By Keith Brookman
The death of former Cabinet Minister and Football League Chairman Brian Mawhinney was announced earlier this week.
The 79 year old passed away on Sunday evening after a long illness.
Knighted in 1997 and created a life peer in 2005, he spent seven years as the Football League supremo and oversaw a reorganisation of the league structure, giving us a Championship, League One and League Two as opposed to Divisions One, Two and Three.
He was a patron of Peterborough United and was awarded life membership of the Football League in 2012.
His former employers, now the EFL, posted this tribute; ‘Everyone associated with the EFL is saddened to hear of the loss of Lord Mawhinney, a hugely respected and influential figure in our recent past and had a significant impact on the wider game.
‘He was the driving force behind the league’s first solidarity arrangement with the Premier League, the formation of the Football league trust and a significant rebranding to support subsequent commercial development.
‘Club owners, their respective teams and staff at the EFL remember Lord Mawhinney’s time at the league very fondly and our collective thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad and difficult time.’
Brian Mawhinney had a link, albeit a tenuous one, with Bristol Rovers in that he was the club’s guest of honour at a dinner held at the Marriott Bristol Royal Hotel on 24th April 2009 to mark the end of the 125th anniversary celebrations.
The Football League Chairman proposed a toast to the Football Club and made a short speech to an audience that included a number of former managers, namely; Don Megson, Ian Holloway, John Ward, Bobby Gould and Harold Jarman. Paul Trollope and Lennie Lawrence, the current Manager and Director of Football respectively, were also in attendance.
He also presented representatives of our Community Department with a plaque to commemorate them reaching Bronze status for their work in the community.
Bristol Rovers Former Players Association send their condolences to Lord Mawhinney’s family and friends on their sad loss.