Lineker: No desire to join board

Gary Lineker today revealed he had no intention of becoming a Leicester director as he wants to retain his popularity with the club’s supporters.

Gary Lineker today revealed he had no intention of becoming a Leicester director as he wants to retain his popularity with the club’s supporters.

The former England striker is spearheading a consortium which is planning to take over his hometown club.

But that is as far as his ambition lies.

“Being a director is not something I fancy doing. I am pretty popular here and the memories are quite good,” he said today.

“As soon as you turn into a director everyone hates you. I have no ambitions to be on the board. However I will be happy to give advice if need be.”

Lineker is fronting a group of 11 people, including club chairman Malcolm George, plc chairman Greg Clarke, Jon Holmes – the business manager of sports management company SFX – and David Ross, the chief operating officer of the Carphone Warehouse.

The group have currently raised £1.7m (€2.7m) towards their initial target of £5m (€7.9m).

Lineker, who played for the club between 1978 and 1985, has pledged a six-figure sum, believed to be around £100,000 (€158,516), should the takeover bid be successful.

The BBC presenter said the cash raised by the consortium should be seen more as a gift and he is not expecting any return.

“I along with lots of others are making a donation – it’s not an investment - to try and ensure Leicester’s survival,” he said.

“We have been pretty up front about it and we don’t think this is a great investment. We have never said that.

“Hopefully in time if the club is run properly, it will become stable.

“There is a lot of goodwill. We’ve got a number of good people who want to put some money in. The more we can get, the better the long-term future will be.

“I just want to raise awareness and get this consortium going so I have somewhere to come and watch my team with my kids.”

“In hindsight you would do things differently,” he said. “If you go back two years, Leicester were flying high at the top of the Premiership, playing in Europe and needed a new stadium. You would think you would be okay.

“Everyone was excited. They spent a few bob to ensure they stayed at the top of the Premiership.

“Unfortunately the way things transpired, a few mistakes were made, the team were relegated the season after that at the time the stadium still had to be paid for.

“The transfer system pretty much collapsed so you couldn’t even get the money back for the players you had. Then there was the ITV digital business as well.

“It would have been a pessimistic person to envisage that kind of collapse but that has what has happened.

“It is easiest thing in the world to blame people but every team that has been relegated is in pretty much the same position.”

Lineker senses the wind of change is blowing through football in general and not just at Leicester.

“Everyone is re-evaluating where they are; the amount of wages they are paying, the amount of money they can spend on players,” he said.

“There are hardly any clubs that can buy and Leicester will be like that in the future.

“People are having to re-think and re-plan their business structure. It just went crazy.”

Lineker and Clarke are also meeting supporters to keep them abreast of developments and there will a fan on the new board, should the consortium be successful.

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