MARK Lawn will freely admit he is a Marmite character.

Some City fans love the joint-chairman; others think he should pipe down a bit.

But there is no denying his passion for the team he has followed for half a century.

Lawn tells it to you straight – not something you could say about every football club owner.

I'm sure some around the country would rather not speak to the supporters/customers at all; others will only do so through the blandest of press releases.

Lawn, on the other hand, is happy to say it exactly how he sees it, even if he might send the feathers flying from time to time.

You would think such a strong character would be his own boss and never take orders from anyone.

But he knew his place at home.

I won't pretend to have known Yvonne Lawn particularly well. We probably met on a dozen occasions at most.

But just from those, it was abundantly clear who ruled the roost in the family household. If you thought Mark was a big presence, you didn't know Yvonne.

The first time I encountered her was at a barbecue when she suddenly plonked herself down next to the missus.

"I hope you don't mind me joining you," she announced with no hint of a stage whisper. "But I had to get away from that dreadful woman over there – she hasn't stopped talking and it's driving me mad."

The lady in question must have been all of four feet away at the next table.

But three and a half years ago, Yvonne was diagnosed with bowel cancer. She passed away in the early hours of Monday morning at the age of 53.

Yvonne, a mother of five and grandmother of five, kept fighting to the very end.

A few weeks ago, a party was held to celebrate her life, with Yvonne present so she could be surrounded by friends and family one last time – a "fake wake" as they called it.

News of her death put football into perspective. Suddenly squabbles about not signing this or that player on transfer deadline day seemed pifflingly insignificant.

Cancer respects no boundaries; we all know someone who has been hit by this horrible disease.

Money or high position are no barrier and many will appreciate the pain that Mark and his family are going through right now.

It has hit everyone around Valley Parade who knew how much Yvonne was suffering.

"We realise the battle she's had over the last few years and it can't have been very pleasant for her or Mark and the family," said assistant manager Steve Parkin. "It's very sad news."

Despite her illness, Yvonne was at Wembley on a bitterly cold February afternoon to see City in the Capital One Cup final and then a few months later to win promotion.

As her condition deteriorated, she still wanted to go to Stamford Bridge for last year's humbling of Chelsea.

It ranks as one of the biggest shocks in FA Cup history but Lawn admitted in a newspaper interview at the time that they could not go out and party afterwards.

"It was all too much for her," he said. "I had to take her back to the hotel room, so my celebrations were a room service beef burger and a bottle of Corona while I watched Match of the Day."

Yvonne's funeral takes place at Bradford Cathedral next Friday lunchtime. She left the request that nobody should wear black.

You can be sure the turn-out will be large to match the personality of the woman they will be saying goodbye to.

We wait to see whether there will be any kind of memorial at the next home game a week on Tuesday. That will be down to Mark Lawn.

Whatever your opinion on the man who shares control of the football club, Lawn and his family deserve our sympathy at this very testing time.