Belfast Telegraph

Beeb's grumpy old man Mark Lawrenson is left in a bit of a state

By Billy Weir

You have to spare a thought for poor old Mark Lawrenson who didn't quite have the magical FA Cup Third Round that is oft waxed lyrical about at this time of the year.

The only magic the Beeb's original grumpy old man wanted was of the disappearing kind with two pieces of TV gold that were the highlights of the weekend.

One of the footballing 'stars', and I use that term very loosely, who were scraped from the bottom of the balls bucket, he was joined by Football Focus nice chap Dan Walker as one of the four teams in a special FA Cup edition of the magnificent Pointless on Saturday evening.

"I'm Mark Lawrenson and I'm a retired genius," he said at the start and there have been some pretty sensational scandals and claims levelled at the Beeb in recent times but that is surely the most stunning of them all.

It quickly became apparent that this was not the case as, when Lawro was asked to name a country beginning with an 'A', he stuck out his chest and confidently announced 'Alaska'. Cue much chortling and an early exit for the genius and the nice Dan.

But let's not be too harsh on him, as Gabby Logan reminded us on Match of the Day later in the day that while co-expert Trevor Sinclair was part of folklore for an overhead kick, Lawro was an FA Cup winner, so a wee bit of respect please.

It doesn't help that alongside the always dapper Sinclair, Lawro always has the appearance that he's been dragged out of a skip and strategically scrubbed before going on air, the skip presumably in an alleyway in Anchorage.

Thankfully he was closer to home as Everton took on Dagenham and Redbridge, with Lawro chewing over the Toffees' key players' return to fitness.

"Jagielka is back as we saw today, Mirallas, Penis, err, Pienaar.." he said as Logan and Sinclair exchanged raised eye-brows and knowing glances that for the second time in just a few hours, Lawro had made a bit of a Pienaar of himself.

But moving swiftly on, she had recovered in time for the live match the following afternoon as she led us through the teams as Spurs prepared to entertain Leicester City, or the Gary Lineker Cup as we like to call it.

"A very different side for you to chew over," she said handing back to the studio with Lineker responding "yes, we've been masticating furiously over that" while in a skip far, far away a man set about writing a letter of protest but then thought better of it.

It was a good-natured affair at White Hart Lane, Peter Crouch seemingly brought on to be the butt of many jokes but then having his thunder stolen by former falling Fox in the box Emile Heskey, who had joined Logan on the sidelines.

"Very quickly, head or heart, who's going to win today?" she asked.

"Heart - Liverpool. Oh, Leicester," came the reply, but at least he didn't say Alaska.

After falling behind, Leicester levelled through a man mountain called Marcin Wasilewski and it left commentator Jonathan Pearce, a bit like Lawro, in a state.

"Who does he look like?" he asked cohort Kevin Kilbane.

"Do you remember Grizzly Adams, a man who used to live with bears and live out in the wilderness?" A bit like Lawro then.

They then took the lead through Okazaki, who I'm sure was the wee dinosaur that knocked around with Godzilla, but Spurs ruined the romance by getting an equaliser meaning that we'll get a replay in Leicester or Liverpool.

It had been a long weekend, starting off on Friday night with a live game in Exeter as Liverpool - or was it Leicester? - kicked things off with Jurgen Klopp being interviewed in a kitchen. Ah, the glamour of it all.

BT Sport got in on the action too, Fletch and Sav joined on Saturday morning in Wycombe by the usual array of the great and good, Lawrie Sanchez going up another notch in everyone's thoughts by mentioning Michael Hughes within earshot of Robbie Savage.

There was also some great stuff from Martin O'Neill ripping the something that sounds a bit like Pienaar out of Savage but nothing to what Paul Scholes ripped out of Man United later on in possibly the worst ever game witnessed by man.

Louis van Gaal later explained that thousands had left Old Trafford to avoid the traffic.

No they didn't, they'd just heard that Lawro was on Pointless and couldn't miss that.

Belfast Telegraph


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