Former Grimsby Town boss Brian Laws gives his take on Bonetti bust up
BRIAN Laws has finally lifted the lid on ‘that’ run-in with Ivano Bonetti and the moment when “all hell broke loose”.
As reported in yesterday’s Telegraph, the former Grimsby Town boss has waited 16 years to tell his side of one of the club’s most infamous tales.
But now, through his new book, Laws has given Mariners fans his account of the changing room bust-up which hit the national headlines.
Reports at the time suggested the Town manager was so incensed by his side’s defeat at Luton in February 1996 that he launched a plate of chicken wings at Bonetti, leaving the Italian with a fractured cheekbone.
But, talking to the Telegraph, Laws insists the midfielder threw sandwiches and a punch in his direction before the Mariners boss retaliated and hit him back.
He said: “I’ve no idea where the chicken leg or wing part of the story came from! It almost put a bit of humour to it, but we felt it was best to leave things be and put things right later on.
“That incident gets brought up quite a lot and people laugh at it now – and I do as well – but at the time it wasn’t very funny or nice to be involved in.
“It was an incident which unfortunately spilled out into the press and all hell broke loose at the time.”
The former Nottingham Forest defender continued: “It just spiraled out of all proportion – at the time it was so raw and the advice I was taking was to let it die down.
“You end up having a slanging match, if not, and it just wasn’t an appropriate thing to do.
“I’ve not really wanted to talk about it for many years but I just felt it was time to give my side of the story.
“My exploits at Grimsby have always been hidden and this is my chance to put the record straight.
“I’m sure there are a few interested parties, particularly in Grimsby, who would like to know just what did go on in that changing room.”
Laws was appointed as Town’s player-manager in 1994 following Alan Buckley’s departure to West Brom.
And the man who went on to manage Scunthorpe United, Sheffield Wednesday and Premier League Burnley admits his two years at Blundell Park represented a steep learning curve.
“It set me off in management and I’m eternally grateful to the likes of Bill Carr, who gave me huge support, and Peter Furneaux who was chairman when I was appointed,” he added.
“It was a fantastic opportunity for me to move into management and I’ve no regrets whatsoever.
“However, during that period I had to deal with a lot of things that even an experienced manager wouldn’t have to deal with.
“Obviously the Bonetti scenario came out of that – and it was a fast-track to learning football and learning management.”
Find out more about Brian Laws’ time as Grimsby Town boss in his new book ‘Laws of the Jungle’.