Gary Lineker: ‘I wish I’d punched a referee before I retired’

I had a cheerful, calm upbringing, that maybe explains why I’m equable. My mum was perpetually around, however pappa worked long hours, got up at 4am to travel to the wholesale market, bought fruit, sold it all day in Leicester market, came home to try and do his book work, then fell asleep on the seat. My lasting childhood memory is enjoying soccer within the back garden. My life has perpetually been dominated by sport.


I avoid confrontation in the slightest degree prices. i actually don’t am fond of it. I’m not acquainted with it, and it’s in all probability the one issue in my life that freaks American state out. If there’s a possible flashpoint, I try and get out of true. I don’t wish to upset folks. I hate pain their feelings. however if i would like to argue my case with somebody i actually care concerning, a baby or a partner, I’ll do this.


I like the sensation of being up to speed. I seldom lose my temper. folks enlighten American state, “How are you able to be a player and not be competitive?” however i used to be competitive, and bold, and that i was terribly intended. There’s a distinction between being competitive and having a rage.
I want I’d punched a referee before I retired. As my career developed, this whole “He’s ne’er had a yellow card” issue emerged. I wasn’t a saint. Being in European country for 3 years, wherever the cards begin everywhere the place, it had been a miracle I didn’t get one. folks accustomed joke with me: “Why don’t you only punch the official for a laugh?” that clearly would are very stupid, however it’d are funny in my last game.


Hearing 50,000 folks singing your name is what you play sport for. It definitely appeals to your ego. It’s constant explosion of joy and relief and satisfaction you get as an admirer once your team scores, however increased by 100, as a result of you’re the hero. It works each ways that, of course. you’ve got constant range of individuals screaming, “Gary Lineker, you’re a wanker!”
I don’t like observation myself on TV. If I’m forced to, I perpetually think: “Oh God, you look recent.” i feel most broadcasters can say constant issue and can’t stand staring at themselves. Except Piers Morgan World Health Organization, I think, quite likes it.


Social media has sparked my public politicisation. till Twitter emerged, I ne’er voiced my views. Politics at the instant may be a shambles. It’s divided and it’s social group and it’s depressing, and also the hate between Brexiteers and remainers makes American state feel unhappy. Twitter has fuelled that fireside. I don’t let what the trolls say hassle American state – they’re all talking shit.
It might be uncommon, however i purchase on with each of my ex wives. I had 2 sensible marriages. They’re sensible folks. thus we tend to get on. One is that the mother of my four boys. the opposite is my best mate. I simply suppose it’s far more fully grown up that method. And, as I said, I don’t like confrontation.


Even if I had 800m Twitter followers, I still wouldn’t get entangled in politics. It’s one thing I’ve perpetually been curious about, however I’ve got no interest in going in politics. folks accustomed say, “You’re outspoken concerning Fifa. Why don’t you get entangled within the running of the sport within the soccer Association, or Fifa, or Uefa?” It’s not one thing that excites American state.
I notice preparation cathartic. It’s become a brand new passion over the past years; I cook all the time. i favor the method of going out and obtaining the manufacture, then the getting ready. I notice it peaceful. It helps American state turn off – and gets American state off the phone.
Behind Closed Doors by Gary Lineker and Danny Baker is printed by Century at £20. perish for £17.60 at theguardianbookshop.com