By Mike Nevin
FIRST of all, let me say this; Mark Lawrenson was a brilliant footballer. A brilliant, talented, committed footballer who wore the Liver Bird with absolute distinction.
We noticed when his wrists went a bit limp as he galloped back into back into his own half to partner Jockey Hansen, but he was forgiven on account of the preceding masculine, rapier-like charge from defence.
We ignored the dodgy local rumour mill, given credence by Lawrenson’s tragic, George Michaelesque barnet and his obvious love of two of the daftest-looking fucking dogs ever born of a litter. We ignored this because he was a class act in a red shirt.
A footballer’s’ time is called quickly, in Lawrenson’s case even more prematurely so when an Achilles injury cut short his career. A brief, unsuccessful sojourn into management followed, made memorable only by the unfortunate association with that mad bastard, Robert Maxwell.
Then, slowly, indeed stealthily, Mark Lawrenson, ex-Liverpool and Republic of Ireland toggerist of the finest repute, via the medium of Football Focus, once the classy preserve of Bob Wilson and Jimmy Hill, and later, the Match of the Day couch, morphed into the dreadful creature we know now only as “Lawro”. Among a myriad of singularly-named “stars”, only “Bono” rivals “Lawro” for cuntishness.
It would be easy to stop at is his clichéd mispronunciation of the not so difficult word, “moment”, as part of the stock-in-trade, blood-curdling phrase “at the meeerment”. I suppose he can be forgiven for this on the basis that he’s got a voice that if it were a handshake, would be described as a “wet kipper”.
However, let’s not stop there.
Instead let’s explore how this miserable, sour-faced wool, really gets our goat. Well for a start, he’s fucking shit at his job, in particular as a supposed foil to the Beeb’s proud array of oh-so un-rehearsed, new-age commentators. Instead of adding some tactical insight to a commentator’s description of the action, “Lawro” prefers to be heard moaning away in the background, sounding vaguely like Quentin Crisp, about just how shit it is to be there.
Occasionally – for our benefit apparently – he’ll amuse himself with low-level puns, that if heard among a group of mates in a Liverpool pub would grant the reply, “Oh just fuck off, you unfunny twat”
Not for Lawro then, an appreciation of being paid for working in a fantastic, vibrant arena, watching professionals operating at the highest level of their sport.
If listening to co-commentator “Lawro” is more painful than snapping your banjo string; when sat on a Footy Focus couch, he’s even more excruciating. In tandem with his old sidekick on Match of the Day, he’s made me start to hate the hitherto smooth-as silk Hansen, who I now visualise as a wooden, ventriloquists’ dummy spouting repetitive shite about “pace and strenth and talent and ability”
Being on “panel” comes with the immediate drawback that you can actually see “Lawro”. This in itself is enough to make you want to top yourself.
Adhering perfectly to his blag-Irish, Preston background his dress sense is criminal – God-awful stonewash jeans, tucked into lurid shirts that would be knocked back by semi-naked Somalian refugees.
And then, to top it off, there’s his actual face. A congenital downturned mouth, making him one of the 3 men remaining on this earth who should have realised they actually suit a muzzy. (The other two are Sam Allardyce and a fat guy who lives on the outskirts of Bosnia-Herzegovina).
Add to this, nightmare inducing, massively-oversized teeth (some of which are false) and guarantee if you ever have the misfortune to dream about “Lawro” there’s a chance you’ll pass away in your sleep.
His lank, greying hair is a disgrace as well, but no more than a clear refusal to gen up a bit and earn the small fortune he earns from his dopey BBC paymasters.
Mike is the co-author of ‘On the March with Kenny’s Army’ – The definitive social and sporting account of Liverpool FC’s League and Cup Double season 1985-86 and you can pick up your copy here