Obsessed with Big Four? Not Focus
Great news! My chin has finally defrosted after the Football Focus excursion to the Emirates on Saturday. I really enjoyed the show, but we did get a few complaints from people who weren't happy about a perceived Arsenal bias. I've had a good chat with the editor and there are a few things we need to point out in response.
Secondly, these programmes are usually divided into three sections. The first 15 minutes are effectively a match preview, the middle section focuses on other issues, while the last 15 are used to take a look behind the scenes at our chosen club.
We had hoped to speak to Birmingham manager Alex McLeish but he wasn't able to talk to us (he will be on this Saturday), while our planned chat about the game at St Andrew's had to be dropped from the programme when we got the breaking news from the Africa Cup of Nations.
The good news is that plenty of people are watching Focus and the vast majority of feedback is really positive. Our last two programmes were watched by the biggest audiences for three years. Obviously that has nothing to do with the snow!!!
Preparation for Saturday's programme was a little different because of the weather. From Wednesday onwards, we were fearing a call-off. When I went to the Emirates to film on Thursday, old ladies were wobbling on the ice and little lads were holding on to lamp-posts.
Snow falls during Arsenal's game with Everton at the Emirates
On Friday, games were disappearing from the fixture list every 20 minutes. By 0830 on Saturday, Wigan v Villa had gone and Arsenal v Everton was the only remaining three o'clock kick-off in the Premier League.
Editor Mark Cole and I travelled to the Emirates together on the tube.
On our journey, we discussed the running order and how we were going to deal with developments in Angola.
A mother sitting across from us whispered to one of her sons that the men opposite were from the television. The lad, who I assume was about 10, never looked up from his Nintendo DS.
On arrival at the stadium, I nipped to the toilets to apply the clothing required to battle the estimated wind-chill factor of minus four.
I went for five layers up top and three downstairs, including a pair of long johns that my mum got me when I went off to university back in the mid 1990s. This was only their second-ever use. They first came out for a fancy dress party a few years ago. I pulled one leg over my head to look like a burglar.
I don't know about you, but I enjoyed Dixon's interview with Andrey Arshavin.
The little Russian has a habit of coming out with some crackers. In the past, he has questioned whether women should drive at all and voiced his hatred of British salad.
This time around, he chose to vent his fury at parking in London and his dislike of bank accounts. In Russia, he was always paid in cash. £75,000 a week in cash? Little man... big pockets!
Raymond Blanc was a great laugh. I'm still not sure how you can switch from supporting Manchester United to Arsenal, but I love the passion he has for both his food and football. After the show, I made perhaps my stupidest decision of the last six months in response to an offer from Monsieur Blanc...
"Hey Dan. Thank you so much for having me on," said the flamboyant Frenchman. "Why don't you come up to the Diamond Club for your lunch?" The Diamond Club costs £25,000 to join and then a further £25,000 a season. Brother Blanc has not one but two Michelin stars.
Bearing all that in mind, can anyone explain why I declined his fantastic offer and told him I'd be heading to the press box instead? Very poor decision, although it should be said that the press room tucker at Arsenal is rather impressive. The mini fish and chips at half-time bordered on the spectacular.
Anyway, Stephen Pienaar's wonder goal for Everton helped the healing process. Get the dink wrong and you look like a tool, get it right and everyone's a winner.
Before I go this week, just time for the latest behind-the-scenes footage for you to have a look at. I hope you enjoy it.
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