Gary Lineker fury: MOTD host enraged bosses over onscreen row before BBC pay cut

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Gary Lineker, 59, has agreed to take a 23 percent pay cut, the equivalent of £400,000-per-year, in a new contract with the BBC. Despite this, the former England and Leicester City striker remained at the top of the corporation’s highest paid presenters list. The footballer-turned-sports broadcaster has served as the main presenter on ‘Match of the Day’ for 21 years. But the father-of-four revealed that the show has thrown a number of challenges his way over the decades and led to several clashes with bosses.

Lineker claimed that it was no easy task to front such a prominent and divisive show because viewers have such strong opinions and the hosts are regularly accused of favouritism.

He said: “People get angry over football, it’s unbelievably tribal and I’ve never been able to comprehend it. I’m so used to it now, it really doesn’t bother me. 

“You can criticise your own children all the time but the minute someone else does, you get massively protective.”

The star controversially claimed that instead of there being any bias on the show, the only bias originated from those who watch and criticize the show. 

He recalled one of the show’s biggest gaffes and admitted he was thankful that it came before the rise of social media – where clips can remain online forever. 

It happened when Alan Hansen, former Scotland defender-turned-pundit, seemed to forget he was live on-air and delivered a “stream of gibberish” according to a 2019 Times report.

The blunder arose during a preview for the FA Cup clash between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Rochdale in February 2003. 

Hansen, who retired from the show six years ago, was supposed to talk about the teams battling it out at the Molineux but was distracted – which led Lineker to assume a prank was being played on him. 

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After the unusual reaction Lineker asked “are we on the air?”, only for a furious rant to shortly follow from then-programme editor Paul Armstrong. 

The MOTD boss “screamed in the ears of Lineker and Hansen” and claimed they made the former Scottish international “panic and garble”.

But Linker offered a different take on the events: “Hansen was always a nervous wreck and in an absolute state of panic.

“It could have been so much worse, he could have said anything.”

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