Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer showed his support for Gary Lineker after the Match of the Day host was suspended by the BBC and he has never forgotten it
Gary Lineker has revealed that Alan Shearer moved him to tears after the Newcastle United legend supported his Match of the Day colleague by boycotting the programme.
Shearer was among those who showed solidarity with Lineker in a mass walkout after the host was suspended by BBC back in March for criticising the government’s asylum policy on small boats. Lineker had taken to Twitter to call Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s presentation of her ‘stop the boats’ bill ‘beyond awful’ and said some of the language was ‘not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the ’30s’.
The BBC considered the comment to be a breach of the corporation’s impartiality guidelines and told Lineker to ‘step back’ from presenting Match of the Day until there was an ‘agreed and clear position on his use of social media’. The move was widely condemned and pundits Ian Wright and Shearer were the first to withdraw from their scheduled appearance on the programme in protest.
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“It started with Ian Wright pulling out,” Lineker told the Guardian. “Then 20 minutes later Alan Shearer did the same – it might have been slightly harder for him – and it was, ‘Wow, wow’.
“We have a WhatsApp group and I’d said, ‘I’ve got a feeling they might take me off Match of the Day because I’m not shifting.’ I’d been asked to make a statement, but insisted I didn’t think I had anything to apologise for. I still think that.
“Wrighty said, ‘If they do, there’s no way I’m doing the show.’ I know he has strong convictions but when he actually tweeted it, I was like: ‘Pfff.’ Then Alan did it. I cried. I genuinely cried. I was in the back of a taxi in tears, moved. I was very emotional.”
The BBC ultimately broadcast a joyless 20-minute version of Match of the Day with no pundits, commentary or studio footage. Lineker was reinstated just a couple of days later.