Salt & vinegar

Gary Lineker

Gary Winston Lineker, OBE (born 30 November 1960 in Leicester) is a former English international football striker who scored ten goals in two World Cups for the England national team and is currently a sports broadcaster for the BBC.

Since retiring from playing in 1994, Lineker has featured in several television commercials for Walkers Crisps.

Lineker's sense of positioning and tap-ins earned him a reputation as one of England's most prolific strikers of all-time, although this style of play sometimes provoked accusations that he was a "goal hanger" always looking to capitalize on the efforts of others. During his professional career, Lineker is noted for never having been cautioned or sent off by the referee. He studied the Spanish and Japanese languages, which allowed him to adjust better than most of his compatriots when playing for foreign clubs, and also to make a smooth transition into his role as a pundit and sports broadcaster.

Early life

Lineker first attended Linden primary school in Evington and then went to the City of Leicester School on Downing Drive in Evington. He joined Leicester City FC in 1977.

Club career

Leicester City (1977-1985)

Lineker began his career at his home town club of Leicester City when he left school in 1977. Lineker began scoring prolifically in the early 1980s, helping Leicester win promotion to the First Division in 1980 and again in 1983. During his time at Filbert Street he finished twice amongst the top flight's leading scorers and winning his first England call up. He helped Leicester win promotion to the top flight in 1983 and was the First Division's joint top goalscorer in 1984-85 (tied on 24 goals with Kerry Dixon). By this stage, however, he was attracting the attention of bigger clubs, and a move from Filbert Street was looking certain.

Everton (1985-1986)

In the 1985 close season, Lineker was sold to defending league champions Everton for £800,000, and scored 40 goals in 52 games for his new team. He was again the First Division's leading goal scorer, this time with 30 goals, and helped Everton finish second in the league. While he was at Everton, they reached the FA Cup final for the third year in a row but they lost 3-1 to Liverpool, despite Lineker giving them an early lead. Liverpool (double winners) had also pipped Everton to the title by just two points.

Barcelona (1986-1989)

After a strong showing at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, Barcelona signed Lineker for £2,200,000. Barcelona were being managed by former QPR boss Terry Venables, who had also brought in Manchester United and Wales striker Mark Hughes.

His Golden Shoe-winning performance at the finals led to much anticipation of success at the Nou Camp, and he didn't disappoint, scoring 21 goals in 41 games during his first season, including a hat-trick in a 3-2 win over arch rivals Real Madrid.. Barcelona went on to win the Copa del Rey in 1988 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1989. However, Barcelona coach Johan Cruijff decided to play Lineker on the right of the midfield and he eventually lost his place on the first team.

Tottenham Hotspur (1989-1992)

Alex Ferguson of Manchester United attempted to sign Lineker to partner his ex-Barcelona team-mate Mark Hughes in attack, but Lineker spurned the Manchester club. Instead, he signed with Tottenham Hotspur in July 1989. Over three seasons, he scored 67 goals in 105 games and winning the FA Cup at White Hart Lane. He finished as top scorer in the First Division in the 1989–90 season, scoring 24 goals. He was in the Tottenham side that won the FA Cup in 1991 and was the top-division's second-highest goalscorer in 1991-92 with 28 goals from 35 games, behind Ian Wright, who scored 29 times in 42 games. Despite Lineker's personal performance, Tottenham finished this final pre-Premier League season in 15th place.

Nagoya Grampus Eight (1992-1994)

Lineker ended his career with an injury-plagued spell in Japan's J. League with Nagoya Grampus Eight where he made 23 appearances over two seasons, scoring nine times, before announcing his retirement in the autumn of 1994.

During an illustrious career, he had been PFA Players' Player of the Year in 1986 and placed third in voting for the inaugural FIFA World Player of the Year in 1990 - the award ultimately went to Germany's Lothar Matthaus. Despite his long career, Lineker was never cautioned by a referee for foul play (never once receiving a yellow or red card), though he had recieved both penalties during his time as a junior footballer.

National team career

He first played for the England national team against Scotland in 1984. He played five games in the 1986 World Cup, and was top scorer of the tournament with six goals, winning the Golden Boot, making him the first and to this day only English player to have done so. He played most of the tournament wearing a lightweight cast on his forearm.

In 1988, Lineker played in the European Football Championship, but failed to score as England lost all three Group games. It was later established that he had been suffering from hepatitis .

In the 1990 World Cup, he scored four goals to help England reach the semi-finals. He scored an equaliser against West Germany after Andreas Brehme sent England 1-0 down, but the West Germans triumphed in the penalty shoot-out and went on to win the trophy.

He retired from international football with 80 caps and 48 goals, one fewer goal than Bobby Charlton's England record (although Charlton took 26 more caps to score his one extra goal). In what proved to be his last England match, against Sweden at Euro 92, he was controversially substituted by England coach Graham Taylor, in favour of Arsenal striker Alan Smith, ultimately denying Lineker the chance to equal Charlton's record of 49 goals. He had earlier missed a penalty that would have brought him level, in a pre-tournament friendly against Brazil. He was visibily upset at the decision, not looking at Taylor as he took the bench.

He scored four goals in an England match on two occasions.

Honours

International Goals

Scores and results list England's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Result Competition Scored
1 1985-03-26 Wembley Stadium (1923) 2-1 Friendly match 1
2-3 1985-06-16 Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles 5-0 Friendly match 2
4-6 1985-10-16 Wembley Stadium (1923) 5-0 1986 FIFA World Cup qualification 3
7-9 1986-06-11 Estadio Tecnológico, Monterrey 3-0 1986 FIFA World Cup 3
10-11 1986-06-18 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City 3-0 1986 FIFA World Cup 2
12 1986-06-22 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City 1-2 1986 FIFA World Cup 1
13-14 1986-10-15 Wembley Stadium (1923) 3-0 1988 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying 2
15-18 1987-02-18 Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid 4-2 Friendly match 4
19 1987-05-19 Wembley Stadium (1923) 1-1 Friendly match (Rous Cup) 1
20 1987-09-09 Rheinstadion, Düsseldorf 1-3 Friendly match 1
20-23 1987-05-10 Wembley Stadium (1923) 8-0 1988 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying 3
24 1988-05-25 Wembley Stadium (1923) 1-1 Friendly match (Rous Cup) 1
25 1988-11-22 Wembley Stadium (1923) 2-2 Friendly match 1
26 1988-05-28 Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne 1-0 Friendly match 1
27 1989-04-26 Wembley Stadium (1923) 5-0 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification 1
28 1989-06-03 Wembley Stadium (1923) 3-0 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification 1
29 1989-06-07 Parken Stadium, Copenhagen 1-1 Friendly match 1
30 1990-03-26 Wembley Stadium (1923) 1-0 Friendly match 1
31 1990-05-15 Wembley Stadium (1923) 1-0 Friendly match 1
32 1990-06-11 Stadio Sant'Elia, Cagliari 1-1 1990 FIFA World Cup 1
33-34 1990-07-01 Stadio San Paolo, Naples 3-2 1990 FIFA World Cup 2
35 1990-07-04 Stadio delle Alpi, Turin 1-1 (3-4 on pens) 1990 FIFA World Cup 1
36 1990-04-02 Wembley Stadium (1923) 1-0 Friendly match 1
37 1990-10-17 Wembley Stadium (1923) 2-0 1992 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying 1
38-39 1991-02-06 Wembley Stadium (1923) 2-0 Friendly match 2
40 1991-07-26 Wembley Stadium (1923) 2-2 Friendly match (England Challenge Cup) 1
41 1991-06-03 Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland 1-0 Friendly match 1
42-45 1991-06-12 Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur 4-2 Friendly match 4
46 1991-11-13 Stadion Miejski, Poznań 1-1 1992 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying 1
47 1992-02-19 Wembley Stadium (1923) 2-0 Friendly match 1
48 1992-04-29 Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow 2-2 Friendly match 1

Statistics

1978-79 Leicester City Second Division 7 1 - - - 7 1 1979-80 19 3 1 0 - - 20 3 1980-81 First Division 9 2 1 1 - - 10 3 1981-82 Second Division 39 17 5 2 3 0 - 47 19 1982-83 40 26 1 0 2 0 - 43 26 1983-84 First Division 39 22 1 0 1 0 - 41 22 1984-85 41 24 4 3 3 2 - 48 29 1985-86 Everton First Division 41 30 6 5 5 3 - 52 38 1986-87 Barcelona La Liga 41 21 1 1 - 8 0 50 22 1987-88 36 16 5 2 - 9 2 50 20 1988-89 26 6 4 1 - 8 4 38 11 1989-90 Tottenham Hotspur First Division 38 24 1 0 6 2 - 45 26 1990-91 32 15 6 3 5 1 - 43 19 1991-92 35 28 2 0 5 5 8 2 50 35 1993 Nagoya Grampus Eight J. League 6 3 0 0 0 0 - 6 3 1994 17 6 0 0 0 0 - 17 6340 192 28 14 30 13 8 2 406 221103 43 10 4 - 25 6 138 5323 9 0 0 0 0 - 23 9466 244 38 18 30 13 33 8 567 283

Post-playing career

Lineker is a freeman of the City of Leicester (which entitles him to graze his sheep - should he have any - on Town Hall Square) and he is often referred to as "Leicester's favourite son". As a youngster, he famously worked on his family's stall in Leicester Market. Lineker still helped out on the stall at the height of his playing career during the late 1980s and early 1990s, though usually only in the closed season. His links with cricket were renewed when he was invited to become Honorary President of Kent-based wandering cricket club, Paraguayan Elbows CC. The club, which was founded in 1986, was named in his honour after an incident in that summer's World Cup match between England and Paraguay.

In 2003 Lineker was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame. He once remarked "Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win." (England had been defeated by Germany in the semi-finals during the 1990 FIFA World Cup)

In October 2002, Lineker announced a £5 million rescue plan for cash-strapped club Leicester City, describing his involvement as charity rather than an ego trip. He said that he would invest a six-figure sum and other members of his consortium would invest a similar amount. Lineker met the fans' group to persuade them to try and raise money to rescue his former club. Another six-figure sum donor was Emile Heskey, who had not only followed in Lineker's footsteps by going to the same school as him, but also went on to play for Leicester City and England. Lineker is now honorary vice-president of Leicester City, along with Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton, and the north stand of the club's Walkers Stadium is named in his honour.

In 2005, Lineker was sued for defamation by Australian footballer Harry Kewell over comments Lineker had made writing in his column in the Sunday Telegraph about Kewell's transfer from Leeds United to Liverpool. However the jury was unable to reach a verdict. It transpired in the case that the article had actually been ghost-written by a journalist at the Sunday Telegraph following a telephone interview with Lineker.

Personal life

Lineker married Michelle in 1986, but they divorced in August 2006. They announced their split in April 2006. They have four sons, George, Harry, Tobias, and Angus. His oldest son George survived a rare form of leukaemia as a baby in the early 1990s; Gary now supports children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent and has since appeared in adverts encouraging people to give blood as a result. The split is described as "amicable".

He is currently the partner of Danielle Bux (born c. 1979), a mother of one.

Broadcasting

Following retirement from professional football, he developed a career in the media, initially on BBC Radio 5 Live and as a football pundit before replacing Des Lynam as the BBC's anchorman for football coverage, including their flagship football television programme Match of the Day, and as a team captain on the acerbic sports game show, They Think It's All Over from 1995 to 2003, where he was heavily (though affectionately) ridiculed for being a "goal hanger", described as "lethal from twelve inches" -- a parody of Lineker's short-range scoring prowess. Following the departure of Steve Rider from the BBC, Lineker, who is a keen recreational golfer with a handicap of four, became the new presenter for the BBC's golf coverage. However his debut in this role at the The Masters was much derided - one commentator saying that "...keeping him in the anchor's chair would be a major own goal." However he continued to front the BBC's coverage of the Masters and The Open, where he put his language skills to good use by giving an impromptu interview in Spanish with Argentinian Andrés Romero.

He presented a six-part TV Series for the BBC in 1998 (directed by Lloyd Stanton) called "Golden Boots, with other football celebrities. It was an extensive history of the World Cup focusing on the 'Golden Boots' (top scorers).

In 2001, Lineker was approached by game makers Codemasters to front the LMA Manager series on PlayStation. Lineker would pair up with Alan Hansen, fellow MOTD pundit to voice the post match comments on the game, with Barry Davies voicing the commentary. Since then the game has sold millions of copies and in LMA 2006, Lineker voices news items and the cup draws on the game. In 2004 he was also chosen to front the Codemasters England International Football game, with him voicing the team selection and the pre- and post-match menus.

In 2002, Lineker took on his first acting role, barring roles playing himself in films such as Bend It Like Beckham or in the adapted for television stage play An Evening with Gary Lineker, as the voice of Underground Ernie on the BBC's children's channel, CBeebies. Both Gary and Michelle Lineker make a 'blink-and-you'll-miss-them' appearance as diners leaving a restaurant in the 1993 Eric Idle film Splitting Heirs.

Walkers advertisements

His popularity has enabled him to appear in a light-hearted series of commercials for Walkers, playing a comical role as an arch-villain which sends up his reputation as a nice guy. He has been fronting these adverts since 1995, making this one of the longest running advertising campaigns ever. Walkers, a Leicester-based British producer of snack foods, temporarily named their salt & vinegar crisps after Lineker in the late 1990s - they were labelled 'Salt-n-Lineker. This was also due to the fact that his favourite flavour crisps are Salt and Vinegar. '

Charitable activity

Gary Lineker will face questioning by a former England rugby player as part of Cancer Research UK's political Turn the Tables initiative. The event will take place on April 24th at London's Cafe Royal and will allow sporting heroes to question sports journalists. Cancer Research UK hopes to raise over £40,000 for the charity's life-saving work.

Quotations

The following quote is attributed to Gary Lineker: "Football is a simple game: 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win."

Videogames

Software house Gremlin released Gary Lineker's Superstar Soccer in 1987, Gary Lineker's Superskills in 1988, and Gary Lineker's Hot Shot in 1989 for 8-bit platforms

References

Gary Lineker: Strikingly Different, Colin Malam, Stanley Paul Publications, London, 1993 ISBN 0-09-175424-0

External links

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