Staying 'Focused' on job in hand
Every Tuesday the editors, production staff and reporters of Football Focus gather at TV Centre in west London to chew over the events of the weekend, discuss the merits of the previous Saturday's programme and throw around ideas for the week ahead.
This season Martin Keown, the former England and Arsenal defender, has been joining us, and, from my point of view, it's been really beneficial having him there. The opportunity to ask him about Arsene Wenger before interviewing the Gunners boss was invaluable.
The meeting this week was well attended. As well as Keown, there was Garth Crooks, Mark Bright, John Motson and Jonathan Pearce and without wanting to pat us on the back too much, I thought last Saturday's programme previewing the FA Cup fourth round was a terrific watch.
The rights to the FA Cup are in the hands of ITV and Setanta at the moment, which means the BBC is unable to show any archived Cup action from the last 10 years. Given such restrictions, sometimes necessity is the mother of invention - and the team came up with some really creative ideas at the weekend.
After the FA Cup, it's back to the Premier League and, with a full programme of midweek matches to savour, Match of the Day makes a Wednesday night appearance this week. I'm at West Ham's game with Hull City and it will be interesting to see the Hammers, who have improved significantly in recent weeks under Gianfranco Zola and Steve Clarke. Last time I saw them was at Old Trafford back in October and while their 2-0 defeat was hardly a shock, their limp performance was.
One big bright spot for the Hammers has been the emergence of Jack Collison, who, it turns out, is related to my old headmaster. John Gwilliam, or "Sir" as I would almost certainly find myself calling him if we met again, was the captain of one of the great Welsh triple-crown winning rugby union sides of the 1950s. A stickler for neatness and discipline, he was not exactly what you would call a football fan. In fact, we were not even allowed to play football in school. What he must make of being related to a modern Premier League star-in-the-making, I am not sure.
If Collison turns out to be as good at his chosen sport as Gwilliam was, at his, then Welsh football will have real cause for optimism.