Gary Lineker arrives to watch boyhood club Leicester play Chelsea after BBC pull him off Match of the Day
GARY Lineker has arrived to watch his boyhood club Leicester play Chelsea after the BBC pulled him off Match of the Day.
Lineker, 62, was axed from the show after he compared the Government’s language around its small boats crackdown to that of 1930s Germany.
PAGary Lineker arriving ahead of the Premier League match at the King Power Stadium[/caption]
Ian Wright and Alan Shearer have walked out in ‘solidarity’ with Lineker
His fellow presenters are refusing to appear on air in solidarity today – meaning Match of the Day is being forced to go ahead without presenters, pundits or commentators.
But Lineker looked cool, calm and collected as he arrived at the King Power Stadium roughly an hour before the Foxes’ Premier League clash.
Yesterday he was ordered to issue a “humiliating apology” by execs or face being “rested” from Match of the Day.
A source said: “This has been a tumultuous 24 hours. Gary is in shock and had no idea this was coming. He wanted to go on air, make no bones about it, this was not his decision.
“Privately, everyone at the Beeb is in meltdown too. They genuinely don’t know how they will get a show out because no one wants to touch it.
“Everyone in the industry is appalled at how Gary has been hung out to dry, and the general BBC inconsistency.
“Gary wept when he found out his mates had all publicly backed him.
“The support has been overwhelming which, essentially, is a massive pie in the face for the BBC.
“Gary wasn’t willing to pretend to support something he vehemently doesn’t agree with.
“He doesn’t need the cash and, frankly, it seems hard to imagine a way back for either party from here.”
The ex-striker had compared language around the Government’s small boats crackdown to that used by Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
The BBC initially said Lineker would be spoken to, then appeared to take no action against him.
That triggered a backlash from Tory MPs furious about a perceived breach of BBC impartiality rules.
Yesterday afternoon, the BBC issued its botched statement stating Lineker had stepped back from presenting MoTD.
The BBC was left scrambling to find a panel for the show, as other stars ruled themselves out.
Pal Wright then tweeted that he will step away, saying: “Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity.”
Shearer soon followed, saying: “I have informed the BBC I wont be appearing on MoTD.”
And Football Focus host Alex Scott appeared to rule herself out, posting a meme which read “Nah, not me”.
And pundit Richards backed the boycotters – saying he’d do the same if he was asked to host.
Mark Chapman – who presents Match of the Day 2 on Sunday – also said he would not stand in.
Lineker smiles leaving his home in London this morning