Born: 30 November 1960 (Leicester, England)
Appearances: 138. Goals: 80.
FA Cup winner 1991
Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year, 1991/92
One of the greatest goalscorers the game has seen and third in England’s all-time international list, Gary Lineker was an instinctive forward, lethal in and around the box. As a Spur, he had a stunning strike rate, hitting the net at a rate of better than a goal every other game.
Making his name at his local club Leicester City, Lineker spent seven years at Filbert Street firing home over a century of goals and playing over 200 games for the Foxes.
He moved onto Everton in 1985 and hit the target 40 times during the 1985/86 campaign, including a goal in the all-Merseyside FA Cup Final (won by Liverpool). He was named both the PFA and FWA Player of the Year. In the post season, he headed to the World Cup finals with England and lifted the Golden Boot at the tournament, helping his nation to the quarter-finals. His performances in Mexico sparked the interests of Spanish giants Barcelona and triggered a move to the European mainland.
Signed by Terry Venables, and later playing under the tactical genius of Johann Cruyff, the forward continued to grow as a player at the Catalan club and he opened his silverware collection there as well, picking up winners’ medals in the Spanish Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup while at Camp Nou.
After three years in the Spanish sun however, he decided to hook up again with Venables, this time at White Hart Lane. Immediately creating a productive partnership with the creative talent of Paul Gascoigne, Gary flourished in his first campaign with us and went on to score 24 goals, finishing as the First Division’s top scorer for the 1989/90 season - the third time he had picked up the award having also achieved it while with Leicester and Everton. He finished each of his three seasons with us as the Club’s top scorer.
Having starred alongside Gazza in England’s run to the World Cup semi-finals in Italy, the pair went about bringing silverware back to Spurs, and did so in spectacular style. Gazza was the inspiration behind the run and Lineker scored twice in our famous 3-1 win against double-chasing Arsenal in the first semi-fjnal at Wembley.
The final looked to be going against Gary, Gazza and the team. Gazza suffered a serious knee injury just 10 minutes in while Gary had a goal ruled out for offside and missed a penalty in the first half as Forest forged ahead. However, we turned it around via Paul Stewart and Des Walker’s own goal to lift the trophy for the first time since 1982 – Lineker’s first trophy in English football.
The following year, he found the net a further 28 times in just 35 games for us, with his last goal coming in his final appearance for the Club - a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford - before he moved onto pastures new with a different challenge as he joined J-League side Japanese Grampus Eight.
Gary retired in 1994, and began work in the media and remains a familiar face to millions of football fans as presenter of Match of the Day and host of BT Sport's Champions League coverage.