Gary Lineker has scored more goals than almost anyone for the England football team, has played for some amazing football clubs, including Everton, Barcelona and Spurs, and has been the face of Match of the Day since 1999. In recent times, he’s been known to take to Twitter to voice his opinions (and to put the boot into professional angry man and vegan hater, Piers Morgan). But the question on everyone’s lips – well, ours anyway – is simple: is Gary Lineker vegan?
Given that Lineker seems like quite a reasonable chap in many ways (based on the people who appear to get offended by his views!), it wouldn’t be a big surprise to find out he follows a plant-based diet. Alas, based on the evidence we can uncover, we believe that Gary Lineker is not a vegan. How do we know? Twitter, of course!
How Do We Know Lineker Isn’t Vegan?
Some people take to Twitter like a duck to water, and it’s fair to say that Lineker has embraced Tweeting (and been embraced by the Twittersphere… he has almost nine million followers!). Another who is a regular on the platform is Piers Morgan, who appears to get off on getting annoyed by things like vegan sausage rolls or razor adverts.
Perhaps jealous that Lineker has more followers than him, Morgan often has snipes at the ex-footballer, often leading to a rather entertaining exchange (like watching two middle-class dads square off in the school playground). It is one such exchange that gives us Exhibit A in our evidence about Lineker not being vegan.
During the exchange in December 2018, the back-and-forth between Morgan and Lineker bounced between Walkers Crisps (Lineker has featured in many of their ads), Brexit and childhood obesity. Lineker then showed himself to be something of a vegan ally by accusing Morgan of mocking and attacking vegans on Twitter, to which Morgan responded: “I mock radical vegans who want the rest of us to stop eating meat, yes. Do you disagree? Or are you a strictly kale-and-crisps health nut?”
Lineker then replied: “As you ask, I love meat, but am trying to cut down as they have a point. The consumption of beef in particular is clearly damaging our planet.” As such, it looks as though he could be termed “vegan-curious”, but it doesn’t look as though he will go the whole hog (for want of a better term). Of course, his awareness of the environmental reasons for veganism was encouraging and he helped publicise this in a similar way to Sir David Attenborough (who also wasn’t fully vegan, last time we checked).
Is There Any Other Evidence to Show Lineker Isn’t Vegan?
In all honesty, Lineker has not really talked much about his diet (he’s much more likely to be discussing football… or the government’s curious immigration policies!). As such, there is little recent evidence to show he is not a vegan or indeed to contradict his previous statement about loving meat. Having said that, in an interview featured in the Mirror newspaper in 2016, Lineker did indeed address his food preferences. When asked “What are your comfort eating guilty pleasures?” Lineker responded:
I’d go Italian for the pasta and Indian restaurants for a good curry. For snacks I still treat myself to chocolate and Walkers crisps obviously. I eat reasonably sensibly, but I could never be a vegan – life’s too short, I don’t want to miss out on the simple pleasures.
Of course, we suspect Lineker is reasonable enough to adapt his “never” stance at some point in the future when the links between the climate crisis and meat farming become irrefutable. Or he realises that animals are, well, animals, not food. But for the moment, as far as we can tell, Lineker is not vegan and has no plans to become purely plant based in his diet or lifestyle.
Who Is Gary Lineker?
Just in case you’ve got this far into the article and you think that Lineker is just another loudmouth on Twitter, we thought it wise to give a few details about what he’s achieved in his life. Apart from being the face of Walkers Crisps (who have plenty of vegan crisps among their flavours, incidentally), and the presenter of Match of the Day and other sporting shows, Gary Lineker was once a very good football player. In fact, he is one of the greatest goalscorers England has ever produced. Let’s take a look at some of his playing stats and achievements:
|Only three men have scored more goals for England: Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney and Bobby Charlton. Lineker won the Golden Boot at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico when he scored six goals (Diego Maradona only got five!).
|Lineker started his career at his boyhood club and helped them gain promotion to the top flight (then the First Division). He scored more than 20 goals in each of his final three seasons for the club.
|His one season at Everton was outstanding from a goalscoring perspective, banging in 30 league goals and 40 in total. His brilliance earned him a move to Catalan giants Barcelona.
|At Barca, Lineker won his first significant silverware when he helped his side land the Copa del Rey and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
|Lineker moved to north London side Tottenham where he won the FA Cup and played alongside another great of his generation, Paul Gascoigne.
|Nagoya Grampus Eight
|Lineker’s playing days were numbered when he moved to Japan to ease down in the J League for Nagoya Grampus Eight. He was no doubt already eyeing up opportunities to get into broadcasting.
Although Lineker didn’t win anything with England, he helped them to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Italy in 1990 and he was close to reaching and surpassing the all-time goalscoring record that was then held by Bobby Charlton. Alas, it wasn’t to be, but his haul of 48 goals for his country still marks a fantastic achievement. He also won a special award from FIFA for managing to go through his entire playing career without collecting a single booking. What a nice guy!
Gary Lineker: Not a Vegan But an Enemy’s Enemy Is a Friend
It would have been nice if Lineker was a vegan, not least because he could prove a useful advocate for the cause given his millions of followers on Twitter (and his propensity to annoy Piers Morgan). But even though he doesn’t follow a strictly plant-based diet, it is good to know that Lineker is at least well aware of the environmental issues associated with meat farming. As such, we wouldn’t be too surprised if the broadcaster and former goalscoring great one day decides to turn to the green side and become a vegan. We’ll keep an eye out and let you know if he does!