Dan Walker details ex Football Focus boss’ frank comments to him
Dan Walker recounts ex-boss ‘closing the door’ in his face
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Dan Walker was desperate to get his dream job presenting Football Focus, only to be given a rude awakening by the show’s former boss, who claimed he’d peaked years earlier and had already got as far as his talent would take him. Despite getting the door slammed unceremoniously in his face, the 45-year-old persevered – and got the role anyway.
Speaking on a new podcast with host Charles Tyrwhitt, A Tailored Life, Channel 5 star Dan celebrated how far he’d come since that original disheartening comment.
Reliving the meeting where he’d expressed that he’d “love to be on” the show, he shuddered: “The person who was in charge of that programme said, ‘There are some points in your life when you realise you’ve got as far as your talent can take you – and I think for you that was probably a few years ago.'”
“Basically he was closing the door in my face,” Dan explained.
Accepting defeat, he added: “I walked away from that thinking: ‘Right, that’s fair enough, that’s his opinion.
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“‘I’m going to add him to the list of people who think that you’re not good enough to get where you want to get to.'”
However, then there was a surprise twist in the tale: “Literally within a month he had gone and I was the new presenter of Football Focus!” Dan enthused.
He explained that he’d always seen himself as a “gentle pesterer” who was good at “spotting opportunities” – and then his persistence in the face of defeat had paid off.
Dan also revealed during the podcast that he has “really positive mental health” and never feels fear about his “performance” on screen.
He added that his self-belief is rooted in “confidence and not arrogance”.
“I’m not arrogant to think that I’m amazing and there’s nothing I can’t do,” he reasoned. “But I’m confident in my ability and the work that I’ve put in over the years, and I feel that I can do a good job.”
That meeting wasn’t the only difficult one Dan had encountered in his time, and in the past his religious beliefs have also been a barrier.
Presenting himself from the start as a devout Christian, the TV host made it clear he wasn’t willing to work on Sundays – the Sabbath day.
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After graduation, he recalls that he wrote around 60 letters to TV and radio stations seeking work – but with unfortunate results.
“When I said I don’t work on Sundays I’d get laughed out of interviews,” he admitted to The Times in a previous interview.
“And when I did get jobs, some people resented me because they couldn’t work me out. They’d think, ‘How did you get that being like you are?’”
Dan also became upset when a producer told him not to “f*** it up” during one of his first ever live broadcasts for the BBC, as his religious beliefs prohibit profanity.
However, he has still had plenty of positive experiences with his employers mentoring him, as he recalled back on the podcast.
“My first boss in radio taught me a really interesting way of looking at every job I ever do,” he mused.
“He said: ‘At the end of each day, make a list and on that list you only need to put two things – one thing you did well and one thing you did badly.
‘The next day, make sure you repeat the thing you did well and don’t repeat the thing you did badly.’ He said that way you get better every single day.”
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