Focus loses the golden touch
It's official - our good record has completely gone in the last few weeks. Last season, when we took Focus on the road, we seemed to act as a lucky omen to the home side - just ask Manchester City, Fulham, Tottenham, Burnley and Bradford fans. This time round we are 2 and 0 (as the Americans would say).
Now, I know a lot of people were miffed at my praise for Joey Barton last week so I promise not to talk about him, but I will be concentrating on our trip to the North East.
Whenever we go out and about these days, we always try to shout about it in the local press. I organised for Lawro to do an interview with the Newcastle Evening Chronicle on Thursday and he also went on BBC Radio Newcastle's Friday night preview show.
While he was doing that, I was about 100 yards away in the enormous TV studio talking about Focus with Jeff Brown from BBC Look North. Friday was actually a little hectic, so when I eventually got back to the hotel, I think I had broken my record for 'longest period of time without food'.
I'd gone stupidly early with my lunch at about 1030 BST and hadn't eaten since... a whole 10 hours later! I even considered raiding the hotel mini bar but £6.50 for a miniature bag of peanuts and a Crunchie is too much - even when 'caveman' mode kicks in.
The rest of the Focus crew arrived by train at about 2030 BST and it seemed that everything was in place for the programme... until Graeme Swann called!
We had booked Brother Swann only for him to pull out on the previous Monday because of an England training session. However, after beating Pakistan in Friday's one-day international match, they'd all been given the Saturday off. Swanny was ringing to see if he could still come on. We had to shuffle a few things around but - I don't know if you agree - it was well worth a last-minute fiddle because he was a great guest.
The next day, we only had one wobble during the show when we had a microphone failure in the press room. We were all in there ready to go when director Ian Finch spotted the problem and gave it the old Hollywood "ABORT! ABORT!". We played '60 seconds in Focus' early and had to mix the next few things around. Eventually, there was a quick dash up two floors to the directors box with Colin Calderwood just behind me. If you look back carefully at the online version, you can see me gently perspiring!
Other than that, everything went super smoothly but whenever we cover Newcastle we always get the same response from other football fans: a combination of 'why are you bothering with them?' and 'why are you pandering to their belief that they are a big club?'
It seems there is nothing more annoying to the average football supporter than a 'deluded member of the Toon army', as one Chelsea fan put it on Twitter. I suggested that to Mr Swann after the show and his response was to produce a seven-inch smile and declare that it's just the way it is.
"Two things will always remain true in football," he proclaimed with his trademark wit, "the Toon are always on the brink of world domination and everyone else can't stomach it." I think he might be right and Saturday saw the perfect demonstration of that.
Outside Shearer's Bar before the game, a group of Newcastle boys were genuinely talking about the prospect of beating Blackpool 12-0 after pummelling Villa. On Saturday night, there was scarcely a fans phone-in or forum across the land that didn't feature somebody sniggering about the Magpies' 2-0 defeat by the Tangerines.
'I thought you said you where going to win the league,' I texted Mr Swann on Saturday night. 'Next season, pal,' came the response. 'We'll take Champions League this time round.' Some things never change! There are more optimistic anecdotes from the world's best-rated spin bowler in this week's Focus Forum, which is worth a watch.
Happy to hear your views on Newcastle, the show or how long you've lasted without food but let's try to keep it friendly this week.
We are back on at 1215 BST this Saturday with another beauty. Harry Redknapp talks about Tottenham's lively debut in the Champions League proper and we have a special report on Iraq's national team. Martin Keown will be picking his favourite five Premier League goals for Arsenal after they notched up number 1000 under Mr Wenger last week. I'm sure he'd appreciate your thoughts on that!
Also... calling all Leeds fans! Get your questions in for Simon Grayson, who will be legging it from Doncaster to join Martin and Lawro in the studio.
Don't forget, the best place to keep across the build up is on twitter.com/danwalkerbbc