Former Liverpool defender and football analyst Mark Lawrenson have slammed BBC for sacking him after three decades of association.
Mark Lawrenson : BBC | Predictions | Skin cancer
Mark Thomas Lawrenson is a former professional footballer who played as a defender for Liverpool, among others, during the 1970s and 1980s.
|Full name||Mark Thomas Lawrenson|
|Date of birth||2 June 1957|
|Place of birth||Preston, Lancashire, England|
After a short career as a manager, he then became a radio, television and internet pundit for the BBC, TV3, BT Sport and Today FM, retiring at the end of the 2021–22 football season.
Born and raised in England, Lawrenson qualified to play for the Republic of Ireland through his grandfather, Thomas Crotty, who was born in Waterford.
Mark Lawrenson was born in Preston and attended St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School in Penwortham and, later, Preston Catholic College, a Jesuit school.
Mark Lawrenson has claimed that he was dropped from the BBC’s football coverage because “I’m 65 [years old] and a white male”.
Lawrenson retired at the end of last season after 30 years as a pundit and co-commentator with the corporation, most recently featuring on BBC One’s Football Focus.
But he has now said it was not his decision to step down in an interview with the Sunday Times.
The former Liverpool defender also claimed that the BBC’s head of football told him the news in March of this year. “The Beeb are probably the worst at giving you bad news,” Lawrenson said. “It was just: ‘We’re going on the road next season with [Football] Focus. We don’t think it is really something for you.”
Lawrenson also praised the current Football Focus host Alex Scott, but added that the former England international was “thrown in” to replace Dan Walker. “She has done well in fairness to her, and is a lovely kid,” Lawrenson said. “Some people don’t want her to be any good, but she has got better and better.
“From the outset, we were trying to make the programme as easy as possible for her,” he added. “It was a little bit frustrating because she would ask you a question and then move on … I would want to say something [else], but I just had to shut up because she was just learning.”
Lawrenson, who has covered six men’s World Cups for the BBC, added that the corporation was “frightened to death of upsetting anybody”.
Mark Lawrenson Predictions
After starting out as an occasional segment on TV via Football Focus, Lawro’s Predictions became a popular feature on the BBC Sport website, where they generate hundreds of thousands of page impressions each week – his record was 1.2m when he took on Rick Astley for the festive fixtures at Christmas 2020.
There have been plenty of complaints too – from fans and even clubs who were somehow convinced Lawro was biased against them when he submitted his scores. Among them are Tottenham, Southampton and, especially, West Ham.
In January of the 2015-16 campaign, the Hammers were lying sixth in the Premier League but in Lawro’s League Table – which is at the bottom of every predictions page, and is based on his results, not reality – they were 19th with just two wins all season. It didn’t go down well at Upton Park…
Even Hammers joint-chairman David Gold commented, saying he was “no fan of Lawro”. Such is the power of a few predictions, apparently.
Lawro’s response probably didn’t help, but then he has never made a prediction just to try to please people either.
“I certainly don’t have anything against West Ham,” Lawro said the following week. “In fact I almost joined them as a teenager – they offered me an apprenticeship before I joined my hometown team Preston.
“I have been wrong about them a lot this season so I am sure their fans will not mind that I am tipping them to lose again [to Bournemouth] this week.”
West Ham won 3-1, and their supporters let Lawro know exactly how they felt.
Former Ireland defender Mark Lawrenson has revealed how a keen-eyed Football Focus viewer alerted him to a patch of cancerous skin on his face.
BBC pundit Lawrenson, 61, has been given the all-clear following two operations to remove the blemish.
The former Liverpool player said waiting for the verdict the cancer had not spread felt like a “Sword of Damacles” moment.
Lawrenson said on the BBC Sport website: “Towards the end of last season, the editor of Football Focus received an e-mail from a viewer saying they had seen me on TV and noticed I had a bit of dark skin on the left side of my face.
Lawrenson was referred to Ormskirk Hospital, and had an operation at the start of June before undergoing a follow-up procedure on the malignant growth at Whiston Hospital last month, after which he was eventually given the all-clear.
The BBC is trying to track down the eagle-eyed viewer. Lawrenson said he “would love to be able to get in touch to thank them” and would “owe them a massive beer”.
The 61-year-old worked as a co-commentator for the BBC during its World Cup coverage at Russia 2018 and continues to appear on Match of the Day alongside presenter Gary Lineker.
Lineker responded to Lawrenson’s tweet by saying: “Great news, Lawro”, while BBC commentator Steve Wilson added: “Delighted Lawro. Can’t begin to think what that must have been like for you. Draw a line.”
Lawrenson enjoyed a stellar playing career with Liverpool, winning five league titles, the FA Cup, three League Cups and the European Cup in 1984.
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