BBC BLOGS - Dan Walker

Archives for November 2011

Gary Speed leaves a huge hole in football

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Dan Walker | 18:00 UK time, Sunday, 27 November 2011

I have no idea where to start this blog, what to say in the middle and how to finish it. This will probably be a stream of consciousness.

I spent four hours with Gary Speed on Saturday. He was our guest on Football Focus and was in great form. I've met and interviewed him on many occasions. I always found him to be kind, funny, intelligent and insightful.

On Saturday he was cracking jokes with Gary McAllister, his midfield partner from the title-winning Leeds side of 1991-92.

Off-air we talked about playing golf, how good his boys were at football and his dreams of taking Wales to the World Cup in 2014.

He was always interested in what you were up to. He would say: "How are you finding Sheffield, Dan? Are you and the kids settling in OK?" That was part of his charm - he cared.

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Lost in Lille where Cole has found a home

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Dan Walker | 12:57 UK time, Thursday, 24 November 2011

Hello good people. There was a distinct lack of bloggage last week, which I know caused havoc in some parts of the country (well, one person asked me where it was). I'll let you know what's happening this week on Football Focus in a bit but I wanted to tell you about last week's trip to Lille to see Joe Cole.

It was a while in the planning but eventually we settled on a date and booked our tickets on the Eurostar. Three of us made the trip across the Channel - I was asking the questions, Graham was producer-in-chief and West Ham fan Stu was our cameraman.

Stu was the only one clever enough to check the weather in France before we left.

Graham and I weren't quite in Bermuda shorts but I think we both expected it to be a little warmer than the freeze-your-face-off conditions that met us upon arrival. Graham and I had 20 minutes at Lille station waiting for Stu to arrive. We spent that time cuddling a hot beverage and standing half a centimetre away from the only heater on the platform.

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What's in a name?

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Dan Walker | 18:12 UK time, Thursday, 10 November 2011

Hello good people of the world. The most important thing to tell you is that Football Focus is on BBC2 on Saturday at 1130 GMT. We are caught in a formidable broadcasting triangle which involves F1 qualifying in Abu Dhabi and The Lord Mayor's Show. You don't come out of that without a few bruises.

It's been an interesting week at the new home in Salford with the vast majority of the BBC's football operation having moved up here. We just need Gabby Logan and the Final Score warriors to complete the set. They arrive in a couple of weeks.

There was something quite beautiful about walking into the production office last Saturday to see Alan Hansen lounging freely on his sofa watching the second-half of Newcastle's win over Everton. For a moment, at least, all was right with the world.

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Sir Alex, caterpillars and Crocodile Dundee

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Dan Walker | 08:44 UK time, Friday, 4 November 2011

Twenty five years is a long time. Whatever you think of Sir Alex Ferguson, it is impressive he has managed to hang around in the same job for a quarter of a century.

I know there has been a lot on the BBC about his landmark but the intention of this blog is to give an insight into his 25th anniversary dinner that took place in Manchester on Thursday, 3 November - a dinner I was asked to host.

I have mentioned on this blog before that I worked in Manchester as a sports reporter, editor and commentator for about five years from 1999. Part of my job was to visit Sir Alex twice a week to gather his thoughts on the next game and football matters in general.

Our relationship wasn't always wonderful - I was banned on a few occasions - but I maintain he gave me the best possible preparation for a career spent asking people questions, especially difficult ones. If you can take Ferguson's Govan glare and not be turned to stone, you can tackle anyone.

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