||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2011)|
Dan Meirion Walker (born 19 March 1977) is an English sports journalist. He is the current presenter of Football Focus, the BBC's Saturday lunchtime football show. He has also presented sport on the BBC News Channel and BBC Network News, as well as regularly reporting for Final Score, Football Focus and Match of the Day.
Walker's professional broadcasting career started with work experience at Sheffield's Hallam FM. He gained the work experience after winning a competition for young sports commentators. In 1999, Walker moved to a full-time career with a 4 year stint as a sports presenter and commentator for Manchester's Key 103 radio. In his time at the station he presented the regular midweek sports show (often broadcasting from UEFA Champions League matches at Manchester United's Old Trafford ground) and also appeared as the resident sports correspondent for Mike Toolan's breakfast show.
Walker moved into TV with a six-month spell at Granada Television in Manchester, appearing as a commentator on the Football League Review show, before joining BBC regional news programme North West Tonight. During this time, he was nominated for a number of awards and won the Royal Television Society Sports Award in 2005 for Regional Sports Presenter of the Year. He was unable to attend the ceremony because he was covering the Champions League final in Istanbul.
In August 2009, Walker took over from Manish Bhasin as the presenter of Football Focus. Walker also presents the web-based Friday preview Friday Focus and writes a blog on the BBC website where he discusses the show and football in general. He is also a regular user of social networking service Twitter, and is responsible for the weekly "Tuesday Team News" phenomenon where users are invited to submit desperate puns based around footballers and teams.
Walker was part of the BBC Sport team covering the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He spent the tournament travelling from Cape Town at the start of the tournament to Johannesburg for the final in a double-decker bus, filming packages to be shown both as part of the TV coverage and online, and providing commentary and news via the BBC's online channels and Twitter. The bus visited a diverse selection of places along its 6,000 km journey – from townships and social projects to sites of cultural and historic significance, with the intention being to provide UK viewers with a flavour of the host nation both inside and out of the stadia.
On Saturday 26 November 2011, Gary Speed appeared as a guest on Football Focus with Walker. The two men spent a total of about four hours with each other on the day. Walker said of Speed: "I always found him to be kind, funny, intelligent and insightful. I found him to be a top bloke and really enjoyed his company." The following morning on Sunday 27 November 2011, Walker received the news that Speed had died at his house in Cheshire. Walker said that he was "stunned" by Speed's death and that he was "incredibly saddened". He had known Speed for quite a long time and had played football with him in a charity match two months earlier.
In March 2012, Walker said that he was "staggered by the depth of feeling and shock" on the Sunday when Speed's death was announced.
Walker is the son of a Baptist preacher, and his own Christian faith developed in his youth and early adulthood. He has never worked or played sport on Sundays as a result. He revealed in an interview with The Sun that he had been offered youth contracts with several football teams but refused due to games being scheduled for Sunday.
He has been married since 2001 and has three children.
He is a patron of The Children's Hospital Charity in Sheffield.
- "BBC Press Release April 2010". Wscdn.bbc.co.uk. 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2011-11-17.
- Dan Walker. "Dan Walker: Gary Speed leaves a huge hole in football". BBC. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
- 14:15 GMT (2011-11-27). "BBC Sport - Football Focus's Dan Walker saddened". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
- Dan Walker. "Dan Walker: Cardiff in full voice to commemorate Gary Speed". BBC. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
- "Dan Walker - an interview". Gracemagazine.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-11-17.
- "Sport & Sundays". E-n.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-11-17.
- "The Sun". The Sun. 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2011-11-17.
- Dan Walker. "Dan Walker: England v Wales pits brother against brother". BBC. Retrieved 2011-11-17.
- Published on Wednesday 11 January 2012 17:44 (2012-01-11). "Walker calls for more fans as Crawley climb league ladder - Crawley Town FC". Crawley Observer. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
- "Jess at City Hall for Children’s Hospital charity". Sheffield News & Sport. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- Day One Magazine 2008 - Dan Walker
- Grace Magazine 2002 - Dan Walker
- 'Christian BBC footie host who refuses to work on a Sunday' - The Sun, 11th August 2009
- Dan Walker TV Newsroom Questions and Answers 2006