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‘I was sacked because I’m 65 and I’m a white male’: Former BBC presenter Mark Lawrenson takes a swipe at the ‘woke’ broadcaster after more than 30 years of working as a pundit

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  • Mark Lawrenson has said being ’65 and a white male’ saw him axed by the BBC 
  • The former Liverpool defender spent 30 years as a pundit with the corporation 
  • However, he was told of format changes to Football Focus in March of this year
  • He said he came around to supporting Alex Scott as the show’s lead presenter 

Mark Lawrenson has said he thinks his departure from the BBC was down to him being ’65 and a white male’.

The former Liverpool defender had spent three decades with the corpoation, including 25 years with Football Focus, before being told of the show’s format changes in March.

Lawrence told The Sunday Times:  ‘The Beeb are probably the worst at giving you bad news. It was just, “We are going on the road next season with Focus. We don’t think it is really something for you.”

Ajax head coach Alfred Schreuder admitted that his side could not cope with the intensity of Liverpool after falling to a 2-1 Champions League defeat at Anfield through a late goal from Joel Matip.

‘I haven’t watched the programme since to see if they have gone on the road. They forget you are an ex-footballer and could get subbed or dropped or transferred. Somebody could say to me, “I’m sorry, it’s not good news.’ And I would say, “OK, just tell me what it is.”

‘I just wish they had said to me at the start of my contract last year, ‘You’ve had a great run, thanks very much and you are not working next season.”‘

SEE ALSO:  Man City win historic fourth straight English Premier League title

Lawrenson revealed he should have thought about leaving the show when host Dan Walker left his hosting duties after 12 years in 2021.

While initially vexed with Walker’s replacement, ex-England and Arsenal player Alex Scott, he came around to supporting her.

‘Alex was just thrown in, so from the outset we were trying to make the programme as easy as possible for her,’ he said.

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‘It was a little bit frustrating because she would ask you a question and then move on to the next person and I would want to say something I had just thought of, but I just had to shut up because she was just learning.

‘She has done well in fairness to her and she is a lovely kid. It’s a tough gig, because Dan was so good. Some people just don’t want her to be any good, but she has gotten better and better.’

He hit out at criticism for using brand names like Greggs while on the BBC, and when as a radio co-commentator in the wake of Princess Diana’s death in 1997, he was told to avoid any reference to free-kick ‘walls’, in case somebody would have been offended by the language used.

He said he became ‘anti-woke’, and rebelled against the BBC’s very safe culture, often driven by much younger co-workers.

Lawrenson revealed he became ‘anti-woke’ in response to the BBC’s aim not to anger people

Lawrenson revealed: ‘In all my time at the BBC, nobody ever said you can’t say this or that, but the woke thing drives me bonkers.

SEE ALSO:  Why I resigned as Super Eagles Head Coach – Finidi George opens up

‘Whereas normally you would say the first thing that comes into your head, you’re now thinking, “If I say that will I get into trouble?” It was a bit like playing with your legs tied together.

‘The BBC is the national broadcaster and I get that, but they are frightened to death of upsetting anybody.’

The BBC and Sky Sports have both had large changes in their on-screen personalities in recent years. Lawrenson’s friend and former Liverpool teammate Phil Thompson was axed from the latter’s Soccer Saturday programming.

Lawrenson said: ‘I spoke to Tommo and it caught him completely by surprise. Is the show any better? No. Not as good? Yeah. It was just a strange, strange thing to do. Now they go around and do theatres and they’re packed out.’

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Lawrenson is set to enjoy a farewell lunch with the BBC and 20 guests, something he is keen to embrace after his love of his three decades with the corporation.

Sportsmail has contacted the BBC for comment. (MailOnline)

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Why I resigned as Super Eagles Head Coach – Finidi George opens up

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Finidi George

Finidi George has explained why he resigned as the head coach of the Super Eagles.

The 53-year-old turned in his resignation to the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, on Saturday.

This comes days after the NFF issued a statement revealing they are planning to bring in a foreign technical adviser to work alongside Finidi.

In a video posted on social media hours later, a former media officer of the Eagles, Colin Udoh, confirmed he had spoken to Finidi after his decision.

According to him, “Finidi confirmed to me that he resigned his position indeed,”

“The reason being that he met with the NFF on Thursday and they had a very good conversation.

“They spoke about the things they need to do going forward and he (Finidi) asked if he will be back.

“At no point during that meeting did anyone tell him they were going to appoint a foreign technical adviser.

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“The NFF board had met on Wednesday and made that decision. But it was when Findi landed in Port Harcourt after that meeting that someone called him and informed him. He (Finidi) had to park his car and read the link to see that it actually was true.

“So he waited for two days to see if anyone would contact him but nobody spoke to him. So he (Finidi) felt they didn’t want him anymore and so he decided to turn in his resignation.”

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SEE ALSO:  Man City win historic fourth straight English Premier League title
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Manchester United stun Manchester City 2-1 to win FA Cup

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•Manchester United’s Players celebrates their victory at the end of the English FA Cup final football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Wembley stadium, in London, on May 25, 2024. Manchester United wins 2 – 1 against Manchester City. (Photo by Ben Stansall / AFP)
•Manchester United’s Players celebrates their victory at the end of the English FA Cup final football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Wembley stadium, in London, on May 25, 2024. Manchester United wins 2 – 1 against Manchester City. (Photo by Ben Stansall / AFP)
Erik ten Hag made a convincing case to be spared the sack as Manchester United upset Manchester City to take the FA Cup with a shock 2-1 victory in Saturday’s final.

Ten Hag was reportedly set to be dismissed regardless of the result at Wembley after a troubled campaign that even the United manager described as “terrible” this week.

But United’s hierarchy might be having second thoughts after Ten Hag’s tactical masterclass ruined City’s history bid.

City were hot favourites to win a second successive Premier League and FA Cup double.

Yet Ten Hag found a way to neutralise Pep Guardiola’s side as first half goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo put United on course to win the FA Cup for the first time in eight years.

Jeremy Doku squeezed an 87th minute strike past Andre Onana’s weak attempted save but it was too late to rescue City.

Having ended a turbulent season on a high note, if Ten Hag’s two-year reign does end, his exit would provoke memories of fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal’s Old Trafford departure.

Van Gaal was fired just two days after United’s FA Cup final victory against Crystal Palace in 2016.

Ten Hag will hope a more apt comparison is Alex Ferguson’s 1990 FA Cup final win against Palace, which kick-started his remarkable run after calls for his sacking earlier that season.

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Ferguson was in attendance as a match labelled Ten Hag’s funeral turned into a triumph for the much-maligned Dutchman.

United shareholder Jim Ratcliffe, who has control of football operations at Old Trafford, was also watching from the stands alongside co-owners Joel and Avie Glazer.

SEE ALSO:  Man City win historic fourth straight English Premier League title

Linked with Thomas Tuchel, Mauricio Pochettino and Gareth Southgate, among others, there is still plenty for Ratcliffe to ponder after United finished eighth in the Premier League this season — their lowest final position since 1990 — and crashed out of the Champions League in the group stage.

Ten Hag believes a lengthy injury list was the root of the problems and can point to the two trophies he has won in three cup final appearances with United as proof of what he can do when his team are at full strength.

Ten Hag ended United’s six-year trophy drought by winning the League Cup last year and has now avenged their 2-1 loss to City in the FA Cup final 12 months ago despite finishing 31 points behind the champions this term.

–       Stay of execution –

United will also qualify for the Europa League, avoiding a first season without European action since 2014-15.

They benefitted from an unusually tepid City performance as their double bid fell flat in their first domestic defeat since losing at Aston Villa in the league 171 days ago.

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Last weekend, City became the first team to win the Premier League in four consecutive seasons.

But Guardiola’s men looked hungover after the celebrations that followed their sixth title in seven years.

City were furious when their strong penalty appeal was rejected inside the first minute after Lisandro Martinez’s shove sent Erling Haaland sprawling.

Content to sit deep with all 11 men behind the ball, United stifled City impressively and gleefully accepted their gift-wrapped opener in the 30th minute.

SEE ALSO:  Manchester United stun Manchester City 2-1 to win FA Cup

Diogo Dalot’s punt forward should have been dealt with by Josko Gvardiol, but the left-back hesitated as he looked for an offside flag.

Gvardiol headed the ball over City keeper Stefan Ortega, who had rashly rushed off his line, leaving Garnacho with the simple task of tapping into the empty net as Ten Hag clenched his fist in celebration.

Garnacho, 19, was the first teenager to score in the FA Cup final since Cristiano Ronaldo for United against Millwall 20 years ago.

Just nine minutes later, the 19-year-old Mainoo punished more sloppy City defending.

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Garnacho advanced unchecked down the right wing and found Fernandes, whose superb first-time pass reached the unmarked Mainoo for a clinical close-range finish.

City pushed harder after the interval but although Doku’s shot slipped through Onana’s grasp to set up a tense finale, it wasn’t enough to deny United.

As the final seconds ticked away, Ten Hag stood in the sunshine nervously waiting to celebrate a dramatic win that could earn an unexpected stay of execution or serve as his final fling. (AFP)

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Man City win historic fourth straight English Premier League title

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Manchester City created English football history on Sunday, beating West Ham 3-1 to win an unprecedented fourth straight Premier League title.

The Catalan coach has masterminded six Premier League wins in the past seven seasons.

 

In four of those years, City have also surpassed 90 points. They were pushed this season to deny Arsenal a first title since 2003-04.

The Gunners celebrated a 0-0 draw at the Etihad last month that kept them one point in front of City with nine games to play.

But the champions were relentless in the run-in, winning their final nine league games while scoring 33 goals.

Guardiola conceded City had felt the pressure in a nervy 2-0 win at Tottenham in midweek that kept the destiny of the title in their own hands.

In the same scenario two years ago, they needed a remarkable late fightback from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 on the final day.

There was far less drama as West Ham melted under the baking Manchester sun in David Moyes’ final game in charge of the Hammers.

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FODEN MASTERCLASS

Foden was recently crowned the football writers’ player of the year for his best-ever goalscoring season and ended any suspense after just 79 seconds.

The England international arrowed a blistering drive into the top corner to ensure there was no nervous wait for the title party to get started.

Foden doubled City’s lead inside 20 minutes with another cool left-footed finish from Jeremy Doku’s cross for his 27th goal of the season.

City should have been out of sight before halftime as Alphonse Areola denied Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland failed to turn in from point-blank range.

SEE ALSO:  Man City win historic fourth straight English Premier League title

Out of nowhere, there was a twist in the tale of the first half when, from a West Ham corner, Mohammed Kudus’ outrageous overhead kick flew high past Stefan Ortega.

Haaland claimed his second Golden Boot in as many seasons in the Premier League despite a day to forget in front of goal.

The Norwegian missed a huge chance to restore the home side’s two-goal cushion when he spooned over another inviting Doku cross.

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City swiftly restored order at the start of the second period and fittingly it was Rodri, himself a player of the year contender, who delivered the knockout blow to Arsenal’s title hopes.

The Spaniard has not been on the losing side for club or country since March 2023.

City’s only three Premier League defeats came in the three games the 27-year-old was suspended.

This time Areola should have done better as the Frenchman failed to turn Rodri’s tame effort round the post.

City could cruise to the finish line and extend a remarkable 35-game unbeaten streak in all competitions from open play.

The only blip on that run was a penalty shootout defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals that denied Guardiola’s men the chance of back-to-back trebles.

They can make it double next weekend when Manchester United have the unenviable task of stopping their local rivals in the FA Cup final.

By achieving a degree of league dominance never seen before, City have made their case to be considered the greatest side English football has produced.

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There was an anti-climactic end as City players had to tell fans to get off the pitch before the fulltime whistle.

SEE ALSO:  Why I resigned as Super Eagles Head Coach – Finidi George opens up

Thousands of supporters poured onto the field at the end despite pleas from the club to stay off the playing surface.

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