Jeff Stelling is supporting North West finalist Andy Dawber in The People’s Pundit, championed by the Carlsberg Fan Squad, and came to visit him in his local pub to give him some top tips on punditry

Let’s face it we all think we can do a better job than most football pundits while we all know we can do a better job than Andy Townsend.

Recognising this The Carlsberg Fan Squad teamed up with talkSPORT to run a nationwide competition to find the best fan pundit out there with the ultimate prize of being involved at a Premier League ground live on air on the final game of the season.

The campaign has now reached the squeaky bottom semi final stage and in front of a lively live audience competitors are expected to comment expertly on a well-known goal before talking on a random subject for thirty seconds.

The venues and dates for the remaining semi final legs can be found below and if you’re in the area its well worth attending. There are a lot of laughs, the beer flows, and clips of Le Tiss pearlers are shown. What’s not to like?

The north-west’s champion of the mic was decided last week in Liverpool with Manchester United fan Andy Dawber heading down the East Lancs road to secure the first of a famous double for United on Merseyside in a matter of days.

Andy will soon join his fellow semi-final victors at a Boot Camp with Mark Saggers before putting his money where his mouth is at the grand final held in London on May 18th.

From there who knows where it might lead? A rickety gantry; a high-profile incident that explodes Twitter; and on our airwaves one of our own offering their thoughts.

Following his semi final victory we caught up with Andy at a celebratory bash back in his native Manchester along with the grandmaster of the medium Sir – well it’s only a matter of time – Jeff Stelling to discuss all things punditry.

Jeff Stelling

DC: Have you been impressed with the quality of punditry you’ve heard so far in the campaign?

JS: I have. The biggest frustration for me is when you’re debating something with an ex player – and especially when you’re winning the argument – and they’ll inevitably fall back on the old chestnut of ‘What do you know? You’ve never played the game’. Well we all know there are plenty of fans out there who know the game inside-out, upside-down. So this is a way of giving the fans – one fan in particular ultimately – a voice; someone who will be live on the radio on the last game of the season.

The standard so far has been terrific. They’ve had to talk on a goal and then a random subject for thirty seconds. Now I would struggle on some of them. They don’t know what they’re going to get, it’s pressurised, it’s in front of a live audience. They’ve done brilliantly.

The guy here today, Andy, is articulate, he’s intelligent and knows the game inside-out.

DC: What makes a good pundit?

JS: Be a pundit, not a parrot because as an audience we don’t want repetition of what we’ve all just witnessed with our own eyes. Try and find something that the untrained eye might not have seen. I’ll give you an example: At Barcelona last week against Manchester City Rakitic scored a fantastic goal. But at half time Thierry Henry said to me ‘Look at Suarez’s movement. He’s took a couple of players out of the game whereas look at Yaya’s lack of movement’.

So he’s seen the whole perspective and that’s the most important thing, to see something that is relevant but is different.

Another example would be the recent Crystal Palace v QPR game. When Matt Phillips scored from forty yards Phil Thompson said to me afterwards “Look who’s got the ball out of the net”. It was Matt Phillips from forty yards away. They’re 3-1 down and chasing it yet none of his team-mates were on the ball enough to get the damn thing and get on with it. I thought that was a great observation.

Another thing is to have a turn-of-phrase that others don’t use. Gary Neville when he called David Luis a ‘Playstation player’. Paul Merson – when a player is having a bad game – saying he’s like a fish up a tree…

DC: His ‘love bites and everything’ line after the Sergio Aguero goal has made its way onto t-shirts!

JS: Well that was just absolutely brilliant. And earlier in that game when Joey Barton was sent off he said ‘It’s like Platoon out there’.

Good punditry is different, sprite and lively. It makes you laugh or makes you think. Show your passion but you don’t necessarily have to be a Jonathan Pearce or Sam Matterface and do the bellowing. If you come in with an analytical viewpoint that’s controlled passion. But above all else don’t swear!

DC: How important is research?

JS: Very important. From my point of view its preparation, preparation, preparation. It’s all important. The winner of the People’s Pundit will probably go to a live game and if they can find a few little unusual facts about players they can use over the course of their analysis all the better. Make sure you know the players.

What’s a nightmare for a pundit is when you go to a FA Cup first or second round. Recently my lot Hartlepool went to Blyth Spartans and the commentator and the pundit – who was Phil Neville who I’ve got a lot of time for – both managed to call the Blyth Spartans goalkeeper the Hartlepool goalkeeper throughout the first half. Those mistakes you can’t make.

DC: You’ve been on our television screen for nearly three decades now. What’s been your favourite moment and are there any gaffes that stand out?

JS: My favourite moment was the Aguero one you mentioned. You’ll never see a day like that in the Premier League again. Merse was next to me with that brilliant piece of commentary and we’d just seen Sir Alex telling his side to spruce themselves up for the big victory parade at Sunderland. An unforgettable moment.

There is one more; when Jimmy Glass scored for Carlisle to keep them in the football league and send poor old Scarborough down. So they’re the two really.

Biggest gaffe? We all make mistakes but my favourite was when Liverpool went to Bradford on the final game of the season and Rodney Marsh said if Bradford stayed up he’d have his head shaved.

He went up to Valley Parade and thought he was getting a bit of a trim but we all knew it was a grade one. To his great credit he went through with it.

Andy Dawber

DC: Did you expect to get this far?

AD: Certainly not! I entered the competition just for a bit of fun then found out I’d got to the semi finals so went down with my friends and family just for a fun night. I never expected to get through to the final. It’s been quite a journey compared to what I thought it would be.

DC: It must all feel a bit surreal?

AD: Certainly yeah. It doesn’t happen to normal people every day and at this stage now who knows how far I can go and what it might lead to. It’s been such an exciting, surreal experience and I’ve enjoyed every second of it.

DC: What do your friends and family make of it all?

AD: They’re all incredibly proud. They’ve been so supportive and I took a good crowd down to Liverpool for the semi final. It’s beyond belief for everyone.

DC: What footage were you given to comment on in the semis?

AD: There were two challenges. The first was a goal scored by Matthew Le Tissier against Newcastle. The first of his two in ’93. I provided co-commentary on that.

Then the other challenge was thirty seconds against the clock. It was a random topic and I picked who is going to win the Champion’s League.

DC: That’s a lot of pressure….

AD: A lot of pressure but I’m very opinionated on football and watch an awful lot of it. I support Man United but I also go down and watch Stockport County with my friend and see a lot from the European leagues so I just love football in general. So as soon as they threw a topic at me I already knew what my opinion was. It was just a case of forming a valid argument in thirty seconds.

DC: As a United fan how would you have described Mata’s sublime second at Anfield on Sunday?

AD: Absolutely stunning. It was out of this world. For some reason I expected it not to be given. I don’t know if that’s because I feared it was offside or simply because I couldn’t believe the strike. It was truly superb.

We’ve had two big wins in Liverpool this week for Mancunians. Obviously with myself and then on Sunday. It’s been quite a week!

DC: What advice has the master Jeff Stelling given you?

AD: Be individual. Have you own way of saying things. Its all about perspective so if you see something that’s a bit different still put it out there. It’s your opinion so it doesn’t matter if others don’t share that opinion. As long as you’ve got evidence to back it up then you should air it.

Also to make sure your personality shines though and be as natural as possible.

The mission of the Carlsberg fan squad is to make football better for fans. That’s why, If Carlsberg did Pundits…they’d probably be just like you. Jeff Stelling visited North West finalist, Andy Dawber, at the John Millngton Pub in Manchester to help him prepare for Boot Camp in the People’s Pundit, championed by Carlsberg – the official beer of the Premier League. To find out how Andy and all of our other pundits get on in the race to secure their big break on talkSPORT, or to find details of a regional heat near you, head to Plus, if you’d like to show your support to Andy, follow him @AndyDawber #PeoplesPundit

The remaining semi final legs are to be held at –

Newcastle: 26th March, Centurion Bar – Grand Central Station, Neville Street, Newcastle upon Tyne. Judges include Micky Quinn

Bristol: 2nd April, Exact location TBC. Judges include Bobby Gould

Birmingham: 9th April, Snobs Nightclub – 31 Paradise Circus Queensway, Birmingham, West Midlands B1 2BJ. Judges include Dion Dublin

Head to to find out more now!