Matt Butler: It's not snobbery but can we have Johnny Vaughan every week?

View From The Sofa: Rock 'n' Roll Football, Absolute Radio

Stan Collymore, the prolific tweeter of talkSPORT, last week wrote a blog on the supposed snobbery of football journalism. His main bone of contention was that players-turned-pundits such as him were looked down upon by, as he put it, football snobs who write sneering Kafka-esque match reports.

Collymore is the reason many tune in to talkSPORT. Gary Neville on Sky Sports is another who has slipped into the pundit's role with ease. But there are many ex-players on air who lack the communication skills to say anything more than "he's a top, top player", or "for me, you can't legislate for that sort of defending". In order for a pundit to be worth their salt, they need to be skilful enough to spot a line and back up a position – which Collymore is gifted enough to do well.

But on radio, for every Collymore, there is an Ian Wright, who hosts Rock 'n' Roll Football on Absolute Radio for the driving-back-from-the-game crowd on Saturday evenings. He is the punditry version of egg and chips: some people's favourite, but still plain and simple. You know exactly what you are getting. But this week, Absolute put some aural Cholula hot sauce on their ova and potatoes (try it, it's lovely), as Johnny Vaughan filled in while the regular host was "on the slopes" according to the station's website.

Vaughan, of course, never played football to any level above that of the general population. But in the pre-Gary Lineker, Jamie Redknapp, Neville and Alan Shearer era, the ability to kick a ball wasn't a pre-requisite to talk about the game.

Vaughan's familiar delivery style of "ask a question, pause, answer, retort and ask a follow-up question all in a single sentence" has all the blokey glottal stops of Wright. But where Wright bludgeons his way through the show, Vaughan is sharp – and not a little self-deprecating about his time out of the limelight. What was most satisfying was that he reminded people football is only a bloody game.

Take his analysis of Michael Owen's let-off for a punch on Mikel Arteta at the Emirates: "[The referee] viewed that it was so surprising that Owen actually threw a punch, he liked the fact he'd done something ballsy." Likely? Not really. But it was definitely an entertaining angle. As was the fantasy picture he painted of Wayne Rooney in a high-vis vest employed as stop-go man at a roadworks.

He even admitted to watching matches illegally online, to a caller from Newcastle, whose club had beaten Vaughan's beloved Chelsea. But where an ex-player – or anyone from Sky – would have allowed his moral compass to spin into overdrive, Vaughan turned it into a brief argument against over-priced match tickets while admitting to the criminal thrill at streaming a match from a dodgy site.

But the best part of Saturday's show, apart from Vaughan branding an interview with Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert "painful", was his anecdote about sharing a Sardinian beach with Rafa Benitez. The Chelsea manager's skill at keeping an eye on their respective daughters while they were swimming impressed Vaughan greatly. And you could hear the wistfulness in his voice when he finished with "if only he could do the same at Chelsea".

While we're being wistful, is it too much to ask that we get Vaughan every week? Not out of any snobbery against ex-players, but just because sometimes we need a little spice on our spuds.

Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer the industry can flesh out an existence
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Arts and Entertainment
art
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable