Nice guy Lineker
Gary Winston Lineker OBE, 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 a pundit and sports broadcaster.
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”.
He began his career in 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 FA 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. 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 let alone a red card.
He acquired a Mr “nice guy” image.
Following retirement, he developed a career in the media, initially as a pundit before 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.
Clubs: Everton (1985-86), Barcelona
Date of Birth: 30 November, 1960
Place: Leicester, England
Awards: Golden Boot, 1986 FIFA World Cup, PFA Players’ Player of the Year, 1986