Gary Lineker ‘cried’ after public support from Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, son reveals
By Charlie Herbert
His son George said his dad had been ‘overwhelmed’ by the support from his colleagues.
Gary Lineker was ’emotional’ after his colleagues Ian Wright and Alan Shearer pulled out of Match of the Day in a show of support for the host, his son has revealed.
Lineker was asked to step down from his role as host of the football highlights show after the corporation took issue with a tweet he published about migrant workers, and comparing the current government policy to that of Germany’s in the 1930s.
After he refused to make an apologetic statement on the show regarding his comments, the BBC made the decision to leave him off the show.
Following the announcement, a slew of Match of the Day pundits and football journalists across the BBC pulled out of their duties on Saturday.
As a result, both Match of the Day and Football Focus didn’t air on Saturday, whilst football coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live was severely disrupted.
His son, George, has now given an interviewing in which he said his dad had been “overwhelmed” by the support he received from his colleagues.
George also said that the sports presenter would return to Match Of The Day, but that he would not “back down on his word.”
In conversation with The Sunday Mirror, the former England player’s eldest said: “This week has been very overwhelming, and I do think it has been hurtful for Dad. But all the support he has received has made him feel a lot better and I know he has no regrets.”
George, 31, said his dad put on a brave face after he initially found out he had been asked to “stand down”, and he texted him, receiving a thumbs up emoji reply from his dad.
But he claims his dad got emotional when he learned that his fellow TV stars and pundits, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, were also standing down from their BBC roles in solidarity.
George explained: “After it all kicked off, me and my brothers messaged him saying, ‘We’re proud of you’, and he replied, ‘Cheers boys’, with a thumbs up emoji.
“Later he told us that he’d been so overwhelmed by the support. He wrote, ‘Shearer and Wrighty backing down made me emotional, it means a lot to me.’
“I think he did cry when he found out about that. The support has been a positive thing to come out of this.”
He assured he’s in constant contact with his dad: “I’ve been messaging him today, just saying, ‘How are you doing Dad, how are you holding up?’, And he replied, ‘All good.'”
Ian Wright has since doubled down on his support for Lineker, saying he will permanently quit MOTD if the former Leicester and Spurs striker is not reinstated to his role hosting the show.
Meanwhile, MOTD recorded its highest viewing figures since November 5, 2022
Match Of The Day was watched by nearly half a million more people on Saturday night – despite there being no host or pundits amid the ongoing Gary Lineker dispute.
Viewing figures were up to 2.58million from last Saturday’s figure of 2.09million, according to BARB overnights.
It is the BBC programme’s largest audience since November 5 2022, which 2.63million people watched Match Of The Day.