NOT AS GOOD AS GARY: Paul Kennedy (left) and so-called footballing experts on television in the Caribbean. Photo courtesy of Cayman 27
I used to fancy myself as the Gary Lineker of the Caribbean. The similarities were uncanny.
We both hosted a television show analysing the weekend’s Premier League football games, and we both had grey hair.
Granted, I never played football at a professional level, and Gary was, and is, far more easy on the eye than me, but essentially we both did the same sort of thing.
My so called ‘expert’ pundits were picked from a bunch of mates who liked football and were not quite of the caliber of Ian Wright and Alan Shearer (sorry lads, but it’s true!).
Although that said, we did once have a former Crystal Palace player on the show who was visiting the Cayman Islands on holiday and we also featured an interview with Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt, but really and truly I was never in the same league as Gary.
One thing I did do was keep my mouth shut away from the camera.
It wasn’t that I had nothing to say, or didn’t have any strong opinions on certain topics, I just knew that I wasn’t important enough for anyone to listen or indeed, care.
Lineker on the other hand has been quite vocal on his social media page.
The ex-England footballer, 62, sparked mutinous chaos at the BBC last week when he was asked to step back from presenting Match of the Day after backlash over a tweet comparing the UK’s Government's migrant crackdown to Nazi Germany.
The move didn’t go down well to say the least, and after discussions, apologies and rule changes in regards to social media, Gary will return to host Match of the Day.
I, for one, think this is the right decision. Gary Lineker IS Match of the Day.
Now I know the one-off episode during his hiatus was viewed by 500,000 more people than the previous week, but that’s no different to slowing down to see a car crash. People tuned in to see how bad it would be, and they were not left feeling disappointed.
The BBC is reviewing their social media rules as to what its presenters can, and can’t say, and that’s fair enough.
But really as long as it’s not homophobic, racist or downright offensive, surely they can voice their opinions on any range of topics, if they are making a valid point.
Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United striker, has spoken out often about lack of free school meals for children and homeless problems, and he received an honour from the Royal family.
Footballers, past and present, as well as other sports stars, sure do carry a lot of weight. NFL star Colin Kaepernick is a case in point.
I doubt Lineker will change his ways, and I expect more comments from him in the near future. The back-tracking of his bosses has proved he cannot, and will not, be gagged.
His position as one of the highest paid presenters on TV has been strengthened greatly. VNS