Heartwarming story reveals why Sheffield's Dan Walker is the 'GOAT' as he bids farewell to Football Focus

He was already known as one of the nicest men in showbiz, and a heartwarming story from Dan Walker’s last day on Football Focus has cemented that reputation.

By Robert Cumber
Monday, 24th May 2021, 2:55 pm

The Sheffield presenter, who still fronts BBC Breakfast, stepped down from the weekly sports show after more than a decade on Saturday and will be replaced by former England star Alex Scott.

His final show included a segment on Roy Hodgson, produced by the award-winning young journalist Sumbal Syed, who revealed how Dan had given her the confidence to pursue a career in journalism when she was still at school.

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In a touching exchange on Twitter, Sumbal wrote: “Can you believe I emailed Dan Walker Gary Lineker and Jeremy Clarkson in 2014 asking to do work experience at the BBC and only Dan Walker replied. Always knew he was the GOAT (greatest of all time) @mrdanwalker.”

Dan replied: “I can’t believe that after all that... you worked on today’s show!!! Thanks for the lovely Hodgson piece.”

He added: “One of my favourite things about Focus has been watching people develop over the years.

“To hear that @sxmbal asked for some career advice 7 years ago and today cut our Roy Hodgson piece is the best news ever.”

Dan Walker was described as the 'GOAT' by an award-winning young journalist he helped to break into the industry (pic: Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

Sumbal responded: “The day 16 year old me sent that email to @mrdanwalker was the day I decided I was going to take sports journalism seriously, and now he’s got me in tEARSSS.”

Sumbal is an assistant producer for the BBC, according to her LinkedIn profile, and last year won the Sports Journalists’ Association Broadcast Ones to Watch (off air) award.