Leicester City In 100 Players: Gary Lineker
Leicester-born Lineker, who became a 16-year-old apprentice at City in July 1977, was one of three players who made their Foxes’ debuts on a freezing cold New Year’s Day in 1979 during a Second Division match against Oldham Athletic.
The other two were Bobby Smith, signed from Hibernian and 16-year-old forward Dave Buchanan. By his own admission Gary, positioned on the right wing, did not play well and he was dropped until the final six games of the season - by which time journalists had learnt to spell his name correctly.
From this modest start to his career, Gary went on to become a globally famous striker, playing for Leicester, Everton, Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur and Nagoya Grampus Eight. He also won 80 England caps.
In this stellar career, Gary played more games (216) and scored more goals (103) for Leicester City than for any of his other clubs.
In the season following his debut he made 16 appearances in Jock Wallace’s team which won the old Second Division title, scoring three goals. He played nine more times in the side relegated from the top flight a year later.
After this unexceptional start to his career, Gary then became a regular for his remaining four years at Filbert Street, during which time he established himself as one of the top strikers in the country.
Celebrating scoring in a Division Two match against Sunderland at Filbert Street on 27 October, 1979.
In 1981/82, he scored 19 league and cup goals and also appeared in Leicester City’s FA Cup semi-final side against Tottenham Hotspur.
The next season, his 26 league goals in 39 appearances were a major factor in new manager Gordon Milne’s Foxes’ side gaining promotion back to the top flight.
Gary quickly adjusted to First Division football, scoring 22 goals in the 1983/84 season. At the end of the campaign, he won his first England cap when he made an appearance as a substitute against Scotland in Glasgow.
His prolific goalscoring continued the following season, which was his last at Filbert Street. His 24 goals in 41 league games made hm the First Division’s joint top scorer, along with Chelsea’s Kerry Dixon. He also won a further six England caps, scoring three times.
In his last three seasons as a Leicester City player he developed a marvellous rapport with Alan Smith and Steve Lynex, resulting in the three of them scoring a combined total of over 150 goals between 1982 and 1985.
In June 1985, he signed for league champions Everton for a fee of £800,000 which rose to £1.1M following his transfer from the Toffees to Spanish giants Barcelona a year later.
Peter Shilton & Gary Lineker
Becoming an England great alongside another Leicester City hero, Peter Shilton.
His Everton debut was at Filbert Street in the opening match of the 1985/86 season and his new side was beaten 3-1. He then went on to score 40 goals in 57 games, as Everton finished runners-up in both the league and the FA Cup. His 30 league goals once again made him the country’s leading First Division marksman.
That summer Gary won the Golden Boot at the 1986 FIFA World Cup Finals in Mexico and he was also the Ballon d’Or runner-up.
He moved to Barcelona for £2.8M in July 1986 where he won the European Cup Winners’ Cup and the Spanish Cup. His next move was in 1989 when he signed Tottenham Hotspur, where he won the FA Cup in 1991.
The previous year, he’d scored the equalising goal against West Germany in the 1990 World Cup Semi-Final, which England lost in a penalty shootout.
He retired from international football in 1992, having won 80 caps and netted 48 international goals, only one fewer than Bobby Charlton’s England scoring record at the time.
Winning trophies at the Nou Camp.
In 1992, Gary signed for Nagoya Grampus Eight, linking up again with is old Leicester City manager Gordon Milne. Gary retired as a player in 1994, proud of the fact that he’d never been booked in his whole career.
His connections with Leicester City continued. Three years after becoming the recipient of the OBE in 1992, he became a Freeman of Leicester 1995. That year, he also made his last appearance in a Leicester kit when he played in Gordon Banks’ Testimonial match at Filbert Street.
He was awarded with honorary degrees at both Leicester and Loughborough Universities. In July 2002, Gary officially opened Leicester City’s new stadium on Filbert Way and three months later he backed a consortium to rescue Leicester City from administration, contributing a six-figure fee to aid the Club’s survival.
Gary has also developed a high profile media career, during which he has worked for the BBC, BT, Al Jazeera, NBC Sports and Eredivisie Live. He frequently refers to his support for Leicester City when presenting BBC’s Match of the Day, which has also been a feature of the Leicester-based Walkers Crisps adverts since 1995.
His induction into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2003 was a very appropriate acknowledgement of Gary’s standing in the game, which had its roots in his eight seasons as a Leicester City player.
- Share via Facebook
- Share via Twitter
- Share via Email
- Share via Whatsapp
- Share via Facebook Messenger
คัดลอก URL ลงคลิปบอร์ด
URL copied to clipboard