Ricky Holden’s Defence of Mark Lawn

The following appeared in The City Gent #167 in reference to an article in the previous issue by Ricky Holden. It is included here for completion.

After taking in Ricky Holden’s spirited discussion of Mark Lawn on page 31 of issue 166 heartened to read such a passionate defence of the man and as I looked through the article it stuck me how few of the points Mr Holden batted away were ever brought to joint chairman as criticisms.

Mark Lawn used to travel on the CTC coaches and is a proper City fan the article screamed and one would be mistaken for thinking that there was a campaign against the joint chairman that sought to expose him as a fraud who oversold his association with Bradford City. In the three years of covering his involvement at City on BfB never have I heard anyone suggest that Lawn was not the passionate Bantams fan Ricky Holden states he is. One can only wonder why Lawn is defended against charges not levelled at him.

It is certainly true that people accuse Lawn of having a gruffness to his public statements and as Ricky Holden says he is rough around the edges but again seldom is this ever seriously used as criticism against him. On the BBC recently Lawn’s “University of Hard Knocks” saw him – paraphrased no doubt by the article author – more or less suggest that the Bantams were doing all they could to attract Asian supporters by having a Chicken Tikka Pie. One could, if one wanted, find any number of ways to portray Lawn over this and few of them would illustrate him will but again there is no campaign against the man because of his manner public speaking.

“The one thing,” Ricky Holden tells us, “that I do know is he is 100% Claret and Amber” and with that it would have been interesting to settle the term “100% Claret and Amber” with “I spent the weekend deciding if I was going to withdraw my loan and put Bradford City into administration” but again Lawn is forgiven and afforded the honorific “Supporter Chairman.”

One would be satisfied to write the article off as a passionate, if slightly misguided, defence of a man who takes his fair share of criticism if it were not for the statement that Lawn was “the only one willing to put his money where his mouth was” which is increasingly said of the chairman and so inaccurate as to be insulting.

Insulting to the people who in 2002 and 2004 spent summers raising money to keep the club in business and to everyone who did at that point put their money where their mouths were and did so to the tune of hundreds of thousands. That there was a club for Mark Lawn to invest his money in/loan his money to is because of the community of Bradford City supporters who put their money, time and efforts where their mouths were and stopped the club from going out of business. It is said that Bradford is a poor City – indeed financially it is – and the people of this City squeezing out £250,000 in eight weeks is the stone wringing its own blood. An act which deserves more than being written off as not having put money where mouth is.

One could write books on Lawn and his actions at Bradford City and opinion over the man will no doubt be divided but let us not create a revisionism that insults the people who have kept this club going – the supporters – and affords their success to the boardroom.

Michael Wood