Left of Centre Forward.
As a centre forward, he had few or no peers. His England goals per game ratio was one of the best and he is also the only player to have been the top scorer in England with three clubs: Leicester City, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur. Incredibly, he was never once booked during his 16-year career.
As a presenter on Match of The Day, he earns in a year what many people struggle to earn in a lifetime. For that, he is expected to refrain from political comments to perpetuate the argument that the BBC is impartial. As anyone who follows Gary Lineker’s Twitter account will know, he is far from that impartial ideal. One might argue that so is the BBC, but that is a debate for another day.
So here is where the waters get murky. Yesterday, the highly paid presenter launched a tirade against the new migrant bill, comparing the rhetoric used to that of Germany in the 1930s. The BBC have said that Lineker will be " spoken to" about this. Will this be a nice chat over a cup of coffee?
He is paid £1million or so of our money, forcibly extracted from citizens for the privilege of being able to watch even the BBCs competitors. He has also been asked/told loads of times not to be involved in politics. It is pretty clear by now that he has no intention of developing a shyness in expressing his views.
I have to declare that I disagree with pretty much everything that both Lineker and Gary “Red Nev” Neville spout when they stop talking about football, but there should be no doubt that they have as much right to free speech as the rest of us.
If there is no binding clause requiring political neutrality, the BBC should pipe down. IF and it’s a big if, there is a legally binding clause in his contract which says he must steer clear of political comment, then the BBC should terminate his contract.
Because unless they do, the man in the street will continues to believe that the reason the BBC won't sack Gary Lineker, even though he consistently breaches supposed impartiality guidelines, is quite simple.
They agree with him.
Martin Day – Party Secretary