Gary Lineker

From Academic Kids

Gary Winston Lineker OBE, (born 30 November, 1960), was a notable English international footballer.

Born in Leicester, he became the foremost English striker of his generation. Lineker's intelligence enabled him to cope better than his contemporaries when playing in continental Europe, as well as to make a smooth transition into a role as pundit and sports broadcaster. He is married and he and his wife Michelle have four sons.

Career in football

He began his career at his hometown club of Leicester City in 1976 and broke into Leicester's first-team squad in 1978. He rose to fame with Everton (1985-86) scoring 40 goals in 42 games, before signing with Barcelona with whom he won the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1989. He returned to England, funded by a sports scholarship from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, to play three seasons at Tottenham Hotspur, scoring 67 goals in 105 games and winning the F.A. Cup, before ending his career with an injury-plagued spell in the J. League with Nagoya Grampus Eight.

He first played for England's national team against Scotland in 1984, winning the Golden Boot at the 1986 FIFA World Cup and reaching the semi-finals in the 1990 FIFA World Cup. He retired from international football with 80 caps and 48 goals, one fewer than Bobby Charlton's England record (though Lineker scored his 48 goals with 26 fewer caps than Charlton took to score his 49).

He was PFA Players' Player of the Year in 1986 and, despite his long career, was never cautioned by a referee for foul play (never once receiving either a yellow or red card; a feat equalled only by a previous England captain - Billy Wright). In addition to his "nice guy" image, it has been suggested that this was because he rarely joined in the defensive duties of a team.


Following retirement he commenced a career in the media, replacing Des Lynam on the BBC's flagship football television programme Match of the Day, and as a team captain on the sports game show They Think It's All Over from 1995 to 2003, where he was heavily ridiculed for being a "goal hanger".

His popularity has enabled him to appear in a light-hearted series of commercials for Walker's crisps, playing a comical role as an arch-villain which sends up his reputation as a nice guy.

In October 2003, Lineker announced a five million pound rescue plan for cash-strapped club Leicester City, describing his involvement as charity rather than an ego trip. Lineker 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.

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 to Liverpool. The jury was, however, 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.

Preceded by:
Neville Southall
Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year
Succeeded by:
Clive Allen
Preceded by:
Peter Reid
PFA Players' Player of the Year
Succeeded by:
Clive Allen
Preceded by:
Gordon Strachan
Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year
Succeeded by:
Chris Waddle

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