I have never been much of a fan of Gary Lineker, the perma tanned host of Match of the Day and the nation’s highest paid crisp salesman
Although he is one of the most natural goalscorers that we have ever produced I wasn’t that excited by him on the field play and the fact he didn’t receive so much as a yellow card always seemed a little odd to me.
But he was hero to millions and since ditching the jockstrap he has stayed firmly in the limelight thanks to his role as handler of huge personalities such as Alan Shearer and Jermaine Jenas.
He is a competent, inoffensive anchor who occasionally comes up with the odd killer line but I am with those who believe his ever-so-slightly-self satisfied style sums up all that is wrong with the modern game of football.
It also seemed I was in a minority of television viewers who didn’t manage so much as chortle when he followed through on his promise to present the programme in his smalls after his beloved Leicester City defied all expectations and won the Premier League.
But over the last few days I have changed my opinion of the fella because he has made great use of his huge following on social media - he has 5.3 million Twitter followers, which is nearly three times the circulation of the biggest selling national newspaper.
Although he does occasionally pass comment on world events, Lineker largely sticks to The Beautiful Game but he found himself at the centre of a storm when he dared to wade into an unsavoury debate about child refugees who were allowed to enter these shores as part of an agreement by our Government.
He faced calls to be sacked by the BBC because he tweeted that those who questioned the ages of some of those pictured entering the UK were “hideously racist” and retweeted an assertion that one of the men was in fact an interpreter.
This claim was later proved to be untrue but Lineker was right with his initial point that regardless of how old the refugees appeared to be (and some did look like they were in their 20s and even 30s) they deserve more than our sneers.
Like Lineker appears to be, I am one of those irksome citizens of the world who annoy our new Prime Minister so much, and I am of the view that if you have risked your life to travel thousands of miles across land and sea to escape a hell hole then you deserve a break.
The standard argument from those who get so hot under the collar about refugees is that we don’t know who they are and what threat they pose, forgetting the fact that many of those who have committed or plotted acts of terror have been born here.
They brand those of us who stand up for these displaced souls as bleeding heart liberals with The Sun branding Lineker a “jug eared Leftie’ as if Left wingers are the only people capable of giving a monkey’s about fellow human beings.
We can’t blame Brexit for this unforgiving attitude towards those who seek a better life because that sentiment was strong among many long before June 23 but Britain does now seem to be unkinder than it was four months ago.
It is a shame that a retired footballer is the one to lead the fightback.
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