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Nicest people in sport - My Top 20

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Dan Walker | 17:41 UK time, Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Greetings and salutations, sporting comrades. As I write this, I have a cold sausage number on brown bread with a condiment combo of mustard and mayonnaise alongside me. It's a strange one, but it's definitely a winner.

Anyway, rolling on from last week, thanks very much for all your suggestions for our 20 nicest people in sport. This is by no means the definitive list and I am sure there are loads we have missed out but - based on your suggestions, and my original three - this is what we came up with...

1. Chris Waddle - left-footed genius with a perfect mullet
2. Mark Webber - Aussie driver man with no PR people to get in the way
3. Linvoy Primus - nice man of football with impressive hair
4. Tim Henman - terrible fist pump but genuinely good tennis boy
5. Peter Beardsley - some strong support from all corners
6. Euan Murray - baguette-eating Scottish tight-head prop
7. Gareth Southgate - former manager of Middlesbrough and nice guy
8. Martin Laursen - the bloke who started it all off
9. Niall Quinn - very tall, genial Irish guy who is now a significant figure at Sunderland
10. Sir Chris Hoy - enormous thighs and very good at cycling
11. Jeremy Davidson - Ulster dude warmly recommended by peteram79
12. Graham Taylor - gentleman... simple as that
13. Steve Bruce - hideously broken nose but what a fella
14. Mark Cueto - scored a try in Rugby Union World Cup final but had it ruled out
15. Tim Flowers - just a nice bloke who happens to be good at football
16. Gianfranco Zola - small but perfectly-formed Italian who is always smiling
17. Colin Jackson - excellent bendiness and well-oiled grin
18. Jack Kelsey - former Arsenal dude nominated by Holloway2Holland
19. Roger Federer - excellent forehand and all round good egg
20. Matt Holland - impressed on Focus on Saturday

Matt Holland was a late addition to the list after coming on as a guest last week. The day had started badly when I discovered there was no ketchup for my early-doors bacon sandwich. (I am a straight down the line red-sauce-with-bacon / brown-sauce-with-sausage man, apart from the one I am currently eating but we were all out of the brown stuff). That said, the dry bacon sarnie turned out to be surprisingly tasty.

Anyway, there are very few pundits who come on Focus and settle in as quickly as Brother Holland did. He went for the jet black shirt and black trouser combination, which is a solid start for your first programme. You can't get any grief for that - no-one can complain about the double-black.

On the subject of trousers, I got an email from a viewer about the grey beauties I wore on Saturday. "Dear Sir, can I take this opportunity to pass comment on the trousers you wore on last week's programme (14/11/09). They distracted me from watching because they were the same colour as the sofa. It looked as though the programme was being presented by a torso. Please don't wear them again."

Dan Walker sports his Prince of Wales check trousers on the Focus sofaThe Prince of Wales check trousers. Winner or loser?

Well, Mark from Cheshire will be pleased to hear that the editor also had the same reservations about the Prince of Wales check, which has now been relegated to the back of the wardrobe.

I should have followed Matt's example. I was also impressed with how well the former Republic of Ireland, Ipswich and Charlton midfielder responded to the presenter stare. You don't often get to see this as a viewer, but it's a great tool that is very effective on a live programme. It involves the presenter widening their eyes, like a demented owl, to inform the bloke who is currently speaking to button it.

Because it was Matt's first programme, he wasn't on what we call "talkback". As a result, he had no earpiece and couldn't hear the director and editor telling me what was happening next and when we needed to move on. Most regulars - like Lawro and Lee Dixon - love a bit of talkback, which is why the programme very rarely runs over. They can hear the production coordinator telling them exactly how long is left.

On Saturday, we only had 15 seconds to talk about the footage of Elizabeth Lambert fouling everything in sight. I asked a question, Lee made a gag about her being Martin Keown's sister, while Matt, responding to my stare, said just he was glad he had retired. That was it. Perfect. All in all, it was a very solid debut from Matt. I am sure he'll be back.

Talking of the future, we have some tasty interviews coming up over the next few weeks. Joleon Lescott will hopefullly be on this week and then the plan is to do Wayne Rooney next Monday. It's a great time to get him with Rooney Jnr arriving on the scene and following his elevation to the England captaincy for the game against Brazil.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Ketchup with Bacon sarnies --- surely not
    My mat went to an a boro away game with his late father many years ago and in a greasy spoon cafe asked his dad to pass the red sauce to which the reply was " whats the matter, you a {word we cant say without getting modded but relates to the other meaning of gay - as in not the happy meaning}son - true story
    Sausages anbd brown sauce - has to be!!!
    Glad to see Southgate in there tho

  • Comment number 2.

    Hurrah for ketchup on bacon! I thought I was the only one.

  • Comment number 3.

    Evening Dan.
    Cheers for the mention, in what again was another cracking blog, gives me something to brag about over here in the Lowlands. ;)
    Was lucky enough to see MOTD last week and I agree Matt Holland did well on his "debut", although to be honest I was not that surprised he came over as a nice guy, because that's the way he's always seemed to carry himself, unlike Robbie Savage who had a bit of a bad boy rep, but greatly surprised me by comming over as a well spoken, honest and modest guy on a previous show.

    If there's one negative I have to comment on, its the fact that this gem of a blog seems to be a bit hidden on the main page, and it seemed to be up a little later than usual. (that's no critisism of you.) So Beeb sort it out so that this blog gets the recognition it deserves.

    Finally, sausages, white bread and tomato ketchup for me, luckily there's still some goodies you can get almost worldwide, unlike some biscuits.

  • Comment number 4.

    p.s cheers to followingborohurts for the heads up.

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

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

  • Comment number 7.

    5 sausagearms, no sauce for you than sir?
    And ironicaly I think the word you were looking for was PHILISTINES. ;-p

  • Comment number 8.

    Re 7, and ironically I misspelt it ironicaly. Doh.

  • Comment number 9.

    If any of the nominations for serial club abandoner Steve Bruce came from, say, Huddersfield or South Norwood, I'd suggest they are of the sarcastic variety.

    Roger Federer does come across well most of the time. Although that high-pitched whine you hear after he loses to Rafa Nadal at a(nother) Open isn't just from his private jet. I think Rafa comes across as a nicer guy.

    Chris Waddle may be a lovely bloke but I'm not sure you should be commentating on football when you can't actually say the words associated with the game. Someone want to tell me what a "pelanty" is? Sorry Chris...

  • Comment number 10.

    Where is Sir Chris Powell in this list? Chairman of the PFA, footballing gentleman and all round hero!

  • Comment number 11.

    5. At 10:41pm on 17 Nov 2009, sausagearms wrote:

    If you want a bit of moisture on your bacon or sausage, what's wrong with a beautifully-cooked fried egg?

    Here here Sausage, fried egg with a runny yolk beautiful!!!

    7. At 11:19pm on 17 Nov 2009, Holloway2Holland wrote:
    5 sausagearms, no sauce for you than sir?
    And ironicaly I think the word you were looking for was PHILISTINES. ;-p

    Ha ha that was quality!!

  • Comment number 12.

    7. At 11:19pm on 17 Nov 2009, Holloway2Holland wrote:

    Re 7, and ironically I misspelt it ironicaly. Doh.


    Your grasp of irony is almost as strong as your grasp of spelling...

    *tuts* PALESTINES ;-P

    While we're still broadly on the subject of meat-based nutrition, could we throw the discussion open to the components of the perfect fry-up? Dan, I'm sure that although you seem to get a worrying amount of your daily calorific intake from biscuit-based food groups, you are partial to a good Full English now and again?

    For me, there can be only one winning combination:

    Fried Egg (2)
    Sausage (2)
    Bacon (2)
    Black Pudding (1)
    Mushrooms (button, fried)
    Tomatoes (grilled, 2)
    Hash Browns (3)

    Toast (white, buttered, 2 slices)
    Tea (strong, milk, 3 sugars)
    Orange juice (ice cold)

    I have toyed with fried bread in my time, but feel that it tips the ratio of taste:imminent death slightly too far. And of course it goes without saying that baked beans are suitable only for vegetarians and cretins.

  • Comment number 13.

    sausagearms.... I find it ironic that in a sausage and bacon debate you use a mostly Muslim country for referrence.. Doh!

    Dan... where is big Johnny Hartson in there..?? and its never a ketchup on any breakfast material.. always a brown.. Im digging the mayo and mustard on the cold one.

  • Comment number 14.

    Wahey I made the list, Linvoy for England!!

    Mayonnaise mixed with any other sauce (mustard, ketchup and brown in particular... the 'big three', if you will) is the reserve of true culinary heroes and I have no doubt that Dan's sausage sandwich this morning was nothing short of heavenly.

    In fact, if you're looking to take any dish to the next level, a splattering of mayo is the thing that will really elevate it to the realms of the gods. Try it with spag bol, chili con carne, curry, bbq chops... oh my. Don't get me started on the chops.

  • Comment number 15.

    Have you tried a sausage and black pudding with a dollop of tinned tomato,s with an oxo sprinkled into the tinned toms,One of the nicest guys in sport is Phill Thompson.

  • Comment number 16.

    This had me laughing out loud several times... Got some funny looks on the train.

    Great stuff...

  • Comment number 17.

    I discovered a caravan on a beach in wales that sold black pudding burgers. So simple but I'd never thought of it. Well worth a try if you can find big enough black pudding.

    Sausage arms - you missed beans. You have to have the beanage otherwise the meal can get a bit dry. Cheapest can possible too. Heinz are just too sweet.

    And for fried bread, try it with ghee. Twice as bad for you I think, but well worth the heart seizures.

  • Comment number 18.

    Guess what? I'm popping to the shops to buy some bacon and replenish the Walker brown sauce supplies.

    I will swing into full commenting mode on my return. See you shortly.

  • Comment number 19.

    Good blog as usual Dan. Always an entertaining read. I think yours and Jake Humphrey's are the best blogs on the site.

    The list of nice guys in sport is quite a tough one to compile! It's like when you name your top 10 women of all time - you complete the list then always think of 2 or 3 more who really should be on there.

    I'd like to throw a few names into the hat though....

    Graeme Hick - The nicest guy in sport without a shadow of doubt.
    Alec Stewart - All-round decent bloke.
    Jimmy Bullard - Comedy and kindness - a winning combo.
    Clarke Carlisle - Seemed like a thoroughly nice guy when on MOTD2.

    Oh, and i've met Mark Cueto and his dad before, and his dad is probably an even nicer guy!

    Could you compile a list of the top 10 ex/current sportsmen who you'd like to go on a heavy night out with? I reckon Botham will be in that list somewhere.....haha

  • Comment number 20.

    Steve Bruce?

    Is this the same Steve Bruce that follows the cash, leaving clubs as quickly as he can, as soon as he gets offered more £££££££?

    Or maybe it's the same Steve Bruce that decided to award man of the match to David Beckham after he played about 15 minutes in an England game, purely because he didn't want to award it to a player who spurned him and Sunderland in the transfer window.

  • Comment number 21.

    my friend was with his kid at jo'burg international airport when he bumped into Samuel Eto'o. He said he was really friendly and was happy to pose for pictures and autographs even after a long haul flight. Not bad.

    A stark contrast to the Guardian small talk interview when he came across like a moody kid. Shows how it depends on the moment and mood I guess...

    ..or maybe he'd just had a bacon sarnie and was still on a pork high.

  • Comment number 22.

    Sorry to spoil the love-in but this irrelevant discussion about fry-ups rather exposes the irrelevance of Mr. Walker. Perhaps such irreverent discussions are the reason that his blog is somewhat discreet on the site, just as well I say.

  • Comment number 23.

    What 20 nice guys and no mention of Bobby Charlton!
    Really nice guys dominated by footballers? I don't think so you need to get out in the world a bit and come across some exceptional people who don't just kick a round ball about for extortionate wages.
    Gerald Davies the Wales & Lions great is one who I would have put on the list. Bill Beaumont maybe, Chris Hoy, Steve Redgrave, Jonny Wilkinson, Willie John McBride (yes I am an ex rugby player), Steve Cram ....

  • Comment number 24.


    Yes, yes, yes to all, except for the tomatoes. Grilled tomatoes are practically sun dried, which is a Mediterranean concept which has no place in a full English. Beans all the way. Brown sauce, no debate.

    Well made fried bread is a delight, but difficult to achieve. Often glassy fragile, often oozing with fat, somewhere between is delicate, crunchy, fried starch nirvana.

    Aren't there any nice ladies in sport? Tempting as it may be to believe, I wasn't necessarily thinking of Sharapova, Pendleton or Lewis. But Denise Lewis must be one of the nicest in every way


  • Comment number 25.

    13. At 08:27am on 18 Nov 2009, Mikey wrote:

    'Dan... where is big Johnny Hartson in there..??'

    Is this the same john hartson who did this......

  • Comment number 26.

    #22 So discreet and irrelevant that you found it and commented..

    The only time I choose not to read this blog is when I am hungry..

  • Comment number 27.

    Standardly good blog, always a decent read for it's mixture of sporting chit chat and gastronomical banter.

    Question for Dan, a mate of mine sometimes works on MOTD as a camera man, his name is Andy Powell, just wondered if you had worked with him before?

  • Comment number 28.

    Apparently Phil Brown calls Tomato Ketchup 'red sauce' and puts it on his roast dinner!!

  • Comment number 29.

    I'd think Big Lesley Vainikolo needs a mention. I was at the match at Headingley when Leeds were playing Bradford and Robbie Burrows was knocked out. Les ignored play, rushed to Robbie, pulled his gum shield out and checked he hadn't swallowed his tongue, a true great.

    Another one witnessed in person was Keith Senior this season when Chev Walker had a horror leg break. I know he has some bad press does Keith for fronting up in games but he is an absolute gent

  • Comment number 30.

    Aww im disappointed I never put forward my hero Lucas Radebe for selection :( Surely the nicest guy ever in football

  • Comment number 31.

    Also @ #22, if you consistently dont like this blog then don't go to all the (apparent) effort of finding it and commenting.

    Good job Dan enjoyed reading that, looking forward to those upcoming interviews you mentioned. I am now up for some grub... my bowl of value corn flakes didnt quite do the job this morning!

  • Comment number 32.

    Met Matt Holland at Keele student's union a few years back when he was getting his coaching badges and I was getting drunk, and apparently studying. He seemed like a top bloke, affable and willing to placate drunken morons going; "You’re that Matt Holland bloke, you scored against the blues last year you b*****d!" and other such trite. He actually bought my brother and a friend 20 sambuca, so not exactly an exponent of a healthy drinking mentality but a great bloke!

  • Comment number 33.

    Right... the cupboards have been replenished.

    I am staggered the choice of condiments has sparked off such a debate. Let me start with you sausagearms (#5). If I remember rightly you are a Sheffield Wednesday fan and probably the last person who can lecture us on what sauce to have with meat based products. Just outside Hillsborough there is a pork sandwich shop that offers you the chance to have your bread roll dipped in 100% fat before then layering it in meat and pig skin.

    Having said that, I like the list of fried breakfast materials but I am in full support of the78sum (#17) that you have missed beans off the list. I also like the idea of a black pudding burger although it might have to be offset with 100 star jumps per bite. thehonorarytitle (#6) also makes an excellent comment about your possible reasons for having such strong views on the subject sausagearms. Could this be true?

    Holloway2Holland - staggering number of comments already. I think we are on the main page at the moment so someone is listening to your protestations about hiding us away in the lower areas (#3).

    Alex (#9) and freddawlanen (#20) I fully take on board what you say about Steve Bruce but I always thinks he comes across as a good bloke and he had some strong support last week. dabos83 (#10) makes a strong case for the Powellmeister. I think if you'd have mentioned him last week he'd have made the top 20.

    Mikey (#13) Believe me John Hartson was close. In fact he was in the top 20 until Matt Holland made a late arrival. In the end it came down to the head-kicking incident and I went for the slightly less violent nice bloke.

    Whittingham_42 (#14) Linvoy went down very well in the office - almost as well as your suggestion of using mayonnaise as a base for all sauces... I'm on it. In fact Ronnie (#15) has got another good dish... maybe we should come up with a football focus recipe book!

    snowJacuzzi007 (#19) has brought up a deep truth about always thinking of others just when you think the list is complete. Graeme Hick, Alec Stewart, Jimmy Bullard and Clarke Carlisle are all solid choices although Hick's inability to defend a yorker has knocked him out and I once played golf with Jimmy Bullard and he walked off after 14 holes coz he was losing. In his defence he did make us all laugh our heads off for those 14 holes so maybe he should be in there.

    hcorem4lyf (#22) I was once called 'irrelevant' by my art teacher after I tried to draw a picture of a penguin and it looked like a horse! Thanks for the comment though. Everyone needs a bit of light relief and - at the moment - the fry-up seems to be hitting the spot.

  • Comment number 34.

    Go on Steve Bruce!

    Glad he made the list.

    I do think the comments people make about your clothes are funny. I suspect that Mark from Cheshire was being a tad silly when he wrote that letter.

  • Comment number 35.

    You obviously have limited sporting interest Dan. What about golf or is that not of interest because it was invented by the Jocks? There is no nicer man to grace sport than Arnold Palmer (although Jack Nicholas and Tom Watson ran him close).
    Nial Quinn - I like the guy but cannot see him without thinking about the dive in the box when he was with Arsenal. No one else near him as the ball came in. Don't remember Arnold ever diving.
    Tim Henman - you are mistaking boring for niceness. Easy mistake to make, if you have nothing contentious to say then you can appear quite nice. How about Borg?

  • Comment number 36.

    Thanks for the reply Dan. Quite oddly your comment had a great deal more grace than various randoms who it wasn't even aimed at!

  • Comment number 37.

    what about football funny man jimmy bullard?

  • Comment number 38.

    My brother was recently invited to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's house after a nearby game of golf on a Surrey course. Jimmy welcomed him and the others in with open arms, cracked open a few beers for them and ordered a curry in while they watched the racing on the giant TV. He then gave them a guided tour of the place and they ended up staying for a few hours. I think the fact that the highlight of my brother's day was the great pleasure he took in christening Jimmy's toilet says more about him than anything else.

  • Comment number 39.

    I usually have 2 bacon sarnies, one with HP and one with ketchup. the world's just one big melting pot, there's room for all colours in my masticatory episodes.

  • Comment number 40.

    (#38) - Great story, I've always thought ol' Jimmy Floyd seemed like a nice guy....

  • Comment number 41.

    33. At 10:02am on 18 Nov 2009, Dan Walker wrote:
    Right... the cupboards have been replenished.

    I am staggered the choice of condiments has sparked off such a debate.
    with all due respect dan, that is the most interesting thing in this blog.

    it's reassuring people are more interested in sausages and brown sauce than who your celebrity friends are, perhaps there is hope for mankind after all :-)

  • Comment number 42.

    I am amazed that Steve Bruce has found his way into this list. I do not think that Wigan, Sheffield United, Huddersfield or Palace fans (like myself) will agree with his inclusion. He has a history of leaving clubs in the lurch having spent a very mimimal period of time in charge, to follow his the dollar elsewhere.

    Obviously, I'm most familiar with his exit from Palace, which was nothing short of a disgrace, but I understand that he treated the other clubs I've mentioned pretty badly as well.

    Just because he comes accross ok in the occasional interview, he is not necessarily a nice guy. I think a previous comment referred to Robbie Savage - yes, he may come accross as inteligent and likeable human being in interviews, but this is also the same man that turned up to training at Derby, the day after they were relegated from the Premiership, in a brand new Ferrari. Nice!

  • Comment number 43.

  • Comment number 44.


    I found interesting your coverage of the suicide of Robert Enke - clearly a very sad situation. But I also think that it would have been useful to touch on the issues of depression and suicide (which is on the rise) in the wider community, particularly in young men and I suppose largely your target audience. Did you not miss an opportunity here ?

  • Comment number 45.

    Blueleadbiter.. If an act of violence is not to be condoned then there would be no rugby players in there coz Ill guarantee everyone of them has went outside the rules at some point in their career.. Tim Henman melted a tennis ball at a ball boy/girl before he was the darling of English Tennis..

    Lets be honest.. it was Eyal Berkovic and although it should never have happened.. he was a little so and so.. Shearer never got the fallout for doing it to Neil Lennon if you remember..

  • Comment number 46.

    I think Steve Bruce should be replaced by Martin Jol - he was always dignified in his interviews even when decisions hadn't gone his way (i.e. Pedro Mendes - the goal that never was vs. Man Utd) and he has a genuine love for Spurs and their fans despite the complete mistreatment by the clubs board. He would be top of my list

  • Comment number 47.

    - And a couple of posthumous ones?

    Sir Bobby Robson would have walked onto any list, were he still alive (only just missed out). And 'Sir' Bob Paisley, whose record of success as manager may have eventually have been overtaken by a man who would never make it onto any 'nice guy' list ('Sir' Alex Ferguson) but it's taken a long time.

    That Bob Paisley was never knighted is a travesty... It's too late now - they don't give knighthoods posthumously.

  • Comment number 48.

    What about Henry Cooper and Frank Bruno. Both very likeable blokes. Also you have Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton who also seem very pleasant and likeable as well.

    If they don't have to still be alive then surely Sir Bobby Robson would be there as well.

    On the breakfast front you have to drop the black pudding but put in fried bread and also a few beans but not too many.

  • Comment number 49.

    just realised someone else also nominated jimmy bullard....whoops

    to continue my stupidity how about kevin muskat?

  • Comment number 50.

    re 47. Great shout - Sir Bobby deserves a place despite his recent demise. Even bereft of life, he brings more intregrity to football than the likes of Steve Bruce.

  • Comment number 51.


    in fairness to tim henman, he didn't hit the ball at the ball girl, he hit the ball in frustration and it unfortunately hit the ball girl. you make it sound like a heinous act of thuggery hehehe.

    nobody was more mortified than he was after that episode.

  • Comment number 52.

    So pleased Peter Beardsley is in this list. Considering his footballing pedigree, he is so unassuming and has time for all of his fans (and there are still lots around begging autographs and photos).
    At a schools training session, he coached the kids, moved goalposts around so they could play a match and must be THE most talented ballboy I have ever seen. Top Man!

  • Comment number 53.

    Someone beat me to the Steve Bruce comments…..££££££££££££££!!!!
    Of today’s players Kevin Doyle has to be in there...
    I had the great privilege of meeting Sir Stanley Matthews once, what a gent
    Mark Webber again I had the privilege of spending an evening with him once…for my ignorance I didn’t know who he was at the time , but what a genuine guy he was as I realised who I was talking to!!!

  • Comment number 54.

    45. At 11:32am on 18 Nov 2009, Mikey wrote:

    Tim Henman melted a tennis ball at a ball boy/girl before he was the darling of English Tennis..

    Melted eh?? very impressive!!

  • Comment number 55.

    To those of you who criticise this blog for being 'irrelevant': do us all a favour and go read a bit of Phil McToffee, Mihir Boring or any article by Jonathan "OMG I'm, like, so in love with football" Stevenson. Dan's blog is funny, insightful and - shock horror - original, which is everything a good blog should be.

    If you don't like it, go and eat some Tesco Value cheese crackers (other budget cheese biscuits are available... but none are quite so asphyxiating)

  • Comment number 56.

    Hello again. thanks for all the comments so far. Let me just explain something about the list. I know it is a bit football heavy but it started out as a piece about Martin Laursen and from that point people were asked to nominate their 'nice blokes in sport'. The list on this blog was put together from those nominations and I think that is why they are predominantly footballers.

    I think that is what you were getting at John (#35) and Jimmy Q (#23) although I should point out that Sir Christopher of Hoy is on the list. I would have loved to delve into the world of golf... David Howell and Stewart Cink, for example, both seem like good fellas.

    Mat (#24) has rightly asked about the ladies. Maybe that should be another list entirely although if it was a unisex list, I think you're correct, Denise Lewis would be right up there.

    OptimumDJ (#27) I have not met Andy Powell yet but I shall keep an eye out for the man.

    Gopherboy (#30) I knew there was one I missed out from last week. Lucas Radebe was the fella. Apologies for that. You can insert him anywhere you like in the top 20.

    Thom (#40) best story of the week about Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Excellent toilet news as well.

    polite & respectful_nffc_no more cheekiness....... unless pushed (#41) re: 'celebrity friends' I assume you are talking about the Bullard story. You're right, I just read it back and even I thought I sounded like an idiot. I have taken it on the chin.

    Adam (#44). I glad you mentioned Robert Enke. We had a long debate about how we were going to cover it on the programme and I think, in the end, we got the right balance. Personally I didn't feel it was time to broaden out the issue to young men in general because I don't think any of those of the sofa would have been able to comment with any authority on it.

    It seems as though Steve Bruce is causing the most consternation at the moment. I blame you EricDantona (#34)... all that talk last week convinced me he was worthy of a place.

    Keep them coming.

  • Comment number 57.

    I think one person that deserves to be on the list is 'Big Dave' - Darren Moore! You couldn't meet a nicer man, and he's a cult hero at every club hes played at, and he does endless charity work with his close friend, Linvoy Primus.

    I know it isn't a thread on charity but Ulises De La Cruz used to contribute a percentage of his wage to the charity he has set up in Ecuador, and has become an ambassador for UNICEF whilst doing so, surely meaning he is nice in some ways?!

  • Comment number 58.

    Federer shouldnt be on the list. He is no doubt worthy when he is on a winning streak, but he is one of sports worst losers. I dont think you should get a place in the top 20 if you arent gracious in defeat, which all to often he isnt. To be honest he probably wouldnt be as good a player as he is if he wasnt so hurt when he loses, but the fact is he all to often makes comments that essentially say how much better he is than the other player and they only won because he had a bad day (perhaps losses to Nadal aside).
    I also agree that Steve Bruce shouldnt be in the list, mainly for the same reasons as above, but also the way he treated certain clubs early in his managerial career.

  • Comment number 59.

    With the title of the blog being nicest people in sport it appears that it was originally designed to include women! Female votes from me include Laura Robson, Anastasia Dobromyslova, Lee Mckenzie, Becca Adlington and number 1, Gail Emms.

  • Comment number 60.

    How about the King of Spain / wheelie bin, Ashley Giles? Never met him but always seems like a thoroughly nice chap when interviewed. He was my cricketing idol when I was a kid, too (slow left-armers need idols more than most)

  • Comment number 61.

    what about tuffers???

  • Comment number 62.

    56. At 12:19pm on 18 Nov 2009, Dan Walker wrote:

    polite & respectful_nffc_no more cheekiness....... unless pushed (#41) re: 'celebrity friends' I assume you are talking about the Bullard story. You're right, I just read it back and even I thought I sounded like an idiot. I have taken it on the chin.
    hehehe, fair do's dan,

    for the record i'm a daddies brown sauce man on both bacon and sausage, i struggle to find a place in my life for ketchup :)

  • Comment number 63.

    Peter Schmeichel - can't believe we missed him! Deserves inclusion for his outstanding achievements in the field of bacon promotion alone.

  • Comment number 64.

  • Comment number 65.

    For nicest sporting bloke, dare I suggest Stefan Edberg? He was well known in his playing heyday for always winning the award for most sporting player in tennis.

    (Hoping all the blokes don't scoff at a woman daring to pop in and comment!)

  • Comment number 66.

    what about tuffers?

  • Comment number 67.

    Graeme Swann seems like an absolute class act! Always cracking jokes and keeping a smile on everyones face

  • Comment number 68.

    On the charity tip, good old Dean Kiely used to donate ALL his win bonuses to charity and got the back four to donate £50 to a local charity everytime they kept a clean sheet (admittedly that wasn't too often but the thought was there).

  • Comment number 69.

    Well Dan this has got to be the most replies you've ever had eh?

    It was a good topic choice, it just as usual, doesn't have an awful lot of topical merit - let's not forget these are meant to be FOOTBALL blogs.

    Best blog on here by far is Robbo Robson which is epitomized by the amount of comments he gets EVERY time. Having said that, Steve Claridge and Michael Gray's blogs are just as worthy of a read, though for footballing purposes.

    Mihir Bhose is tosh, I agree. Though he now spends his time boring me during my daily commute in the Evening Standard. Phil McNulty doesn't know as much as he thinks he does (Liverpool for the Prem indeed!) and that fella who does the European blogs ditto.

  • Comment number 70.

    Another thought - who remembers Taribo West? From what I remember, he was comfortably Derby County's best player. He promised to go on and play for other struggling clubs in a bid to make them better. A real footballing philanthropist (or just a madman). Seemed ok though.

    Edberg's a good shout, but I completely disagree with 58's comments about Federer - he certainly looks unhappy when he loses, but I've never known him to come accross as ungracious. There's no doubt he's hurting, but he always seems genuine to me.

  • Comment number 71.

    #22 Buy a thesaurus!

  • Comment number 72.

    No63, Seeing as you said Peter Schmeichel, I'd like to put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer into the mix

  • Comment number 73.

    I met Eidur Gudjohnson (hope I spelt it correctly!) at Barcelona airport two years ago.

    I was dreadfully hungover, having spent an all expenses paid long weekend there on a work xmas trip, but got chatting to him and he was really friendly and talked very openly about where he saw his future, etc.

    A top chap!

    On the bacon/sauce/sausage debate, without wanting to play devil's advocate...I'm a huge believer in mixing tomato sauce with brown sauce to make the perfect breakfast sauce. Anyone else do this?

  • Comment number 74.

    "Having said that, Steve Claridge and Michael Gray's blogs are just as worthy of a read, though for footballing purposes."

    That's precisely the point. There are millions of full-on football blogs on this site already. So if that's what you're looking for, you know where to go. What exactly are you doing here?

    As Dan himself said earlier, we need some light relief and this blog provides just that. I find Steve Claridge and Michael Gray's stuff rather tedious. Also (and no offence to Michael Gray, for he clearly has other gifts) based on his personal replies to user comments, I'm dubious as to how much of the blog is his own work. By all means interview him once a week or whetever, but don't expect us to believe that he actually wrote it.

  • Comment number 75.

    Matt Holland, what a bloke! I never knew there was so much to sitting on a couch and talking! Well, there still isn't but for his first time in the show he was very professional! Lescott and Rooney sound like a quality two players to bring in, I guess you'll be adjusting your list to put Rooney at the top then when he's on the show? :D top read, a sarnie with no sauce though, WHEN WILL THE BBC LEARN!?

  • Comment number 76.

    I always thought Gary Mabbutt came across as a genuinely nice chap. Just my opinion so there you go.

  • Comment number 77.

    Back in my heyday I once played on the wonderful Portland Road pitch for my youth team Bishops Stortford FC when we played Ipswich in the FA Youth Cup. Matt Holland's brother Joe played for us at the time and before the game not only did Matt come into the changing rooms to wish his brother luck he also took a moment to speak to a few of the lads before the biggest game of our young lives. I'll always remember Matt and that glimpse of fame and the 4-0 drubbing that occurred just after our brief encounter!!

    Did I never make it because I like both brown and red sauce in a sausage sandwich?

  • Comment number 78.

    Clearly never met Chris Powell? The man is the ultimate gent... In my time follwoing club and country I've never met a more genuine person!

  • Comment number 79.

    Dean Windass has to be on the list. When he played for Oxford a few years back me and my mates used to go and watch tehm train after school (sad, I know) and on more than one occasion he'd get a few of the players to stop and have a kick around and a penalty comp with us. He even gave me a training bib which is still in the garage somewhere

  • Comment number 80.

    I should point out that theyd stop after training, not during. Dont think the boss would have been happy with his players having a kick about with kids when hes trying to coach

  • Comment number 81.

    #79 - Wow!! A Dean Windass Oxford training bib!! Start the bidding war please!!

  • Comment number 82.

    Well if it's mainly about living footballers or ex footballers then what about Sir Trevor Brooking and Mick Channon

  • Comment number 83.

    #79/80 – Dean Windass???? I’m sorry did I read that wrong, Dean Windass???

    One of the dirtiest players of a generation and a deplorable character off it…that Dean Windass?

    The same Dean Windass that got a four-game ban for a 4-letter word tirade at a referee in a club car park after a match??

    Don’t be fooled by him acting like an angel just because he’s fishing for a managers job!!

  • Comment number 84.

    Thanks for your comments friends, Romans and countrymen.

    Darren Moore and The Swann (ESR #57), Ashley Giles (Whittingham_42 #60), Stefan Edberg (admiralandrea #65), Tuffers (ticticpow #66, Dean Kiely (Thom #68), Eidur Gudjohnson(Tucker_jenkins #73), Gary Mabbutt (Andrew #76)and Dean Windass (oufckid123 #79) are all good shouts and more proof of the foolhardiness of attempting this list in the first place.

    I should again point out that it started out as a 'top blokes' in sport and that is why there are no ladies in there... it's not a male supremacy thing. Gail Emms would definitely make the cut.

    Good to hear some positive stuff about Lord Holland from I'm not super genius...or are I? (#75) and StortValleyFC10 (#77) and Tucker_jenkins #73 you've really thrown one out there with the mixing of sauces suggestion. I think that borders on condiment heresy!

    hcorem4lyf (#69) - thanks again for the comments but my response would be similar to that voiced to Whittingham_42 in number 79. There are loads of blogs out there that tick the 'topical football' box. I was asked to do something a little bit different, loosely based around football focus but including a light-hearted look at all sorts of things... including fig rolls and bacon sandwiches.

    I know it's not everyone's cup of tea which is why it's good that there are plenty of other blogs on the website to cater for you. By the way... I think we topped 100 comments once for your information. I'll just check... bare with me... yep 107 and few weeks back. I think this is now officially the 217th most popular blog in the world. I made that up.

  • Comment number 85.

    Nicky Summerbee (ex Swindon and Man City legend of the mid '90s) was once walking his dog in a local park where the under 15s team I played for were training. He stopped for a kickabout with a few of us when we'd finished.

    I hit his Jack Russell with a penalty and he laughed.

    That story sounded better in my head...

    Great blog by the way Dan! Am loving Football Focus too.

    One question for you: Is Garth Crooks like that all the time?

  • Comment number 86.

    Before anyway slays me let me change it to 'bear with me'. Yellow card for suggested nakedness.

  • Comment number 87.

    Christiano Ronaldo.

    Only joking

  • Comment number 88.

    Ketchup in a bacon sarnie? How eliteist. So what's wrong with French mustard?

  • Comment number 89.

    And why is it that it can't just be a bloke thing without the PC feminist brigade sticking an oar in? Yawn!

  • Comment number 90.

    What about David Beckham???

    Crispy bacon and sausage sandwhich, with tomato sauce, and toasted warburtons bread, nothing better!!!

  • Comment number 91.

    Joey Barton?

  • Comment number 92.

    Beans are worthless without 3 or 4 thick slices of strong cheddar melted in. Add the contents of the spice cupboard for some real tastebud interest.

  • Comment number 93.

    George Burley always came across as a nice guy, or perhaps just a bit special.

  • Comment number 94.

    amon64lfc: Yes, yes and thrice yes. Cheesy beans are something special, but until you've dumped half a pot of curry powder in the mix you're still nowhere near the ultimate bean experience. Just divine.

    That said, the potent mix of beans and curry powder is not recommended for the light of bowel.

  • Comment number 95.

    I'd have to nominate Dennis Irwin and Paul McGrath for the nice guy awards.

    McGrath in particular is nothing but a gentleman when you meet him. I've encountered him several times, when he's been at high and low points, and even at his lowest ebb he is one of the nicest people you could have the pleasure of meeting.
    His personal problems may distort some people's opinions of him, but even when he's on a bender, he's an absolute pleasure to meet.

  • Comment number 96.

    Oh yes, meant to add to the breakfast debate.

    Sausages, hash browns and ketchup in a white bread sandwich. Only way to go.

  • Comment number 97.

    For me, there should be a distinction between funny people
    His heir apparent Swann
    Dean Macey
    Usain Bolt
    Marat Safin

    and Geniunely nice people
    Chris Powell (my number 1)
    Lucas Radebe
    Dean Kiely (no i'm not a Charlton fan)

    As much as both are appreciated, they truly good guys & girls are the ones who deserve recognition.

    I also feel there needs to be some female representation, so allow me to suggest:
    Denise Lewis
    Becky Adlington
    Steffi Graf
    Victoria Pendleton
    Jess Ennis
    Alyson Felix
    Merlene Ottey

    Without wanting to belittle people's experiences i think it's hard to judge people on one-off meetings, because as has been mentioned, it can be all about the mood they're in at the time. For example i know not many Liverpool fans would vote for Gudjohnsen, nor Barca fans Eto'o. The people i've chosen are based on years of watching them react to joy & disappointment in a dignified manner.

    And please stop talking about fried breakfasts - i'm on a bleeding diet!

  • Comment number 98.

    Cheese + beans + BBQ sauce = ultimate beans. Fact.

  • Comment number 99.

    Definitely agree with Paul McGrath.

  • Comment number 100.

    I think I'll be having fried porridge tomorrow. Fresh out of bacon


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