Wednesday, 12 August 2009


ONE of the new faces of the BBC's football coverage refuses to work on a Sunday because he is a devout Christian. Dan Walker insists on observing the Lord's Day even though there are top-flight matches almost every Sunday this season.
Here 32-year-old Dan - who fronts magazine show Football Focus this Saturday at 12.15pm on BBC1 - explains why he WON'T be covering those games.
WHEN I first told the producers on a major radio station I wouldn't work on a Sunday they told me I'd never get anywhere in broadcasting.
They thought the fact that I said on my CV that I wouldn't work on a Sunday was some kind of joke.
When I explained I was a Christian, and why I felt the way I did, one of them just sat with his mouth open for about ten seconds.
It was a great job and they fully expected me to give up everything to work for them, but I wouldn't - I didn't get the job.
I take my faith quite seriously and not working on a Sunday is part of that. I don't even watch football on a Sunday. Obviously as a professional I keep abreast of the scores but I spend Sunday at church and with my family.
An old boss of mine, John Pickford, told me if I wanted to stick to those principles I wasn't just going to have to be good, I was going to have to be the best.
For anyone I've ever worked for as a sports presenter I've always said I'd do as good a job if not better than anyone they'd ever employ.
But I did always think the Football Focus job was one I'd never get because of my insistence, because it's so high-profile.
To be given it means even more for me because I've made my stand but still been handed this opportunity. I've grown up watching Football Focus, so now to be presenting the show really is a dream come true.
Sport has always been a big part of my life. When I was 12, and about 2ft taller than all the other kids, I was asked to play for quite a few teams.
The problem was all their games were on a Sunday.
I had only recently become a Christian and this was the first time I was confronted with the issue of how I should be spending my Sundays.
I firmly believe God was using that experience, even at an early age, to prepare me for situations in the future when I would need much stronger convictions.
People often say it must be really hard to be a Christian and to do the work I do - I disagree.
I think my job puts me in the same situations everyone else faces.
The only difference is that people who work in the media are usually paid to have opinions so you can get involved in some heated debates.
Because of my stance I have been shouted at, insulted, stabbed in the back, laughed at and ignored. But I have also worked with and met some great characters and been given plenty of opportunities to talk to people about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many people - even Christians - have asked me why I feel so strongly about the Lord's Day.
For me it seems quite obvious. God, our creator, has given it to us for our own good. Some will argue that Jesus Christ's coming means we are no longer obligated to keep it special but I fundamentally disagree.
There are still ten commandments and it is more important than ever to guard the fourth one - remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.