Lennie Lawrence

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Lennie Lawrence
Personal information
Full nameRobin Michael Lawrence
Date of birth (1947-12-12) 12 December 1947 (age 73)
Place of birth Brighton, England
Senior career*
Carshalton Athletic
Sutton United
Teams managed
1978 Plymouth Argyle (caretaker)
1982–1991 Charlton Athletic
1991–1994 Middlesbrough
1994–1995 Bradford City
1995–2000 Luton Town
2000–2001 Grimsby Town
2002–2005 Cardiff City
2012 Crystal Palace (joint caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Robin Michael "Lennie" Lawrence (born 12 December 1947) is an English football consultant and former manager, coach, and player.


Lawrence was a semi-professional at Croydon, Carshalton Athletic and Sutton United before becoming caretaker manager of Plymouth Argyle in 1978. He went on to manage Charlton Athletic, Middlesbrough (during their debut season in the Premier League), Bradford City, Luton Town and Grimsby Town. Lawrence ended his managerial career with a three-year stint as boss of Cardiff City. [1] He is one of a select few managers to have managed over 1,000 games. [2]

Since 2005 Lawrence has worked at a number of clubs as either part of the coaching staff or in a Director of Football role. He joined Stevenage in June 2020 as a managerial advisor, to begin at either the restart of the 2019–20 season or the start of the 2020–21 season, [3] following three years as the management consultant to Newport County, Lawrence left this role in early November 2020.

Playing career

Lawrence turned out at non-league level for Croydon, Carshalton Athletic and Sutton United during his semi-professional career.

Managerial career

Plymouth Argyle and Lincoln City

He came to Plymouth as Assistant Manager to Mike Kelly and when Kelly was sacked he got his first managerial appointment at Plymouth Argyle as caretaker and then worked alongside Malcolm Allison as Assistant. He later worked as a coach at Lincoln City, helping them win promotion from Division Four in the 1980–81 season. [2]

Charlton Athletic

Lawrence moved to Charlton Athletic as reserve-team manager, and was later promoted to full-time manager in 1982. appointing Leicester City first team coach Eddie May, as his assistant. [2] During his first few years in charge, the club was in a poor financial situation and came close to going out of business in 1984, and even left its home ground, The Valley, in 1985. Despite this, Lawrence and May, not only kept Charlton in the Second Division but gained promotion to the First Division in 1986, ending Charlton's 29-year absence from the top-flight. With limited resources, he kept Charlton at this level for four years, before being relegated in 1990. He remained in charge for a further season. [2]


Before the start of the 1991–92 season, Lawrence moved on to manage Middlesbrough. Under his stewardship, Middlesbrough finished Second Division runners-up in his first season as manager and gained promotion to the new Premier League but they struggled in 1992–93 and were relegated at the end of the season. [2] Lawrence remained in charge until the end of the following season, his departure being confirmed on 2 May 1994. [4] Upon leaving he helped young chairman Steve Gibson contact his replacement Bryan Robson. [5]

Bradford City and move to Luton Town

Lawrence joined Bradford City at the beginning of the 1994–95 season. After a mid-table finish in his first season, Bradford were challenging for promotion in his second season in charge before he left to manage struggling Luton Town in the division above. Lawrence was unable to save Luton from relegation to Division Two at the end of the 1995–96 season, which saw them replaced by former club Bradford. He remained in charge at Kenilworth Road until 2000 when he was sacked [6] by the new incoming Luton chairman, Mike Watson Challis, and replaced with former Luton fans favourite, Ricky Hill. His time at Luton is not fondly remembered by Luton fans, who didn't agree with Lawrence's assertion that the club should be happy to be playing Division Two (now League One) level football. Luton are currently playing at a higher level than this.

Grimsby Town

He made a quick return to management shortly after the beginning of the 2000–01 season with Division One side Grimsby Town. [2] They avoided relegation and made a reasonable start to the 2001–02 season, and caused an upset in the League Cup third round by knocking out holders Liverpool 2–1 after extra time at Anfield, scoring with a Phil Jevons wonder-goal in the last minute. [7] However, he was sacked later in the season after Grimsby dropped to the bottom of the table. [8]

During the opening weeks of the 2001–02 season, his Grimsby side had briefly led Division One, sparking hopes that he could repeat the promotion success he achieved at Charlton Athletic and Middlesbrough with a much smaller club. However, these hopes were quickly extinguished as Grimsby's form plunged. [9]

Cardiff City

After a short while out of the game he joined Division Two side Cardiff City as a consultant. Owner Sam Hammam had made it clear to manager Alan Cork that he expected back-to-back promotions, which it did not look like Cork was going to deliver. Eventually Cork was sacked, and Lawrence took over the manager's chair. [2] In his first full season in charge, Lawrence took Cardiff to promotion after beating Queens Park Rangers in the 2003 Football League Second Division play-off final. [10] He remained at Ninian Park for a further two years before being replaced in May 2005. [11]

Coaching career

Bristol Rovers

After acting as a consultant at Cardiff for a while, he was appointed Director of Football at Bristol Rovers, working alongside coach Paul Trollope in a two-tier managerial structure. [12] In the pair's first full season in charge, Bristol Rovers won promotion into League One after winning the League Two play-offs. [13] He remained in this position until leaving the club on 12 May 2010, with their League One status still intact. [14]

Carshalton Athletic and Hereford United

In August 2010 Lawrence joined non-league Carshalton Athletic in a football consultancy role, assisting manager Mark Butler. Four months later he was appointed technical director at Hereford United in League Two, to assist new manager Jamie Pitman. [15]

Crystal Palace

On 20 January 2011, he was appointed assistant manager at Crystal Palace, to support new rookie manager, Dougie Freedman. [16] In October 2012 Freedman became manager at Bolton Wanderers, and Lawrence was named as a joint-caretaker manager at Crystal Palace with Curtis Fleming, but within a week Lawrence rejoined Freedman at Bolton. [17]

Bolton Wanderers

Lawrence's first game at Bolton was a victory over former club Cardiff at the Reebok Stadium, in which a Martin Petrov penalty and a further goal from David N'Gog gave Wanderers a 2–1 victory. [18] At the end of the season, Bolton missed out on a Play Off place to Leicester City

Nottingham Forest

On 3 October 2014, he left Bolton along with fellow coach Curtis Fleming following the sacking of Dougie Freedman as manager. He later joined Freedman as assistant manager at Nottingham Forest in early 2015.

Return to Cardiff City

During the Summer of 2016 Lawrence became assistant manager to Paul Trollope at Cardiff City. However, a poor start to the 2016/2017 season saw Paul Trollope sacked in the October at which time Lawrence also departed from the club.

Newport County

On 21 March 2017 Lawrence joined Newport County as First Team Management Consultant to new manager Mike Flynn with Newport 11 points adrift at the bottom of League Two. [19] A remarkable turnaround in the remaining 12 league games saw Newport complete the Great Escape and avoid relegation with a win against Notts County with a 89th-minute winner on the final day of the 2016–17 season. [20] Lawrence departed County in June 2020 at the end of the 2019–20 EFL League Two season. [3]


Lawrence announced his move to Stevenage in June 2020 and is set to start employment there "either the recommencement of the 2019-20 season or the start of the 2020-21 season", with the club in the relegation spot at the end of the 2019-20 EFL League Two season. He serves as the Managerial Advisor to Alex Revell. In December 2020, Lawrence left the club. [3]

Managerial statistics

Plymouth Argyle Flag of England.svg 14 February 197816 March 1978502300.00
Charlton Athletic Flag of England.svg 22 November 198210 July 199139312016410930.53
Middlesbrough Flag of England.svg 10 July 19912 May 199418775605240.10
Bradford City Flag of England.svg 25 May 199427 November 19957729282041.42
Luton Town Flag of England.svg 21 December 19954 July 200024889936635.88
Grimsby Town Flag of England.svg 29 August 200028 December 20017722361928.57
Cardiff City Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg 18 February 200225 May 200517472525041.37
Crystal Palace§ Flag of England.svg 23 October 20121 November 2012211050

§: Joint caretaker manager with Curtis Fleming



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  1. "Bristol Rovers terminate Lennie Lawrence contract". BBC Sport. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Lennie Lawrence manager profile". League Managers Association. Archived from the original on 7 May 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
  3. 1 2 3 "Lennie Lawrence: Newport County lose management consultant to struggling Stevenage". BBC Sport. 1 June 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  4. Shaw, Phil (3 May 1994). "Football: Lawrence leaves Middlesbrough". The Independent. London.
  5. "Lennie Lawrence (July 1991 to May 1994)". MFC. Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
  6. "Lennie leaves Luton". BBC Sport. 4 July 2000. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  7. "Grimsby stun Liverpool". BBC Sport. 9 October 2001. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
  8. "Grimsby sack boss Lawrence". BBC Sport. 28 December 2001. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
  9. "Grimsby Town 2001". When Saturday Comes. 21 July 2005. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
  10. "Cardiff seal promotion". BBC Sport. 25 May 2003. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
  11. "Cardiff boss Lawrence steps down". BBC Sport. 23 May 2005. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
  12. "Rovers unveil Trollope & Lawrence". BBC Sport. 7 November 2005. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
  13. "Trollope & Lawrence pen new deals". BBC Sport. 10 August 2007. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
  14. "Bristol Rovers terminate Lennie Lawrence contract". BBC Sport. 12 May 2010.
  15. "Lennie Lawrence arrives as Jamie Pitman confirmed as Hereford United manager". Hereford Times. 16 December 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
  16. "Crystal Palace name Lennie Lawrence as assistant". BBC Sport. 20 January 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  17. "Lennie Lawrence & Dougie Freedman reunited at Bolton". BBC Sport. 1 November 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  18. "Bolton 2–1 Cardiff". BBC Sport. 3 November 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  19. Lawrence joins Newport
  20. Newport seal League Two status
  21. "Bursting the Grimsby bubble". Coventry Telegraph. 7 September 2001. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  22. "Lawrence lands manager's gong". ESPN FC. 3 February 2005. Retrieved 21 June 2015.