Let me just start by saying that Gary Lineker was an idol to me as a boy. The guy was a superb finisher, scored a bucketload of goals wherever he went, and is a fine example to any younger players with aspirations of being a goal poacher. Being a centre-foward myself, an Englishman, and a Tottenham Hotspur fan, who can blame me for idolising him.
That being said, Lineker is the original sell-out of my generation, no doubt. To start with, and despite having at least a couple of years in the top flight left in him, he left Spurs for the Japanese J league. That was bad enough. Whilst I understand that Japanese football has boomed in the last 10 years or so, back when Gary joined it was a bit like Hugh Grant’s movies – suprisingly popular, but somewhat lacking in quality.
Lineker was offered a boatload of cash though, which is what eventually twisted his arm, and is the first reason why he is appearing in the ‘Selling Out’ series. The second reason? Two words… Walkers adverts.
Lineker has absolutely raked it in by advertising bags of crisps and, whilst there’s no particular harm in that (unless you’re Carlos Valderamma), one can see how much he wants the money when you consider what Walkers have made him do to earn his corn (sorry).
Whether he’s asked to be dragged through mud, pretend to be Satan, constantly have his ears made fun of, or dress up as a red-neck popstar, he’s happy to oblige and run straight to the bank.
Is he a sell out? Look at the following picture and decide for yourself. I don’t think you’ll disagree.