Dan top TV football man as Millers go Manhattan

Mr Nice Guy: Football presenter and ex-city student Dan Walker
Mr Nice Guy: Football presenter and ex-city student Dan Walker
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HE looks a bit too good to be true.

Wholesome, keen and bright as a button.

Dan Walker, football presenter, devout Christian and former Sheffield history student is the stand-out presenter on BBC sport right now.

Fresh-faced and charming, Dan Walker has leapt to the top of the BBC presenters charts - if there is such a thing - in such a clean-cut way he makes Gary Lineker look sinister.

The more you see him, the more you think there must be another, more grubby side to him.

But there isn’t.

His confidence and natural ability give him authority and style despite his relatively youthful appearance - he’s 32 years old.

He looks like a presenter made for Blue Peter or Country File but he’s a breath of fresh air amid the battle-hardened and laconic professionalism of the Lawros and Lee Dixons.

The former University of Sheffield student radio and Hallam FM presenter appeared every inch the socially conscious young vicar on Saturday, and was perfect for the BBC’s Football Focus broadcast from Salford Lads Club on Saturday.

It might just be because he used to live in Sheffield but I reckon he has a special something that sets him apart from the rest.

He’s bound to be the BBC’s top football man one day soon - or perhaps set off on a career away from sport, maybe presenting Strictly Come Dan-cing?

Of course Dan stands on the sheepskinned shoulders of another broadcasting legend and one-time Sheffield resident John Motson.

Motty started his career on the Sheffield Morning Telegraph back in the mists of time and he went on to do all right for himself, though you do worry that his voice is going a bit now when the action gets frenetic.

But no-one gets over the excitement of the moment better than Motty. At 66 years of age, his tones and turn of phrase are as important a thread in the fabric of the football nation as the smell of fried onions and the click of the turnstile.

So Rotherham United have named their new ground New York.

It will puzzle some.

You can imagine them laughing in London and shaking heads in Headingley at the audacity of little old Rotherham United putting on airs with the big-city name.

No doubt the sneerers will see it as a cringeworthy attempt to make the club sound more glamorous.

But that’s their problem.

The name, New York, is actually the historic name for the area of the town where the new stadium is based.

The old Guest and Chrimes Foundry actually made the distinctive fire hydrants which are dotted around the streets of the American city and star in every film ever made there.

A bright and bold idea?

Certainly is.

And it belongs to one Les Payne, Rotherham fanatic and sports writer of this parish and national renown.

Lifelong Miller Les came up with the idea some time ago, put it to chairman Tony Stewart and the name grew on him - and on the fans who voted for the New York Stadium above the alternative, The Foundry.

Of course Les is far too modest to claim the credit.

Wait until they build it though.

He’ll be the one giving it some Frank Sinatra in the press box on the opening day ...