Let me preface this by saying I have every right to be bitter and grumpy.
The World Cup is over, football didn’t come home and the start of the Premier League feels about 8 years away.
We’re only half a week into this horrendous football purgatory and without referees or opposition players to vent my frustration upon; I need a metaphorical punch bag. And who better to fill the role than the face of the British football media? The host with the most, Mr Witty McBigEars: Gary Bloody Lineker.
Full disclosure: Lineker is an excellent presenter. He is impressively knowledgeable on topics both in and out of the game and makes hosting Match of the Day seem as effortless as an Everton pre-season friendly. But there lies my first gripe. Do you really have to be so good Gary?
You played up front for England; you literally had the best job in the world. You can’t go from that to presenting the show every sports journalist dreams of fronting – it’s just greedy.
If it were just jealousy that caused my resentment, I could control it. I could quietly begrudge Lineker as he smoothly spoon-feeds statistics into Martin Keown’s gaping pie hole whilst simultaneously wrapping up the show with a naff pun. But there are so many more layers to this: his reckless overuse of the word ‘extraordinary’, his apparent love of Leicester City (which he kept very quiet when they were mid-table in League One), the fact he seems to think he is the only person in the world who thinks Lionel Messi is quite good.
The most pressing gripe – the irritant that furrows my brow deeper than a Diego Simeone defensive line, is his poorly disguised narcissism. And when I say poor, I mean REALLY poor.
Lineker wants all the attention in the world, but he doesn’t want you to know that. He wants you to marvel at his brilliance, whilst taking note of the self-deprecating joke he made about the size of his nose or the fact he shat on a pitch once.
“Did I mention I’ve won a golden boot? Oh but GEE WHIZZ I had a silly haircut back then!”
Can’t recall ever mentioning it ? https://t.co/zEYrMRTvyh
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 15, 2018
“God I’m an old fogie…even if I am in good shape for my age.”
Enough of this World Cup trivia now. Time to move on. https://t.co/baXfvsL26P
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 17, 2018
The reason for my bitterness could not be summed up better than in this 10-second clip.
It is humble bragging of an elite standard. I can almost visualise the conversation with the producer off-air:
“Oh God, you’re not going to show that clip of me celebrating are you?”
“Wasn’t planning to.”
“OH FINE IF YOU MUST…God this is going to be so embarrassing.”
My bitterness has reached such high levels that I can’t even watch Match of the Day without getting the hump. Watching football – the most sacred gift of life – has become tarnished by a well-groomed crisp salesman.
Please Gary, step away. Go and run for President or become the lead singer of a rock band – if not for me, then for Dan Walker and Mark Chapman. I can’t stomach your excessive hand gestures, I can’t handle you smugly putting your glasses on every time the rules for handball need to be clarified and I certainly can’t take another humble brag.
We know you’re brilliant, but not as much as you do.