Mark Lawrenson said goodbye to BBC’s Football Focus today after 25 years in front of the camera. His last appearance on the show took place today (May 14) before Liverpool took on Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
Lawrenson started his career as a professional footballer in the 1970s and ’80s. During the ex-defenders first season with Liverpool in 1981-82, the club won the League Championship and the League Cup. In 1988 he became manager of Oxford United and later managed Peterborough United.
But he is now best known for his role as a BBC pundit on Football Focus, where he has appeared for the last 25 years.
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The football and broadcasting legend made his final appearance on the show today, but not before his fellow presenters said farewell and showed him a montage of his best moments. The VT showed off Lawrenson’s famous humor and good spirit along with some memorable moments such as when Tony Blair appeared on the show.
It also replayed the time Lawrence lost a bet he made on the show in 2002 that Bolton would be relegated from the Premiership. After Sam Allardyce’s team stayed up, Lawrenson shared off his famous mustache from him.
After the video played, fellow host Alex Scott asked Lawrenson whether he would miss the show. As always, his reply from him was full of humor.
“I’m going to miss it,” he said. “There are just so many things to talk about. My only thing about today is my daughter was due to be here but she’s at uni so she’s probably still in bed.” Looking at the camera I added: “Ruby get up.”
He was then asked how much he was going to enjoy Liverpool’s FA Cup final match against Chelsea. His reply from him showed his love for his club and his pride in him in its current team and management.
“Well, I’m going to enjoy it if Liverpool wins, in all honesty. And you know, I’ve seen so many Liverpool games as well over the last few years. This is the best squad I think they’ve ever, ever, ever had.You know you’ve got 20 players for all the positions, other than the goalkeeper, you would argue and they’ve just been playing so well.
“They play ugly and they win, they play brilliant and win. And they’ve got a fantastic manager so long may it be that way.”
Dion Dublin went on to thank Lawrenson for all his support over the years on the show and said he had always looked up to the “senior guys”. To which Lawrenson replied: “Now, I feel like a really old buffer.”
But the joke did allow him to share some of what it was like playing football in the ’70s and ’80s.
He said: “If you saw the pitches, the diet – we didn’t have a diet. We used to go to Southampton on the coach, we didn’t use to fly or anything. And if we were able to draw or win we were allowed beer or wine on the way back.
“One particular day, they lost the opener and it was absolutely chaos on the bus. So you know what happened? Bruce Grobbelaar opened the beer with his eye socket. I kid you not, it was absolutely nuts.”
The VT also included a special message from Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp. He praised Lawrenson as a “Liverpool legend”.
Klopp said: “I heard you’re stopping Football Focus. I heard you’ve been doing it for 25 years but you look like you could do it for another 25 years.
“As a Football Focus legend and a Liverpool legend, I wish you all the best for whatever you are doing – probably playing golf or something with Kenny. So, you will know how to use the time. All the best here from Liverpool. See you.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.