking. Andy Carroll looks like a lost school kid who normally plays a different sport. So much hope again draining by inconsistencies!

  • Comment number 47.

    45. At 14:11 30th Mar 2012, Meido wrote:

    If you dont like it you could always go and live somewhere else! Leave her alone!

  • Comment number 48.

    40.At 13:32 30th Mar 2012, signori wrote:
    ________________

    Hmmmmm I would have to disagree (the stats say otherwise, like this season). I would say closely watch the other league games and make note of all the penalty "shouts". Like I said, I remember earlier on this season, the likes of west brom and wolves were being given favourable decisions. I think it all evens out in the long run. You just don't hear about it in a wolves v swansea game because it is not as high profile as a man utd game.

  • Comment number 49.

    47.At 14:43 30th Mar 2012, swindonbluearmy wrote:
    45. At 14:11 30th Mar 2012, Meido wrote:

    If you dont like it you could always go and live somewhere else! Leave her alone!
    _______________

    Here here!! God save the Queen.......cue brass band............

  • Comment number 50.

    45.At 14:11 30th Mar 2012, Meido wrote:

    Cup of Horlicks i presume.

  • Comment number 51.

    #48. eduard_streltsov_ghost

    course you would, your a United fan :) but thats all i believe. I do agree that these incidents are highlighted more because of your high profile as a club over say, Fulham and Wolves etc....but my point stands that ref's are more intimidated and less inclined to give big decisions at Old Trafford against the home team thats all.

  • Comment number 52.

    51.At 15:15 30th Mar 2012, signori wrote:
    #48. eduard_streltsov_ghost

    course you would, your a United fan :) but thats all i believe. I do agree that these incidents are highlighted more because of your high profile as a club over say, Fulham and Wolves etc....but my point stands that ref's are more intimidated and less inclined to give big decisions at Old Trafford against the home team thats all.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    And yet the actual statistics show that, over the last six years, the likes of Aston Villa and Fulham have been awarded fewer penalties against them at their own grounds than Manchester United have. (Chelsea and Liverpool also had fewer awarded against them).

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/9168877/Manchester-United-more-likely-to-concede-penalty-at-home-than-Fulham-despite-manager-Martin-Jols-claims.html

    So...isn't the point that 'refs are more intimidated and less inclined to give big decisions at Old Trafford against the home team' more a matter of perception than fact? Granted, statistics for 'claims' rather than 'awards' have not been collected, although this would be impossible to gather as many 'claims' would come under different categories of incident. The awards themselves, though, show there is no particular bias toward the most successful teams, above others.

  • Comment number 53.

    My orignal comment of penalties given to Man U was tongue in cheek but the big sides do get more 50-50 decisions than others in my opinion.

    Get well soon Petrov.

  • Comment number 54.

    @ signori, apologies. I didn't see your posts above where you explain that you don't believe in statistics or facts unless they actually support your ingrained opinions. And if anyone brings them up to refute your argument, they are being 'defensive' and 'precious'. I tip my hat to you, sir.

  • Comment number 55.

    54.At 15:37 30th Mar 2012, Vox Populi wrote:

    aplogy accepted,

    why are you cyber bullying me???.........weird

  • Comment number 56.

    52.At 15:29 30th Mar 2012, Vox Populi wrote:
    _________________

    You're exactly spot on, because how would you be able to determine:

    a) What "counts" as a penalty shout
    and
    b) What is a "nailed on" penalty. Because let's be honest, everyone's perception of what is nailed on is entirely different.

    This perception is an urban legend and nothing more. It's like a perception that utd get favourable treatment from the FA, or just bog standard conspiracy theories that Fergie has some form of domineering sway over the EPL authorities.

    Now that is the real funny thing, that so many people buy into it. Perhaps that is Fergie's biggest mindgame of all and biggest victory. It reminds me of the film "Revolver", perhaps Fergie is the real life "Sam Gold".

  • Comment number 57.

    but my point stands that ref's are more intimidated and less inclined to give big decisions at Old Trafford against the home team thats all.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Stats will show you that's the case for every home team.

  • Comment number 58.

    57.At 15:49 30th Mar 2012, We all follow United wrote:
    but my point stands that ref's are more intimidated and less inclined to give big decisions at Old Trafford against the home team thats all.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Stats will show you that's the case for every home team.
    _________________

    There's no point in stats.......intuition and personal opinion are far more accurate indicators of the truth! ;)

  • Comment number 59.

    esg, while I see your point this has to be judged on opinion otherwise a hypothetical team who have 5 penalties (below an average of say 10) isn't getting the benefit of the doubt through stats but only looking at those 5 penalties would you know if they were close decisions clear cut etc. Anyway have a good weekend it's beer garden time.

  • Comment number 60.

    Just heard about Stiliyan Petrov. Bad news indeed. I hope he revovers soon.

  • Comment number 61.

    if in doubt get your stats out..........

  • Comment number 62.

    Predictions for the weekend.....let's see if we can beat Lawro.....the loser has to wear his awful shirt........

    Villa v Chelsea : 0-2
    Blackburn v Man Utd: 1-3
    Everton v West Brom: 1-1
    Fulham v Norwich: 2-1
    Man City v Sunderland: 2-0
    Newcastle v Liverpool: 3-3
    QPR v Arsenal: 1-4
    Spurs v Swansea: 3-1
    Wigan v Stoke: 0-2
    Wolves v Bolton: 0-0

  • Comment number 63.

    #61
    If panicking, roll an ex-gooner out to spout some conspiracy theories....

  • Comment number 64.

    #62

    So Liverpool are to be involved in the most entertaining game of the weekend, how many will Carroll scrore aside from og's?

  • Comment number 65.

    obeying someone you have no connection to is weak. can people nowadays not see how false and totally wrong monarchy's are?

    there is only one queen in your life and it's your mother.

  • Comment number 66.

    63.We all follow United

    If panicking, roll an ex-player out to trundle around doing 100 5 yard passes

  • Comment number 67.

    Villa v Chelsea : 1-2
    Blackburn v Man Utd: 1-2
    Everton v West Brom: 2-1
    Fulham v Norwich: 1-1
    Man City v Sunderland: 2-0
    Newcastle v Liverpool: 1-1
    QPR v Arsenal: 1-2
    Spurs v Swansea: 3-1
    Wigan v Stoke: 1-1
    Wolves v Bolton: 1-1

    but of course this is all opinion based, i cant statistically tell you that this is correct, im sure come monday you will provide me with some....

  • Comment number 68.

    #66
    Weren't City top before he started 'trundling'?

  • Comment number 69.

    #60
    Agreed. Good player for both Celtic and Villa

  • Comment number 70.

    #68. We all follow United

    its friday, yes we were and i respect him as a player. have a good weekend, good luck to all teams especially Blackburn :)

  • Comment number 71.

    66.At 16:38 30th Mar 2012, signori wrote:
    63.We all follow United

    If panicking, roll an ex-player out to trundle around doing 100 5 yard passes
    _________________

    You're right, if he played for Barca, he would be lauded as the best midfielder since a ball was ever kicked!! And that nobody could match the technique of making a successful 5 yard pass.

  • Comment number 72.

    #70
    Up the Mackems ;)

  • Comment number 73.

    67.At 16:42 30th Mar 2012, signori wrote:
    but of course this is all opinion based, i cant statistically tell you that this is correct, im sure come monday you will provide me with some....
    ___________________

    You'll have to wear lawro's shirt if you're wrong!! :P

  • Comment number 74.

    I bet you wrote this blog with a silly smile on your face. More Royal sycophancy from the BBC.

  • Comment number 75.

    In honour of soon to be ‘Sir Ice Cream Seller’, my weekend predos

    Vanilla v Chillsea : 1-3
    Blackberry v Magnum: 2-3
    Toffee v West Rum-n-raison: 2-0
    Feast v Nut-rich: 1-0
    Mint Choc Chipity v Sundaeland: 3-0
    NewCarte D’Or v Looptheloop: 2-1
    Calippo v Amarettonal: 1-3
    Sporbet v Swirlsea: 2-2
    Wiganetta v Out-of-Stock: 1-3
    Wibbly Wobbly Wanderers v Brunchton: 0-1

    And of course, just to note, some of these games to be played on sundae ;-)

  • Comment number 76.

    This article made me chuckle and chortle (ala the beano), calling the Duke "Chief" is very funny although he might not have seen it that way.

    Not that the Duke is one to be politically correct, does anyone remember him asking the Prime Minister of Zaire (or some african country, I forget which) whether they "still throw spears".

    As for that shirt, Liverpool legend or not, it looks like a really bad pair of curtains.

    Man Utd - I think everyone knows that they get a lot of favouritism at OT - with 70,000 screaming at one man for a penalty, who is going to have the guts to say "no" ?

    He has to ensure he can leave the stadium, as there are always one of two idiots amongst the 70,000.

    This can be said for most teams playing at home, but it should be remembered that Man Utd have the biggest capacity at OT.

    How on earth Fulham weren't given a penalty at OT this week, heaven only knows, could it be the ref was intimidated by 70,000 people? Surely not.

    As for the royal family, they are nothing more than a tourist attraction, but if you think about it, that tourism probably brings a lot of trade into the country, so we shouldn't just dismiss them.

    I won't be watching the queen's speech though, I don't think anyone really cares what she has to say.

    The royals certainly don't conduct themselves as they should (and in particular prince phillip who is absolutely moronic).

  • Comment number 77.

    Kop4eva:- #76 wrote

    I won't be watching the queen's speech though, I don't think anyone really cares what she has to say.

    The royals certainly don't conduct themselves as they should (and in particular prince phillip who is absolutely moronic).
    -------------------------------------------------------
    Speak for yourself, rather than for "anyone" and everyone. I may not be a royalist myself but know loads who are, who do care what the Queen of England has to say.

  • Comment number 78.

    #77

    Inclined to agree with you. Don't have much time for them myself but respect that others do.
    Are you from Anglesey?

  • Comment number 79.

    Surely the issue of penalties is simple. You have to be in the oppositions penalty box to get one, i.e. you are attacking. Quo vardis - attacking teams are more likely to win penalties - that's being profound, and as Norwich supporter, philosophical.

 

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