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Football: Lawro in 'lunatic' outburst.

Byline: BRIAN McNALLY

TOP telly pundit Mark Lawrenson launched a blistering broadside yesterday at the "decadence" of some young Premiership stars.

And the Liverpool legend warned English football's leaders decisive action was required because "the lunatics are running the asylum".

Lawrenson's outspoken comments came on BBC TV's Football Focus in the wake of a week when England's players threatened to go on strike over Rio Ferdinand's omission from the squad.

No-nonsense Lawrenson blasted the England players strike threat as "seriously misguided" and praised the Football Association's stance.

"I think the FA have behaved impeccably," said the former Republic of Ireland international. "I don't think the English footballers realise how serious missing a dope test is.

"I'm afraid I have to totally disagree with what Gordon Taylor says. The statement that Rio would have gone back and taken the test is completely irrelevant.

"Three of the players took the test when asked and he didn't.

"It's about time someone in football, whether in the PFA or anyone else, started to be responsible for the players because at the moment the lunatics are running the asylum.

"You can't threaten to strike and not play for England over something where the lad was responsible for failing to show up."

And on the declining behaviour of English players, Lawrensen added: "With a certain number - it is a minority - there is an air of decadence.

"This minority has to be dealt with. They have so much money it is almost as if they can do anything. They think they are untouchables.

"I think the FA might have the right man for the job in Mark Palios - as long as people let him get on with the job."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 12, 2003
Words:282
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