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Dan Walker | 09:26 UK time, Thursday, 12 May 2011

I have been asked by at least six people this week why I have not blogged for the past fortnight. One of them added that they "don't actually read it" but that is still five people who have missed it.

I would like to say the reason for its absence is down to some sort of Jason Bourne-style mission in Peru. But, it is actually because I have been moving house. Anyone who has young kids knows that even jobs like changing a bin bag can take on epic proportions, so shifting all your possessions is a monster process.

I hope you enjoyed last week's live show from Loftus Road, where we broke the news about the Football Association's decision not to dock QPR any points. It is very rare that you get to break a huge story like that and even rarer to be in the perfect place to do it.

Anyone who wants to be a journalist should pay close attention to Dan Roan, our sports news correspondent. Reliable contacts are a good journalist's sword and shield - and Dan has plenty of them. Anyway, we had asked him to come down to Loftus Road just in case something happened - and it proved to be the right decision.

During our chat about Manchester United's Premier League title decider with Chelsea, I saw Dan disappear out of the corner of my eye with a mobile phone to his ear and re-emerge holding a microphone. The editor motioned to me that I needed to bring Dan on - and he promptly broke the news five minutes before anyone else. It emerged that the QPR directors learnt the club's fate by watching Focus in their boardroom.

There were pockets of cheers around Loftus Road as the news filtered out. A bloke with a sombrero started waving a flag and the whole mood changed in the space of 60 seconds. It was like a wake had suddenly become a 21st birthday party and someone had thrown Vanilla Ice on the sound system - other music is available.

Mark Lawrenson and Neil Warnock. Photo: www.backpageimages.comLawro and Warnock discuss QPR's future. Photo:

That change of mood was epitomised by the two appearances during the programme of QPR boss Neil Warnock. During the first, he looked tense and agitated. In the second, he was liberated, having watched some of his players cry when news that the club had avoided a points penalty had been relayed to them in the dressing room.

There are, of course, questions about why and how the FA came to their judgment. Was it a cop out? Do Swansea have a case? What about the example of Luton Town, who were docked 10 points for financial irregularities?

There are a number of valid arguments but it puzzles me that some people are addressing their anger to QPR. Yes, they broke some rules, but any questions over the punishment should be directed to those who govern the game. The biggest query of all is why we got to the final weekend of the season with the matter undecided?

I also went to see West Ham United co-owner David Gold last week and I thought he gave a very honest assessment of his club's plight. He invited us to his grand home in the Surrey hills and even made a cup of tea. I am not sure he was too happy with the P-reg Saxo parked outside his mansion but he did not shirk any of the difficult questions.

Gold and Hammers boss Avram Grant have both targeted seven points from their last three games to stay in the Premier League which means they have to win the last two against Wigan and Sunderland. I also met up with two Tonys - Gale and Cottee - this week and they both fear the worst for their former club. They feel that any team in the bottom half of the table would take West Ham's squad over their own, so that leaves the finger of blame for their predicament pointing firmly at the manager and players.

Lee Dixon's newspaper column last week highlighted the poor attitude at West Ham training, so, barring a change in mentality and a huge slice of fortune, it looks like Championship football next season for the unhappy Hammers.

I wanted to show you this, though. Gold has a 19-hole golf course in his back garden and one of the greens is a beast. Fast, vast and with slopes like Everest! We were having a little putt before the interview and our cameraman, Danny, was thankfully filming the action. What you are about to see below ranks as one of my finest sporting achievements. It is up there with scoring two goals for Hazelwick against Thomas Bennett in a County Cup final in the early 1990s.

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We are looking ahead to the FA Cup final this week. Stoke's Danny Higginbotham, who was great last time we had him on the show, will be joining us again. Garth Crooks has also spent some time with Potters boss Tony Pulis, while we have also managed to get former team-mates Robbie Savage and Roberto Mancini back together. The show is back to the normal time of 1215 BST.

Any questions or comments, let me have them below. As always, you can find me on twitter at


  • Comment number 1.

    Watching that video reminds me of the televised pro-am from many years ago, on Channel 4 I think, when they showed Terry Wogan putting what I believe is still the longest televised putt ever. You are of course dressed a little more fashionably, if not like a golfer. Maybe a pair of Ian Poulter's strides would have been appropriate for a bit of golf?

    I am pleased that QPR are being promoted as by pure merit of their season's performances, they deserve to be in the Premier League. I think you're right that whilst QPR did not abide by the rules, it's down to the lawmakers to establish consistent and proper rules that have a clear punishment when Club A breaks Law B, rather than the apparent mess we seem to have now.

    I know he's not everybodys cup of tea, but I actually quite like Neil Warnock too. I know he can be, and has been a right so and so in the past, but there is something about the way he manages his clubs and players, particularly in adversity, that I admire.

    Geoffrey Chaucer

  • Comment number 2.

    No mention of food this week, Dan? I know its been 2 weeks, but come on.....

    Ian Woan

  • Comment number 3.

    #3 he does mention Vanilla Ice, although I must admit, I'd rather eat a vanilla ice, than listen to "the" Vanilla Ice any day of the week.

    Wat Tyler

  • Comment number 4.

    #3 I did of course mean #2.

    William Wallace

  • Comment number 5.

    Can't stand Warnock, but QPR deserved to get promoted and glad they did. In my own humble opinion, if you were to list the 20 teams that should be in the top division based on size, success, history etc., QPR would be in there. Only just, but they'd be in there.

    Kevin 'The Cannibal' Campbell

  • Comment number 6.

    Hmm... the FA's decision was meant to close the book on this particular saga yet, I thinks its opened a can of worms for them..this is not over yet. Question though Dan, What if Dan Roans contacts had been wrong?

  • Comment number 7.

    I'd like to add my name to the list of those who were mildly perturbed by the absence of your weekly insight into the world of FF and biscuits - had some cracking custard creams yesterday!

    QPR deserved to go up and having Warnock back on MOTD every week will be a real treat, unless of course you believe the rumours and then Ranieri will be even more of a treat!

    Stoke for the cup!

    Lady Chatterley's Lover

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Dan,

    Great FF last Saturday. For once the Beeb were in the right place at exactly the right time, trumping the other media heavyweights with the breaking news regarding QPR. Whether the judicial decision was correct or not we'll never know, but it's criminal that these matters aren't put in a more black and white context by the footie authorities so everyone knows from the start what punishment will be dished out by the crime committed.

    Lawro was right in saying 'they are playing with people's emotions' by leaving it so late. I'm sure with your moving house lately you can empathise with the fans predicament of not knowing where their home will be next season - the same old place or the swish mansion up the road ;)

    Congrats on all the excellent footie themed documentaries on the BBC doubt due to the FF teams input and encouragement?

  • Comment number 9.

    The video doesn't seem to work unfortunately - keep getting the same error message.

    With regards to the football authorities, they seem to regard themselves as a law unto themselves. The number of times you'll hear some buffoon say, "that's football", as if it's the pre-eminent sport/business above all others. Even the previously similarly intransigent IOC had to clean it's act up in the end and be more transparent. They were as bad as FIFA/UEFA! Football authorities seem to usually be very inward looking, and think they know best on everything. It's an attitude that ought to change.

    On merit, QPR deserve their promotion, but the FA/Premier League really should get their houses in order and get some consistency across judgements like this one, so that whether you're Luton Town, West Ham United, or Queens Park Rangers - you all get treated the same.

    They deserve to hear the following words... "you're a complete liability, you're fired!".

    Nick Hewer

  • Comment number 10.

    Good to have you back big man

  • Comment number 11.

    The problem that most people seem to have with the Football League is that the punishments they hand out to clubs that break the rules appear to be made up as they go along.

    There should be clear and pre-defined guidelines for various rule breaches which would set out fines and points deductions.

    Everyone would then know where they stand at the start of the season and know the consequences should they break the rules.

    There is no doubt QPR deserved to be promoted, but i can't help thinking that the timing of the decision, the high profile nature and the potential implications of any points deduction all led to the Football League "bottling it".

    I personally thought they would wait until after the game before deducting the maximum points possible without changing anything....

  • Comment number 12.

    West Ham have been a shambles this season and I'm glad they are going down- sacking Zola to replace him with the dour Grant was one of the oddest football decisions I've seen.

    The Moose from TalkSport

  • Comment number 13.

    Nice putt!!

    One not so momentus sporting achieve of mine is having to shout FORE on a putting green.

    It was the famous Himalayas in St Andrews, waiting for a hole to clear I was idly swining the putter in one hand, dropped the ball out of the other one only for it to connect right off the sweet spot of the club and fly at head height the length of the green! Thankfully it missed an American tourist by about half a yard, although the penalty drop out the gorse ruined my scorecard!!!

    Feel a fraud using this as my sign off this week but if there is one man that the epitaph "legend" trully is an understatement!

    Severiano "Seve" Ballesteros Sota

  • Comment number 14.

    How is the move going? Are you still living your life out of boxes?

    Ted Dalton

  • Comment number 15.

    Moving House,
    Supposed to rank among the top 5 most stressful experiences. I've done it seven times, not counting student days, and two of those seven were transatlantic. The last time we did it our shipping container got delayed in New York Port Customs. REAL PIG OF A DILEMMA. Hope nothing like that happened to you!

    I must admit that (even though I am privy to almost none of the facts and have seen none of the real evidence) I thought QPR should have been docked points. I am a CCFC fan, but I do not think CCFC actually have merited an automatic promotion spot; given the squad they have had they should not have dropped so many points: The farcical situation surrounding the M'borough game speaks volumes, plus we drew twice against Burnley, and lost to the likes of Bristol City and Palace. Drop so many points with an on paper superior team and you don't deserve auto promo.

    I also want to see Arsenal buy big.
    For some reason I could not watch your golf exploits; I just kept getting the message to try again later.
    Enjoy the unpacking.

  • Comment number 16.

    Has everyone met my cat? No, no they haven't, and they won't, very anti-social and also very time consuming for all concerned.

    Dan you missed it! Germination occurred 10 days ago, so proud.

    And just to clear it up, did you, or did you not put the lid on? I'm not accusing you, just want to be sure you're happy with your version of events.

    Oh and congratulations to everyone who did well this week, well done, but last week? Just showing off, no credit for that!

    Lots of love


  • Comment number 17.

    As a Rangers fan I found it really odd that there has been no backlash directed towards Gianni Paladini. We have been found guilty of something, as the £875k fine proves, and if you have to point fingers, shirley the buck stops with him?
    From what I understand he has been instrumental with most of the 10 managerial changes, and it's/was him bringing in a lot of the players. I don't really trust football agents, and this saga has done nothing to allay these fears, or my impending hair loss!

  • Comment number 18.

    also getting golf video error messages :o(

    Dino Zoff

  • Comment number 19.


    These were FA charges, mate, not the Football League. Mind you, why we need the former is still a mystery, like why starlings migrate, etc!

    As A Man U fan, I've no axe to grind here. But, the 2 charges proved were the general misconduct charge & using an unauthorised agent to pay the buy-out fee AFTER the FL & the FA rules were aligned.

    In other words, no jiggery-pokery, unfair advantage etc from any QPR action. Unlike West Ham & Tevez, where it was quite clear the club had lied through their teeth all along about his status, though they were saved points deductions because there were no rules in place to break.

    However, it truly would be ironic if West Ham pass QPR in the next 2 weeks, especially as Warnock is the QPR manager.

  • Comment number 20.


    good call, ironic indeed.

    "woah, written in the stars, a million miles away..."

    all we need now is for our English clubs like Norwich, Everton etc to be given the chance we missed out on in the 80's to play European football and the world will make sense again.

    and for John Secada to reach number one with "Just another Day" 20 years later.

  • Comment number 21.

    QPR were found not guilty of the 3rd party charges but guilty of bringing the game into disrepute (when they said the transfer fee was higher than what they actually paid) and using an unlicensed agent (although he was FIFA licensed and I understand is now FA licensed).
    Neither of these charges warrants a points deduction and (IMO) I would suggest that the £800,000 fine for bringing the game into disrepute is too large for what is really a minor offence and one that many clubs do (according to former owners of various clubs who have been interviewed these past weeks). So comparing QPR to Swindon, Luton, West Ham etc is not a fair comparison.

  • Comment number 22.

    Thanks for the comments dudes

    I am trying to get the video sorted. I haven't seen it myself yet.

    Will let you know.


  • Comment number 23.

    Sorry... put my own name

    See you soon

    Walter Winterbottom

  • Comment number 24.

    You briefly mention my team Luton Town in this blog!

    Can I just ask that you please get the BBC to get a proper article on the absolute joke that has occurred!
    We got deducted 10 points that ultimately meant our relegation to the Conference with slight uproar and nothing much else, we weren't even allowed to appeal! Yet QPR get loads of plaudits, promotion to the premiership and nothing more than a slap on the wrist fine! Luton were crippled and yet QPR are now going on to one of the best times in their clubs recent history. Just thought the BBC might like to write a proper article...

  • Comment number 25.

    17. At 14:21pm 12th May 2011, linesy wrote:
    As a Rangers fan I found it really odd that there has been no backlash directed towards Gianni Paladini. We have been found guilty of something, as the £875k fine proves, and if you have to point fingers, shirley the buck stops with him?

    I agree, Paladini certainly is to blame.

    And please, don't call me Shirley.

    Dr. Barry Rumack

  • Comment number 26.

    P Reg SAXO ?

  • Comment number 27.

    Yeah P reg Saxo.
    And a previous blog alleges that a side mirror is hanging off.
    It is his work car.
    All the rest of his mega bucks are tied up in his new mansion, car #2, boat #1 and various charitable donations.
    I'm writing this from 3,200 miles away so take it with a pinch of salt.

  • Comment number 28.

    Glad to have you back Danno!

    Moving house with small kids?! Done that when we had 3 kids under the age of 3. Patience is a virtue, busyness is a way of life.
    Even more stressful than moving house with 3 small kids, is when your car engine explodes on the motorway, whilst you are on your way to the photographer to get pics of the aforementioned kids. At the time the youngest was just 10 days old! Then try living a few weeks without a car...not recommended :) Having children, very recommended! :)

    Anyway, enough about my private life. Good blog. Glad QPR going up as makes it 3 clubs owned by multi billionaires in the PL. Man City are the new Chelsea, so does that make QPR the new new Chelsea?

    Hope Stoke win the Cup:) Nice to see a side like them in Europe too. I actually think they could do a Fulham next season and get quite far in the Europa League, which could cost them a place in the PL ironically.

    Great that Dalglish got a 3 year contract too.

    Tele Savalas

  • Comment number 29.

    Definition of irony: The FA passing judgement on others for bringing the game into disrepute.

  • Comment number 30.

    (1) Dan Walker is a class act. Dan should be doing MOTD too. Best sports presenter since Lynam.

    "The problem that most people seem to have with the Football League is that the punishments they hand out to clubs that break the rules appear to be made up as they go along."

    Well said TomLUFC. Couldn't agree more

  • Comment number 31.

    #5 RobbieSavagesFlowingLocks

    I too used to dislike Neil Warnock but he has mellowed out quite a bit.

    He writes a column for The Independent on Saturday these days which is quite entertaining. Even admitted that he had often been wrong in the past to have always felt victimised by officials when playing against bigger clubs.

    Well pointed out by coleusman #17 although I didn't agree with his arguments against West Ham at the time as I felt that his team deserved to be relegated on purely footballing terms that season, but that debate has been flogged to death in the past.

  • Comment number 32.

    I feel that the punishment was very heavily influenced by what stage of the season it was. As had it been at the beginning or mid season a points deduction would have surely been the case, but at the end when it might interfere with the play-off's calendar it is out of the question. I do wish the bodies that regulate football would get their act together.

  • Comment number 33.

    Great blog.

    Agree with the fella who said Dan should be presenting MOTD too.

  • Comment number 34.

    Few points (from a QPR fan):

    @21 - re the £800k fine, yes it does seem extraordinarily high for what, in hindsight, is a very minor offence. However, I suspect that we'll just suck it up, because the pot we are now looking at is way bigger than the fine.

    @30 - I almost agree with you about Dan. I would absolutely agree, but there's always Jeff Stelling in the mix....

    One thing not mentioned, and hugely evidenced by the scenes of relief and jubilation when the news broke, is the impact this has had on the fans. We should have been celebrating like mad, enjoying the whole week since the Watford game, and loving every moment of our promotion. But we haven't been able to, due to a combination of poor management decisions at the club in the past, and farcical imcompetence and bad timing by the buffoons at the FA. I still can't quite let myself truly believe that we are promoted, and won't until the first ball is kicked next season. It's the fans that have truly been the 'victims' here, and due to the constant press speculation amongst the red-tops, the agony seems neverending, with talk of Warnock being sacked, 'rumours' that we are bringing in Ranieri, and then signing Kaka, Beckham, and others.

    I just want to party!!!!!

    Lord Kitchener

  • Comment number 35.

    What a putt Dan - Superb

  • Comment number 36.

    Doesn't look like we're getting a blog this week unfortunately...


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