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Gary Lineker
Gary Linekar.jpg
Personal information
Full name Gary Winston Lineker
Date of birth 30 November 1960 (1960-11-30) (age 49)
Place of birth Leicester, England
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
1976–1978 Leicester City
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1978–1985 Leicester City 0194 0(95)
1985–1986 Everton 0041 0(30)
1986–1989 Barcelona 0103 0(42)
1989–1992 Tottenham Hotspur 0105 0(67)
1992–1994 Nagoya Grampus Eight 0023 00(9)
Total 0466 (243)
National team
1984–1992 England 080 0(48)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Gary Winston Lineker OBE (born 30 November 1960) is a retired English international footballer who played as a striker and is currently a sports broadcaster for the BBC and Eredivisie Live. He remains England's top scorer in theFIFA World Cup finals, with 10 goals.

Lineker began his football career at Leicester City and became known as a prolific goalscorer; despite failing to score in his first ten games, he finished as the First Division's joint top goalscorer in 1984-85 and earning his first England cap. He moved to Everton where he remained a clinical finisher, scoring 38 goals in 52 games. His first team honours came at Barcelona where he won the Copa del Rey in 1988 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1989. He returned to England in 1989, joining Tottenham Hotspur, and over three seasons he scored 67 goals in 105 games and won the FA Cup. Lineker's final club was Nagoya Grampus Eight and he retired in 1994 after two seasons at the Japanese side.

Lineker made his England debut in 1984 and over the following eight years earned 80 caps and scored 48 goals, finishing as England's all-time second highest scorer. His international goals-to-games ratio remains one of the best for the country and he is regarded as one of the all-time best English strikers. He was top scorer in the 1986 World Cup and received the Golden Shoe, the only time an Englishman has achieved this feat. He is also the only player to have won the English golden boot with 3 different clubs (Leicester City, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur). During his professional career, Lineker is noted for never having been cautioned or sent off by a referee.

After his retirement from football he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame. He moved in to broadcasting, working at the BBC, firstly working as a pundit on Match of the Day before he went on to present the flagship show. Lineker also worked on other programmes at the BBC. He led a consortium that invested in his old club Leicester, saving it from bankruptcy, and was appointed honorary vice-president. Since 1994, Lineker has featured in several television commercials for Walkers Crisps. He has four sons with his ex-wife Michelle and is now married to model Danielle Lineker.

In 2009, Leicester City fans voted him as the club's greatest ever player in a poll by Sky Sports. He received 37% of votes; more than double that of his closest competitor, legendary goalkeeper Gordon Banks.[1]

Lineker's great-great-grandfather, Hercule Kya-Lineker (1827–1855), was Goan.


Early life

Gary Winston Lineker was born on 30 November 1960 in Leicester to Margaret P. (née Abbs) (born Walsham, Norfolk) and Barry Lineker (both born 1939). Gary has one younger brother, Wayne Lineker who is two years younger than him. Lineker's father, Barry, was a market trader in Leicester and he grew up with his family in the city, playing football with his brother Wayne.[2] Lineker first attended Linden Primary School in Evington, and then went to the City of Leicester Boys' School (later The City of Leicester School) on Downing Drive in Evington. He joined Leicester City 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 38 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 when he outpaced Alan Hansen to score. 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 Camp Nou, 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.[3] Barcelona went on to win the Copa del Rey in 1988 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1989. However, Barcelona coach Johan Cruyff decided to play Lineker on the right of the midfield and he eventually lost his place in 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 Matthäus. Despite his long career, Lineker was never cautioned by a referee for foul play (never once receiving a yellow or red card). As a result of this accomplishment he was honoured in 1990 with the FIFA Fair Play Award.

Club career statistics

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
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
Spain League Copa del Rey Copa de la Liga Europe Total
1986-87 Barcelona La Liga 41 20 1 1 - 8 0 50 21
1987-88 36 16 5 2 - 9 2 50 20
1988-89 26 6 4 1 - 8 4 38 11
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
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
Japan League Emperor's Cup J. League Cup Asia Total
1993 Nagoya Grampus Eight J. League 7 1 0 0 0 0 - 7 1
1994 11 3 0 0 0 0 - 11 3
Total England 340 192 28 14 30 13 8 2 406 221
Spain 103 42 10 4 - 25 6 138 52
Japan 18 4 0 0 0 0 - 18 4
Career Total 461 238 38 18 30 13 33 8 567 282

International 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. He did score for England in the World Cup quarter-final against Argentina, but the game ended in defeat as Diego Maradona scored twice for the opposition (the first goal being the infamous "Hand of God" handball) and England were out of the competition. Lineker also scored a brace against Paraguay in the second round of the tournament. Lineker combined with Peter Beardsley - who also scored - to effortlessly dismantle the South American team's defence.

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.[4][5]

In the 1990 World Cup, he scored four goals to help England reach the semi-finals after a string of draws and narrow victories. After Andreas Brehme sent England 1-0 down, he scored an equaliser after receiving a pass from Paul Parker and faking two German defenders, 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 — or even better — 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 visibly upset at the decision, not looking at Taylor as he took the bench.

He scored four goals in an England match on two occasions and is one of very few players never to have been given a yellow card or a red card in any type of game.[6]

International goals

Scores and results list England's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Result Competition Scored
1 1985-03-26 Wembley Stadium  Republic of Ireland 2-1 Friendly match 1
2-3 1985-06-16 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum  United States 5-0 Friendly match 2
4-6 1985-10-16 Wembley Stadium  Turkey 5-0 1986 FIFA World Cup qualification 3
7-9 1986-06-11 Estadio Tecnológico, Monterrey  Poland 3-0 1986 FIFA World Cup 3
10-11 1986-06-18 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City  Paraguay 3-0 1986 FIFA World Cup 2
12 1986-06-22 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City  Argentina 1-2 1986 FIFA World Cup 1
13-14 1986-10-15 Wembley Stadium  Northern Ireland 3-0 1988 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying 2
15-18 1987-02-18 Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid  Spain 4-2 Friendly match 4
19 1987-05-19 Wembley Stadium  Brazil 1-1 Friendly match (Rous Cup) 1
20 1987-09-09 Rheinstadion, Düsseldorf  West Germany 1-3 Friendly match 1
21-23 1987-05-10 Wembley Stadium  Turkey 8-0 1988 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying 3
24 1988-05-25 Wembley Stadium  Colombia 1-1 Friendly match (Rous Cup) 1
25 1988-11-22 Wembley Stadium  Netherlands 2-2 Friendly match 1
26 1988-05-28 Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne  Switzerland 1-0 Friendly match 1
27 1989-04-26 Wembley Stadium  Albania 5-0 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification 1
28 1989-06-03 Wembley Stadium  Poland 3-0 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification 1
29 1989-06-07 Parken Stadium, Copenhagen  Denmark 1-1 Friendly match 1
30 1990-03-26 Wembley Stadium  Brazil 1-0 Friendly match 1
31 1990-05-15 Wembley Stadium  Denmark 1-0 Friendly match 1
32 1990-06-11 Stadio Sant'Elia, Cagliari  Republic of Ireland 1-1 1990 FIFA World Cup 1
33-34 1990-07-01 Stadio San Paolo, Naples  Cameroon 3-2 1990 FIFA World Cup 2
35 1990-07-04 Stadio delle Alpi, Turin  West Germany 1-1 (3-4 on pens) 1990 FIFA World Cup 1
36 1990-04-02 Wembley Stadium  Hungary 1-0 Friendly match 1
37 1990-10-17 Wembley Stadium  Poland 2-0 1992 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying 1
38-39 1991-02-06 Wembley Stadium  Cameroon 2-0 Friendly match 2
40 1991-07-26 Wembley Stadium  Argentina 2-2 Friendly match (England Challenge Cup) 1
41 1991-06-03 Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland  New Zealand 1-0 Friendly match 1
42-45 1991-06-12 Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur  Malaysia 4-2 Friendly match 4
46 1991-11-13 Stadion Miejski, Poznań  Poland 1-1 1992 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying 1
47 1992-02-19 Wembley Stadium  France 2-0 Friendly match 1
48 1992-04-29 Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow  CIS 2-2 Friendly match 1



Leicester City



Tottenham Hotspur




Media career

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. Despite receiving some criticism from his peers,[2] 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.[7]

He presented a six-part TV Series for the BBC in 1998 (directed by Lloyd Stanton) called Golden Boots,[8] 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 Manager 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.

In 2003 Lineker was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.

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.[9]

In December 2008 Lineker appeared on the ITV1 television programme Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Christmas Special where he and English rugby union player Austin Healey won £50,000 for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation.

In 2009, Lineker and his wife Danielle hosted a series of the BBC's Northern Exposure, following on from Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen from the previous year in visiting and showcasing locations throughout Northern Ireland.[10]

In March 2010, it was widely rumoured that Lineker would be unveiled as the successor host of the BBC's Friday Night with Jonathan Ross programme.

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.[11]. Lineker's involvement with Walkers caused Mark E. Smith, singer with The Fall, to coin the nickname 'Crisp Man' for him.

Video games

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. He later lent his voice to the LMA Manager series.

Personal life

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.[12] 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.

Lineker married Michelle Cockayne in 1986, but they divorced in August 2006. They announced their split in April 2006 but stated that the situation was amicable.[13] 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;[2] Gary now supports children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent and has since appeared in adverts encouraging people to give blood as a result. Lineker has been actively involved with other cancer charities such as Fight for Life and Cancer Research UK.[14][15]

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.[16] 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.

Gary married Danielle Lineker (née Bux, born 15 June 1979) on 2 September 2009, in Italy. The ceremony was attended by friends and family. They went on to win £30,000 for charity in ITV's gameshow Mr. and Mrs.


A famous quote from Gary Lineker is: "Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win." [17]


  1. ^ - All-Time Greats: Leicester City
  2. ^ a b c Ferguson, Euan (2007-04-08). "He's still the golden shot". The Observer. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  3. ^ "Gary Lineker". Talk Football. Retrieved 2008-03-09. 
  4. ^ C Malam, p100
  5. ^ The first was against Spain 18 February 1987 and the second time against Malaysia 12 June 1991
  6. ^ Malam, p140&141
  7. ^ "'''Simon Parke''': A sporting chance for unity". Church Times. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  8. ^ "Golden Boots" (1998)
  9. ^ "Lineker and Kewell settle libel case out of court". The Guardian. 2006-07-04.,1563,1520864,00.html. Retrieved 2006-11-13. 
  10. ^ Gary and Danielle's Northern Exposure at
  11. ^ Lineker forced to take crisp break Daily Mail
  12. ^ "The story behind the Paraguayan Elbows CC". Retrieved 2006-11-13. 
  13. ^ "Gary Lineker and wife to separate". BBC News. 2006-04-30. Retrieved 2006-11-13. 
  14. ^ "Fight for Life Appeal 2008". Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  15. ^ "Gary Lineker to face questioning for Cancer Research UK charity fundraiser", Charities Aid Foundation, 2008-03-03. Retrieved on 2008-03-04.
  16. ^ "Lineker unveils Leicester rescue bid BBC Sport October 2002". BBC News. 2002-10-23. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  17. ^ "Gary Lineker England Caps Profle". England Caps (UK). Retrieved 2010-03-08. 

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

External links

Preceded by
Paolo Rossi
FIFA World Cup Golden Shoe
Succeeded by
Salvatore Schillaci

Simple English

Gary Lineker
Personal information
Full name Gary Winston Lineker
Date of birth 30 November 1960 (1960-11-30) (age 50)
Place of birth    Leicester, England
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 9+12 in)
Playing position Striker (retired)
Youth clubs
1976-1978 Leicester City
Senior clubs
Years Club
Leicester City
Tottenham Hotspur
Nagoya Grampus Eight
National team
1984-1992 England

Gary Lineker (born 30 November 1960) is a former English football player. He played for Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur. He also scored 48 goals for the England national team. He is now on television on the BBC on Match of the Day.

Club career statistics

Club Performance League CupLeague CupContinentalTotal
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals AppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
EnglandLeague FA Cup Football League Cup EuropeTotal
1978/79Leicester CitySecond Division710000-71
1980/81First Division921100-103
1981/82Second Division39175230-4719
1983/84First Division39221010-4122
1985/86EvertonFirst Division41306553-5238
SpainLeague Copa del Rey Copa de la Liga EuropeTotal
1986/87BarcelonaLa Liga412111-805022
EnglandLeague FA Cup Football League Cup EuropeTotal
1989/90Tottenham HotspurFirst Division38241062-4526
JapanLeague Emperor's Cup J. League Cup AsiaTotal
1993Nagoya Grampus EightJ. League 1710000-71
CountryEngland 3401922814301382406221
Spain 10343104-25613853
Japan 1830000-183
Total 46123838183013338562277

International career statistics


England national team



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