WISE WORDS: Gary Lineker On The Perils Of Public Life, And The Solace Of A Good Meal

Gary is presenting the UEFA Champions' League on BT Sport.

For the latest in our WISE WORDS interview series - where stars from a whole range of fields share the important life lessons they’ve learned along the way - we’re posing some of the big questions to GARY LINEKER.

Since retiring from his stellar career in English football in 1994, Gary has carved out an impressive second career as a sports presenter. His dreams came true last year when his beloved Leicester City overcame huge odds to win the League, a rare feat he celebrated by honouring his word and presenting ‘Match of the Day’ in his undies.

Now presenting the UEFA Champions’ League games for BTSport, Gary found a few minutes to sit down with HuffPostUK and share some Wise Words he’s picked up along the way…

What do you do to switch off from the world?
I’m a real foodie, so I would choose to go to a restaurant, have a meal, a nice glass of wine. If I can combine that with going to the theatre, I’m happy. In London, we’re spoiled for choice. I’m not a musical man, but theatre I enjoy.

<strong>Gary Lineker realises that a few bumps are bound to come along with being in the public eye</strong>
Gary Lineker realises that a few bumps are bound to come along with being in the public eye

How do you deal with any negativity that comes your way?

We all have to deal with it. We all know that it comes with being in the public eye. Some people will always disagree, whatever you say. We live in an outrage society these days, and occasionally an actual debate occurs.
The good thing is, it’s easier now to combat something untrue that’s been said. You can knock it straight down.

When and where are you at your happiest?
On holiday, watching football. I’ve never got sick of it, however long I’ve worked in the game. I’m perfectly aware of how lucky I am. I still genuinely enjoy watching a good game of football, whoever’s playing.

What’s been the best bit of advice you ever received?
It’s probably a bit predictable but it’s basically that, to give yourself the best chance to succeed, you need to give 100% to that thing you choose. And I’ve tried to apply that to everything I’ve set my mind to accomplishing.

What is the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn along the way?
Just generally dealing with times that don’t go well. With my mental attitude, I’ve had to learn not to get too down. I used to take failure very personally, but I’ve tried to put things in perspective. Life is full of ups and downs. Even when my eldest son was very ill as a child, he miraculously recovered, but everyone involved was tougher than I would have realised.

What would you say to your 13-year-old self?
Behave yourself. Relax a bit more. Things are going to be okay.

What three things are at the top of your to-do list?
Go to a music festival; Go to India on holiday; watch a Champions’ League Final in Cardiff.

What do you think happens when we die?
We just don’t exist anymore.

Where have you been when you’ve felt in the presence of something bigger than ourselves?
I find it hard to recognise that. Science is gradually unravelling everything we used to think was miraculous.

What is the quality you most prize in your relationships?

What keeps you grounded?
Reality. My own common sense. You can’t get above yourself.

What the last act of kindness you received?
Kindness is all around me, but the last thing I can think of is my boys coming round for lunch yesterday. They’re all at an age when they’re busy with their own stuff to think about, but they made the effort, and that meant a lot.

‘BT Sport is the only place to watch all four major football competitions in one place, with exclusively live coverage of the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and the Emirates FA Cup.

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