BBC BLOGS - Dan Walker
« Previous | Main | Next »

Salford gears up for Match of the Day

Post categories:

Dan Walker | 16:52 UK time, Thursday, 27 October 2011

Last Saturday I presented my first ever Match Of The Day. I know what you're thinking... you turned on at 10:20pm and Gary Lineker was sitting on the sofa.

But while the MOTD overlord was doing his usual business down in that there London, the new Salford studio was being tested up north.

Moving an operation like MOTD to an entirely different location is quite a task so our job was to test all the facilities in the new place and make sure that all the technology worked a treat.

The new studio is the same place that Football Focus comes from, just as it did in London. The cameras are the same too, but all the lighting changes, and MOTD also has its own rather snazzy set of graphics which I'm sure you will like. Sadly I can't tell you anything about that yet because I would be skinned alive by a high-level BBC executive.

Dan Walker poses in front of the new Match of the Day studio at Media City in Salford

Match of the Day is preparing to head north to a new home in Salford

The slightly surreal aspect of the day was that we had to produce, write and present a programme just as the real MOTD team did in London, but while theirs was watched by five million people, ours went out to precisely no-one.

Having said that, we did have a much nicer production office than they have in London, and one which has been designed with everything in mind. There is a giant TV wall to watch all the games coming in (you can also switch one of the screens to watch Robbie Savage on Strictly at the same time), a little table with a kettle on it, and Mr Hansen will be very pleased to hear that there are a couple of comfy sofas for that "at home" experience.

Talking of pundits, ours were slightly different to the regulars you get on MOTD. We had Tom and Dom, who produce a Bradford City podcast called Bantams Banter. Considering it was their first bit of TV they were brilliant and brought their own twist to the art of punditry with comments about the length of Mick McCarthy's face and profligate use of the word "doosh".

There were a few scary moments which hopefully won't be repeated when the real show moves to Salford in November. We had no sound on any of the matches until about two minutes before kick-off and some of the graphics need a tweak but overall the new look is gorgeous and I'm sure you'll enjoy watching it when it hits your screens in a few weeks' time.

In other news I thought Gordon Strachan was excellent on the show on Saturday. He struck the perfect blend of insight with a sprinkling of humour and he and Dr Dixon worked very well together. If you missed the Focus Forum with Gordon this week, it's well worth another look.

This week we have another lively studio, as Peter Reid will be alongside Lawro. Mr Reid was in charge of Manchester City when they finished above Manchester United in the league in the early 1990s, and thinks it will happen again this season. I should mention that he said that before the 6-1 last weekend!

You'll also hear from Roy Hodgson, Darren Bent, Emmanuel Adebayor, a report from the Football Black List awards plus Kasabian doing predictions and Liam Gallagher singing Blue Moon, as well as a round-up of all the goals from the Carling Cup in midweek. We are on at the normal time of 12:15pm on BBC 1.

I've got a fun one lined up next week. I'm hosting Sir Alex Ferguson's 25th anniversary celebrations in Manchester, which is a real privilege. There are all manner of big names in town for it and I'll be having a sit-down chat with the United manager as part of the evening.

Now, bearing in mind the moderators are very speedy on this blog, if there was one question you could ask the man what would it be?

Feel free to put your question below or chuck in a comment on another issue and I will get back to you throughout the week.


  • Comment number 1.

    First to comment?

  • Comment number 2.

    What do you feel is your greatest success at Manchester United?

  • Comment number 3.

    What has been the most positive change in football over the last 25 years?

  • Comment number 4.

    Who is the best player to have graced the world?
    Do you think you will be able to win the Champions League with Barcelona at its peak?
    Do you think we will be able to achieve a quodruple?

  • Comment number 5.

    It has been suggested that moving much of the BBCs live output from the country's biggest city to its 3rd or 6th biggest city (depending what your definition of 'city' is) at enormous cost to the licence fee payer has been completed not for logistical reasons but purely for political reasons. Discuss.

  • Comment number 6.

    Whats your greatest regret over the last 25 years

  • Comment number 7.

    #1 wow... amazing.

    Those graphics above look almost psychedlic! You should have dressed as Austin Powers baby.

    Here are some questions it would be interesting to hear Alex Ferguson respond to (and other managers as well!).

    Does he watch much coverage of football live on the television? If he does, does he get as fed up with the one-eyed opinions voiced about how badly done by they are by the referee and his assistants all the time even if the correct decision was made?

    Does he think managers and players should be a bit more honest when it comes to admitting when they've made a mistake, such as when they won't admit to something the entire television audience has seen with their own eyes? The public aren't stupid (well most aren't!) and we can see when someone has dived or is acting as if they've got a burst appendix? It reminds me of a three year old screaming until they've got the attention of their parent where they suddenly smile again if they've had their own way. When some of these footballers have realised that a free kick hasn't been given, they leap up like the metaphorical phoenix from the flames and are magically restored to full health.

    Basically, does he get as fed up of the hypocritical things that get said as much as the rest of us get fed up of hearing them say it? It was refreshing to hear SAF say recently how stupid the idea of the clubs negotiating their own TV deals was - it's bare faced greed of the likes of the Liverpool man whinging about wanting even more money! There is absolutely no understanding about the situation Joe Public is in while these people luxuriate in the money rolling their way.

    Mike Teevee

  • Comment number 8.

    What are the biggest differences in managing top players today as opposed to managing them 25 years ago?

  • Comment number 9.

    Which player has been the most dificult to manage?

  • Comment number 10. London salaries with those paid in Manchester. The on-screen talent will still cost much the same but the support staff will be on much lower salaries. The redevelopment of White City will bring in much more money than Salford Quays will have cost to buy. The move will cost a bit initially but medium to long term the BBC will save a lot of money. That said, personally I view the licence fee as an absolute bargain anyway so I don't really care.

  • Comment number 11.

    The last comment makes no sense. It will either be the same staff relocating, or staff paid virtually the same. Manchester is not some backwater and the TV staff are paid pretty much the same wages according to union contracts.

  • Comment number 12.

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

  • Comment number 13.

    A question for Fergie....looking at the spine of some of the strongest teams of the last 30yrs.....Hansen or Stam? Souness or Keane? Dalglish or Cantona?

  • Comment number 14.

    Boils, they won't be the same staff. The company I work for are considering relocating and it is estimated we would lose and have to replace 30% of the staff, and this is just a move within the M25. Staff that move north will be paid the same salaries, will lose London weighting allowances and will be paid relocation costs. Staff recruited locally will be paid less than they would have if they had been recruited to work in London. All the contractors e.g. security, cleaners etc will cost less.

  • Comment number 15.

    Does that mean our esteemed Mr Lineker will no longer be doing MOTD? Guess he'll have to stick with crisps. I can think of worse jobs.

    So there were a few snags Dan, never mind old boy, you know what they say: It'll be alright on the night!

    Best of luck.

  • Comment number 16.

    It really get to me when people moan about the license fee. "I pay you're wages thru my license fee", Yes, but look what we get in return??, high class service and fantastic programs (EastEnders and Strictly Come Dancing are not, but everyone has different tastes).

    What would we do without the BBC?? Probs watching rubbish on Dave, oh, and most of their programs are repeats provided by the BBC..

  • Comment number 17.

    A better arguement is spreading the jobs around the country and not concentrating public monies in London and the S-East (the biggest subsidy junkie region in the UK!).

  • Comment number 18.

    Would you ever manage another club after united?

    PS that studio looks mesmerising!!

  • Comment number 19.

    Interesting blog Dan. When will the first MOTD be broadcast from this studio and will Final Score be moving on the same day?

    Yes Gordan Strachan was a top guest on Focus last Saturday, I've always liked him as a telly pundit, I hope he will appear on the show again this season.

  • Comment number 20.

    I just hope the new "snazzy" graphics are better than the current Football League Show efforts! BBC Scotland has an excellent set of graphics they use for their Sportscene show and while the show itself is dire, the team at MotD could do worse than go for something similar. I hope we're not getting the set in Dan's photo though. As if it wasn't bad enough getting headaches at slow-motion replays at Villa Park (Seriously - fix those moving advertising hoardings!), it looks like a migraine-inducing background for the main show too.

    As for Sir Alex, can you ask him if he fancies sending a few youngsters on loan to his former club (and a place where he enjoyed the best football of his career) Dunfermline?!? Failing that, can you ask him if he has any ideas how to improve the game north of the border?

  • Comment number 21.

    The studios at mediacity in Salford are not owned by the BBC. They are owned by Peel Media and run by a collaboration between Peel and SIS. SIS/Peel media I believe will mainly employ freelance crew.

  • Comment number 22.

    Always a great blog Dan.

    Having managed a the lowest level of football, at East Stirling, does Sir Alex think that this has been key to his managerial success, and should more premiership clubs look at managers who start at the bottom and work their way up?

  • Comment number 23.

    Dan..could you ask Sir Alex after he does finally retire how would he fancy taking over say 'a junior U11 level side' for a few years and it being filmed as season long would be fascinating for us amateurs to see how a top manager would deal with tantrums, dropping players for not attending training, over enthusiastic parents and guardians (potential agents in disguise?), divas with their new boots etc etc - and how he would set them on the path to how he thinks young footballers should develop in the future. The budget wouldn't have to be big but it would draw millions of viewers and has the potential for following the lucky youngsters to see how they progress. You could call it 'The Mentor' or 'The Boot Man' (Becks would appreciate the latter). By the way I bet Fifa 12 is great on that big screen ;)

    Simon Cowell

  • Comment number 24.

    For Sir Alex — Would you like to have had the opportunity to manage outside of the UK at some point - in Spain or Italy for example? And do you think you could have been successful?

  • Comment number 25.

    Great blog Dan. Seeing Savage on the big screen is coincedence considering haloween is right around the corner ha.

    If anyone would like to check out my (first) blog post please follow this link

    Clayton Blackmore

  • Comment number 26.

    #10 the Beeb are notoriously low payers in the Broadcast industry, and the move to Salford will not save money on headcount. In fact, for those that decide to move, they get a decent relocation allowance Bectu see to that!
    Anyway, a question for Sir Alex;
    "can he remember what he was doing on Jan 1 '92 ?"
    Thank you kindly,
    Simon Stairrods

  • Comment number 27.

    Now you've moved to Salford does that mean an end to the ManU contract with Reuters??

    After all, you're now so close to the ground that you can take your own photos.

    And that-a-way maybe we will see some other teams (other than ManU) mentioned from time to time.


    Ah well... worth a try.

  • Comment number 28.

    For Sir Alex:

    Does he ever regret leaving Aberdeen FC?

  • Comment number 29.

    Moving to Salford was a total waste of Money, yes they get BBC Sport out of London but not to a major shambles that is MediaCity.
    The BBC majorly overspent at Salford, no wonder ITV ran when it did, horrendous costs to the Corporation and no need to move from Television Centre.

  • Comment number 30.

    Question for Fergie: How do the current crop of young talent (Fabio, Welbeck, Cleverley etc) compare to some of the previous academy products? (Beckham, Butt, Scholes etc)

    That is one swanky new studio you have there by the way.

  • Comment number 31.

    Ask fergie if he believes that the spiraling tranfer fees is directly due to him (and Utd obviously) continuously breaking transfer records throughout his reign.

    I only say this to make the point to all blinkered Utd fans that silly fees have ALWAYS been around and whatever they claim about Chelsea or City, both clubs put together have still broken British transfer records fewer than half the amount of times that Utd under fergies managment has done.

  • Comment number 32.

    A question for Sir Alex
    As the manager of the most successful football club in the premier league and one of the biggest clubs in the world, why for many years on the 'Match of the Day' programme would you not speak to the BBC at the post match interview ? ?

  • Comment number 33.

    Do you think you would ever be able to make the challenging step back to a football club with financial or squad restraints? Would this step up in difficulty re-invigorate your passion for the game?

  • Comment number 34.

    A question for Sir Alex.

    If it was possible would he swop his amazing success as a manager with Aberdeen and Utd in exchange for greater success as a player, such as: winning trophies with Utd, playing in a World Cup final for Scotland and being named FIFA player of the year.

  • Comment number 35.

    Another question for fergie.

    Was it a deliberate ploy to sabotage Scotlands team in 1986, or did you not pick your best defender, Alan Hansen and your best striker, Kenny Dalglish for another reason?

  • Comment number 36.

    I would ask Fergie what he did on Sunday night

  • Comment number 37.

    Does he think that Man City's current squad is better than United's and is Rio Ferdinand as bad as he looks?

  • Comment number 38.

    1. best manager you've ever seen.

    2. best player you nearly signed.

    3. best advice you've ever recieved.

  • Comment number 39.

    What have you done Dan? A blog with no mention of food, I almost feel let down... weetabix with milk and honey before going to work for me at the moment.

    that aside can you ask fergie 'when will you ever retire???'

  • Comment number 40.

    Here is you question Danny:

    Who is the one player you wish you had signed, but didn't?

    Because they were close to signing Gascoigne, Shearer and...ahem Kevin Hofland over the years

  • Comment number 41.

    great blog, and you couldnt have picked two finer people to present with you than the bantams banter lads, i think everyone should have a listen to the podcasts,it'l be the best hour you spend every week these lads have a great future!!

  • Comment number 42.

    Sir Alex, add milk and whisk, sorry for not getting back sooner, was tied up. Again.

    Dan, the hotel was okay but couldn't fault the breakfast oh and HE wants a word, he heard what you said and he still reckons he looked fabulous.

    You should learn to curb your criticism some times!

    Joan Armatrading ltd

  • Comment number 43.

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

  • Comment number 44.

    What have you made of the young managers in the game at the moment (AVB, Coyle etc.)?

    Are you concerned with power of agents in the game?

  • Comment number 45.

    When you do eventually retire, how would you most like to be remembered?

  • Comment number 46.

    Many of the questions asked here have answers provided within SAF's autobiography including his selection decisions when managing Scotland at the WC.

    Question: What does SAF believe are the biggest areas for improvement within our National Game and how would he advise the FA, Premier League and Football League to improve it?

  • Comment number 47.


    You clearly haven't set foot anywhere near MediaCity as the place is incredible. I mean it truly is incredible when you first see it!! Thank God the Beeb is moving from London

    Question for Sir Alex:

    Top player he's ever had
    Could he pick his best ever United 11 under his management. Rooney/Cantana, Robson/Keane/Scholes etc

  • Comment number 48.

    Which would have given you more pride - managing Utd or Scotland?

  • Comment number 49.

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

  • Comment number 50.

    there are some great young managers in the game now, karl robinson, lee clark, gus poyet, darren ferguson and brendan rodgers boas to name a few. what would your advice be to youngsters like myself, who want to take up a coaching/managerial role?

  • Comment number 51.

    Here we go again, change change change. This is ridiculous and happens far too often in tv. I loved the old set, I thought it worked so well with the all knowing all seeing footy gurus aloft. I hate how there needs to be so much change in everything. Like when the credits kept changing from the perfectly good ones two or three years ago. Personally, I don't like the new set.
    And for Fergie, any comment on the Peterborough incident when fergie pulled all his lads out when his son was sacked?

  • Comment number 52.

    Questions for Sir AF:

    1: Was Auntie Beeb's move to Salford in any way connected with your decision to speak to her again ?

    2: Do you have any suggestions to help the Focus Forum Camera operator maintain a horizontal view for those of us who suffer from Vertigo? He twists and turns the picture as though he were doing Top of the Pops !!! Get a Grip !!!!! (no Pun intended)

    3: Which Brand of Gum do you chew... and are you sponsored for doing so?

  • Comment number 53.

    Do you regret selling Ronaldo?

  • Comment number 54.

    #23: I would so watch that! Fergie taking on managing a kids' team would be amazing. Especially over the course of a few years if interest kept up. It would be very different to what he's used to, with training sessions once a week and players with other commitments that they feel are just as important (I used to skip out of training a quarter of an hour early for band practice), but I don't think temper tantrums would be any worse among kids than adults who act like kids.

    Question for Fergie: what do you feel is the biggest missed opportunity of your managerial career?

  • Comment number 55.

    does SAF fancy signing a slightly (very slightly) overweight 29 year old with limited competitive footballing experience over the last 10 years to play in centre midfield for a nominal fee and a basic small salary of say 12 grand a week (negotiable).

    And does he think liverpools dramatic champs league comeback was more dramatic than his own in '99?

    Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

  • Comment number 56.

    My question for Ferguson is: Would you ever go on Strictly Come Dancing?

  • Comment number 57.

    1. Who is the greatest player to have played for Manchester United during your time as coach?

    2. Is the Champions League Final victory against Bayern Munich in 1999 the most satisying trophy win of your career?

    3. Do you still keep in contact with past Manchester United players that have played during your spell as coach, like Paul Parker and David May for example?

    4. You have had unrivalled success with Manchester United in the Premier League, but putting aside the obvious affection you must have with the league as a result, there are many issues with the league. What is the biggest issue in your opinion and what do you think should be done to address it?

    5. You have managed Manchester United through every single Premier League season. Who is the greatest manager, after yourself, the greatest opposing player and your biggest rival?

    6. Managaing a football club is a stressful job, even at the best of times, and despite your unrivalled success with Manchester United and the fact you have very rarely needed to defend yourself from criticism internally, do you ever, genuinely, take a break and let yourself forget about it all for a few days?

    7. Manchester United has been a huge football club from before you took over as manager, but their success in the past 3 decades has contributed massively to their growing popularity internationally. What are your feelings on the corporate and business side of football in terms of what is expected from managers and players? EG touring the USA pre-season.

    8. So much has changed in football during your time as manager with various rules, guidelines and safety requirements coming down from FIFA and UEFA. What has been the best change and the worst change during your time?

    9. The football calendar in England is often a source of criticism with various comparisons made to other Countries who have Winter breaks and less domestic cups, for example. What do you think needs to change in England and if you were heading up either the Premier League or the FA what would you change and why?

    10. Thoughts and opinions on the Glazers aside, honestly, are foreign investors destroying the beautiful game?

  • Comment number 58.

    @55 I think that they already have one of those, Michael Carrick i believe he's called.

  • Comment number 59.

    38 JOE90

    in answer to your first question im sure he would say jock stein without hesitation.

  • Comment number 60.


    LOL! That's got to be question of the day! I might actually consider watching it then :)

  • Comment number 61.

    If you could throw a slice pizza or football boot at any person living or dead who would it be?

    Given the amount of footballing feuds cropping up recently, in your opinion which two players had the biggest on field rivalry?

    My top Feuds may be slightly different.

  • Comment number 62.

    When the day finally comes that you decide to hang up your chewing gum and retire from full-time management at Man Utd, what would the chances be of you as Scotland manager?

  • Comment number 63.

    1.At 18:53 27th Oct 2011, cyberFC wrote:
    First to comment?


    You would have been first to comment had you actually, you know, left a comment...

  • Comment number 64.

    Question for SAF: Who, in your opinion, has had the greatest single season in your time as manager of Man Utd? (This shouldn't take into account who's been the best over a long period etc such as Giggs and Scholes, but should just be impact in a single season). My opinion is possibly Ronaldo 1 year before he left (his final season wasn't as good).

  • Comment number 65.

    The new studio looks pukka. Who will the analysts be? I think Lee Dixon deserves to make the switch from MOTD2.

    Question for Sir Alex: which was your favourite season in the Premiership, and why?

  • Comment number 66.

    Why is it always Balotelli?

  • Comment number 67.

    Questions for SAF:
    1) Who were the biggest influences on him as a player and a manager?
    2) What were the ingredients of success at Aberdeen?
    3) What were the biggest challenges for him to deal with when he arrived at Man Utd?
    4) What are his biggest challenges now?
    5) What gives him most job satisfaction?
    6) Who does he regret not signing & who does he regret letting go?

    Questions for Dan:
    1) Any chance we could have some new pundits and host to go with the new MOTD studio? (The "old boys" network is a little tired, as are the "sensational" and "terrible" soundbites. Definitely agree that Dixon should be there - he gives analysis, not just opinion).
    2) Any good snacks at the new MOTD studio?

    Augustus Gloop

  • Comment number 68.

    @57... You must be trying for Dans job, some great questions there :)

    What I would ask SAF is: With the high levels of expectations at United, would you have managed a different team in the same way?

    Obviously refering to his transfer spend for big name targets even though they bring nothing to the squad or style of play

  • Comment number 69.

    Did you ever hope to get UTD to play with more flair and skill?, because if you proved it could be successful, the rest of the PL may have been inspired.

  • Comment number 70.

    Sir Alex if you could have any player in the world join United as an anniversary present who would you choose?

  • Comment number 71.

    dan, i think you mean 'douche'?

  • Comment number 72.

    Match of the day will be better with more analysis of the game , more tactical it will add knowledge to the joy of watching football.

  • Comment number 73.

    Who is the most difficult player you've worked with? Who's the best player you've seen in your managerial career? Who's the one player you wished you could have played with/managed?

  • Comment number 74.

    Alright Dan? Can you ask Sir Alex if any other clubs approached him during his time at Man U? Also can you ask him why he rejected Arsenal before he took the Man U job?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.