Gary Lineker

by Bernard Frei on March 06, 2019

Gary Winston Lineker OBE, was born on November 30th 1960 and his shared birthday with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill helped his parents to decide on their son’s middle-name. He holds notable records, including the highest number of career goals - ten - scored by an England player in FIFA World Cup finals.

Lineker’s joined the academy of his home club, Leicester City in 1976, signed professional forms at the start of season 1978-79 and made his debut on new year’s day 1979, finishing the season with a Second Division title medal. Lineker became an established part of the Leicester side in 1981–82, in which he scored nineteen goals in all competitions. The club were promoted to the First Division the following season, in which Lineker scored a total of twenty six.

His first full season in the First Division came in 1983-84, when Lineker finished on twenty two goals and the following season, he was joint-top scorer with twenty four - thirty in forty League and Cup games - leading to his transfer to Champions Everton for £800,000 at the end of 1984-85.

A spectacular season - 1985-86 - followed, as Lineker scored forty goals in fifty seven games, including leading the First Division with thirty goals, as Everton finished runners-up, reached the FA Cup Final for the third consecutive season and Lineker finished the 1986 World Cup Finals in Mexico as winner of The Golden Boot. He described the Everton team of which he was a part as the best club side he ever played in.

A move to Terry Venables’ Barcelona for £2.8m followed after the tournament, where Lineker was eligible to play European-competition club football following the ban of English clubs, post-Heysel.

Lineker scored twenty one goals in forty one games during his first season, including a hat-trick in the 3–2 win over Real Madrid. Barcelona won the Copa del Rey in 1988 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1989. His forty two goals in a hundred and three La Liga appearances made Lineker the highest scoring British player in La Liga history at the time. Johan Cruyff’s replacement of Terry Venables as manager at the club catalysed Lineker’s departure. At the end of season 1988-89 he moved to Tottenham Hotspur for £1.1m, finished as top scorer in the First Division in the 1989–90 season, scoring twenty four, and won the FA Cup with the club in 1991.

Lineker ended the following season with twenty eight goals in thirty five League games and joined Nagoya Grampus Eight in the Japanese J1 League in 1991-92, where he suffered regular injuries over two seasons, scoring nine in twenty three appearances. He finished his playing career in September 1994.

Lineker’s England debut in 1984 against Scotland marked the first of 80 international caps and forty eight goals. Six goals in five games in the 1986 World Cup Finals resulted in him winning the Golden Boot, the first English player to do so. His goal in the Quarter-Final against Argentina was cancelled out by Diego Maradona’s two.

In the 1990 World Cup Finals, Linker’s four goals helped take England to the semi-finals, where Sir Bobby Robson’s team were defeated by West Germany on penalties. His last England cap came against Sweden in Euro 92.

Lineker’s record of never receiving a yellow- or red card is publicized and it was recognized in 1990 when he was awarded the FIFA Fair Play Award. 330 goals in 567 competitive games goals, including 282 goals at club level, over a sixteen-year career, was his career return.

His life, post-playing career, has been ever-busy, including his support for Leicester City, which had gone into administration and in whom he invested, with other members of a consortium, to rescue it from bankruptcy. The Freeman of Leicester was elected honorary Vice President of Leicester City F.C. Lineker's media career began with the BBC, initially with Radio 5 Live, and subsequently Match of the Day, in the late 1990s. Al Jazeera Sports, Eredivisie Live, NBC Sports Network and BT Sport's coverage of the UEFA Champions League have followed. Also ‘They Think it’s All Over’, the BBC’s coverage of the Masters and The Open, ‘Grandstand’ and less-factual media including the 1991 play, ‘An Evening with Gary Lineker’, adapted for television in 1994, and the film, ‘Bend it like Beckham’. Children’s TV and regular media appearances, many connected with his involvement in raising funds for leukemia, cancer research and spinal injuries, have followed.

As another true original, Lineker will be remembered as much for his off-field activities as his performances on them, and was true to his word in December 2015 that, if Leicester City won the Premier League at the end of that season, he would present Match of the Day in his underpants only, which he did the following season.

His presence in advertisements for the Walkers Crisps brand is also as memorable in the memories of as many members of the public as his brilliance as a footballer.

Capture a piece of Gary Lineker's legacy with this iconic signed jersey from VintageSports.com

LEAVE A COMMENT

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published


BACK TO TOP