Is Gary Lineker really worth £1.75million?

No presenter is worth the price of 20 heart surgeons.

Leyla Sanai


The BBC’s proud announcement that three women employees are now earning over £350,000 each, joining the ranks of male employees earning as much as £1.75million (Gary Lineker), has all the insight-free entitlement of a modern prince playing the PC card by humble-bragging that he has dispensed with his Groom of the Stool.

Of course, it is a step forward that the BBC has deigned to admit Zoe Ball, Vanessa Feltz and Claudia Winkleman to the elite club of celebrities overpaid with public money. It certainly makes a change from the Beeb dumping females who appear on the screen once their age exceeds their bust size. But does this publicly funded body really expect praise for adding a few token women to its ranks of public-money fleecers?

Take Gary Lineker. He’s very cute – I’d rather lick him than the Walkers crisps he sells. But £1.75million a year, out of public coffers? That’s 20 times the pay of a heart surgeon, saving lives night and day; or 10 times the salary of the prime minister. Sure, it’s agreeable to many viewers to have a voiceover describing the football action they can see – but really, is he worth that much? His salary alone could pay for the TV licences of 10,000 pensioners, shivering in front of their two-bar fires.

Anyone who has worked in the public sector in any other job will know that it’s not so much ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ as ‘there’s no such thing as a free teabag’. Over a working lifetime of 40 years, many doctors and nurses will never be invited to have even a murky cup of Nescafe at the hospital’s expense. Similarly, pay scales are unexciting. As a junior doctor working 130 hours a week, my colleagues and I were paid less than the cleaners and porters for each of the obligatory 90 hours of overtime. We knew better than to complain: after five years of medical school and around six years of those hours, we became consultants or GPs, earning a salary that would afford a comfortable life and a decent pension.

Of course, there have always been different courses for different horses, and the mules of the NHS had a pension that was calculated using a formula that was one half as generous as that which MPs had awarded themselves. But griping when you are not in financial need is ugly, and we knew we would eventually earn almost twice as much as the average UK salary if we stuck it out.

Sadly, most people don’t have that financial security. Which makes the BBC’s continuing handing out of huge wads of public money to people who basically twinkle on screen rather obscene. Especially since it stubbornly refuses to renege on its decision not to fund the TV licences of 3.7million pensioners.

It’s time that BBC presenters’ salaries came in line with all other public-sector play. National pay-review bodies oversee the salaries of NHS staff, teachers, prison-service employees, those in the armed forces, the police, and other public-sector workers. Those who selflessly put themselves in danger, be it from armed criminals, foreign soldiers, fires or violent patients, accept their modest pay gracefully. Meanwhile, somewhere in a warm room, others are laughing and chatting while their bank accounts ding with the receipt of up to 30,000 times as much as the pension of the lonely old person packing their TV up forever. Isn’t that a bit of a travesty?

Leyla Sanai worked as a physician in Edinburgh, became a consultant anaesthetist in Glasgow, and is a writer.

Picture by: Getty.

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Orla South

5th July 2019 at 11:37 pm

All BBC presenters salaries should be linked to average salary and being generous they should be allowed 3 or 4 times it.In today’s money that’s around 100 grand,how is that not enough to do what they do plus with a level of ‘fame’ they could get endorsements etc,that rule that they can’t do other work could go.I read that in 1981 one of the most prominent newsreaders,Kenneth Baker,had a salary just over double the average wage.A public institution paying starstruck money is disgraceful.But so are the salaries at the top of universities,councils,quangos etc.Easy to be generous on public money apparently.

charlie sou

5th July 2019 at 5:24 pm

I cringe every time he opens his big crisp fulled gub.

Jerry Owen

4th July 2019 at 11:12 pm

Lineker is a potato head

Carolyn Monaghan

4th July 2019 at 5:37 pm

I voted for Brexit. I use my Brexity money to pay for my tv license. I think any BBC presenter who moans about Brexiteers should refuse to accept my filthy money and the filthy money of the half of the country who also voted Brexit.

James Knight

4th July 2019 at 5:30 pm

These salaries only strengthen the argument to privatise the BBC. The BBC should let these leave to the commercial sector and focus on new talent. There must be plenty of whippersnappers chomping at the bit and it might even help the great God of “diversity”. It would be much more of a public service.

I did like Lineker’s joke when his pay was revealed, faux shock and horror that Chris Evans was paid more. On the charisma chart he is probably at the level of Nick Owen.

Alex Ander

4th July 2019 at 4:47 pm

Unfortunately you’ve been drawn in to the trap that surrounds this entire topic – namely the fallacy of deriving value and/or worth of someone based on their pay-cheque! Ultimately in what sense is anyone “worth” anything in monetary terms? Is someone earning £40k worth £40k? Obviously not. Is what they do for a living worth £40k? Maybe, maybe not. This is why the entire equal pay argument is utterly pointless. People equate greater value and meaning from their pay-cheque value than is necessary – why do people self-define so readily from what they earn? Do they not see their value in any other way? It’s a futile question to ask whether Gary Lineker is “worth” £1.75 million and then to start drawing comparisons between him and others doing subjectively more worthwhile or meaningful work. Virtually every single player in the NBA, NFL and MLB (in US sports) are multi-millionaires – is hitting, bouncing or throwing a ball (skilfully) really worth multiples of millions $USD – when compared to other occupations? Ultimately, Lineker is simply doing what is permitted in a free-market capitalist economy and maximising his earnings. The minute we start high earners need to be capped and the money redistributed to more worthy causes we are heading down a slippery marxist slope…..

L Strange

4th July 2019 at 10:25 pm

The fault is not Lineker’s, the fault lies with the BBC in that they use publicly derived funds to pay such inflated salaries in the knowledge that they’re free to squander other people’s money for which they’re not required to show a return.

It’s that funding model which is wrong – they should be commercialised, either selling advertising or becoming a voluntary subscription service.

Bill Cook

5th July 2019 at 11:45 am

The issue isn’t really what he’s paid, it’s how he’s paid. Lineker, it is said, could go to SKY and get £4m a year, and I would say good luck to him. SKY subscribers have the choice to pay for the service he’ll be joining, or not. If they don’t, all they miss out on is the service they’ve opted out of. The TV licence fee is not optional unless you wish to divest yourself of all television that is watched or recorded as it is broadcast, and that includes a hundred channels that the licence fee doesn’t fund. The BBC has a duty to respect their privileged position here and not pay such ridiculously high salaries, especially as is the case with Lineker, for so little work.

Linda Payne

4th July 2019 at 3:50 pm

No Linker is not worth that amount, even as a footballer he is overpaid even if he was at the top of his game; bumping up women’s pay only proves there is a them and us society, the Glasgow council workers had to go on strike for equal pay they have not yet got. Now the over 75’s will be expected to pay towards these six figure salaries and the BBC can’t even do decent drama most of the time

gershwin gentile

4th July 2019 at 1:52 pm

“Is Gary Lineker really worth £1.75million?”

Short answer: No

Long answer: Hell no.

He kicked a ball about, he’s no cure for cancer.

Marvin Jones

4th July 2019 at 1:35 pm

The reason why Lineker’s viewing figures are responsible for his mega money is, compared to SKY the BBC’s coverage of football is tiny, so, the not too well off who cannot afford Sky TV, depend on the BBC coverage. So his talent and populism is bogus.

Icarus Bop

4th July 2019 at 11:18 am

Really no – he is way overpaid. As is the BBC

James Chilton

4th July 2019 at 11:00 am

The boastful announcement that the salaries of some well-paid women “presenters” has been bumped up, is intended to distract attention from the absurd amount of money paid to Lineker.

Jeremy Shotts

4th July 2019 at 10:41 am

He had some respect from me as someone who appeared to be a little more than a footballer turned sports pundit and presenter.
Until he started spouting rote-learned and repeated one-sided tosh about the Middle East as if he actually knew something about it.
Go back to selling crisps mate. You were entertainng then.

Neil McCaughan

4th July 2019 at 10:15 am

The BBC isn’t worth £1.75 million. It’s a towering pile of crap, produced by scumbags, and used by scoundrels to stupefy morons. Lineker can always return to his métier – flogging stale cabbages.

Hana Jinks

4th July 2019 at 11:59 am

Hahaha….it really isn’t worth £1.75 million.

It needs to be defunded and privately run by communists. And if it was, how much do you estimate that the kommies would have to throw in to keep it stupefying year after year?

Phil Ford

4th July 2019 at 3:37 pm

The problem is that the BBC won’t be defunded, and it is run by communists. Sure, they call themselves progressives (while trying to pretend they are ‘neutral’ and ‘impartial’ – note to BBC: you haven’t been fooling anyone about this, for decades now), but it’s clear to all but most uninterested which way the malignant Corporation’s political compass points.

Bill Cook

4th July 2019 at 9:15 am

I wish I had Lineker’s agent. The job isn’t one where the required skill set is particularly rare or demanding yet he’s clearly convinced the BBC differently. They thought replacing Des Lynam was impossible, but Lineker did it without too much difficulty, and his eventual successor will replace him just as easily. Having dropped the TV licence a couple of years ago, I no longer have a dog in this fight so if licence payers think £1.75m a fair remuneration then who am I to stand in the way of them pissing their cash up the wall? Nevertheless, this is a crazy amount to pay someone for a couple of hours work a week during the football season. The fact that it’s so much higher than even the other nine of the top ten salaries the BBC pay the on screen talent should tell you something about the bad deal they’ve made here.

Winston Smith

4th July 2019 at 9:13 am


Ian Wilson

4th July 2019 at 8:38 am

The point about Lineker is that he regularly spouts his anti British crap on twatter, complaining about Brexit. As a BBC employee he should be made to be impartial and shut up – or be sacked. Its just bloody football for gods sake.

James Chilton

4th July 2019 at 8:00 am

The boastful announcement that a number of women “presenters” have had their salaries bumped up, is intended to distract attention from the absurd amount paid to Lineker.

christopher barnard

4th July 2019 at 8:00 am

Lineker is worth £1.75 million to the establishment. He and other entertainers such as pop music DJs and chat show hosts mean most Brits are willing to pay the TV tax, enabling that establishment to push their social and political agendas onto the people via the state broadcaster, so ensuring that they are kept docile and obedient.

Hana Jinks

4th July 2019 at 11:49 am

That’s exactly how they bloody see it!!!

Very perceptive, and thanks.

You or l could do the same job for 100k, …

Could you imagine going on fake news and talking like a normal person?

Lineker was fantastic at Everton, but it’s no coincidence that he flopped at Catalans and Yids.

Imagine how much could be achieved if they only shut down fake news for a month.

Hana Jinks

4th July 2019 at 11:50 am

I’m a Yid, you silly mods.

Danny Rees

4th July 2019 at 7:57 am

That is not really the issue.
The issue is licence fee payers having to pay for his huge salary.
Especially when he gets paid by BT as well.

Jerry Owen

4th July 2019 at 7:45 am

Me thinks this writer had taken too much anaesthetic… Licking Linker !
No. It isn’t good that the BBC has elevated women it should be a case that the BBC demotes mens pay.
The BBC needs to compete with other channels on the same footing. Your article doesn’t really get to the nuts and bolts of the problems with the BBC, you don’t mention Linekers political posturings nor Chris Packhams of ER. The BBC is by law supposed to be impartial . It isn’t this is a national scandal.

Hana Jinks

4th July 2019 at 4:04 am

Fake news, and it needs to be defunded.

Amin Readh

4th July 2019 at 1:17 am

Yes. And he is an excellent scoop for the Beeb.

“No presenter is worth the price of 20 heart surgeons.”

Not the point. You can line up many, many, many such professions and claim something of the sort.

He mentioned is here only because he is an outspoken Leftie and he is BBC.

“It’s time that BBC presenters’ salaries came in line with all other public-sector play.”

Nope. There is no equivalency there. How about going for something truly “radical” and stating that privatize all the public sector?

Another badly argued hit piece from this tabloid site.

Danny Rees

4th July 2019 at 7:58 am

Who gives a fuck?

He’s getting richer off the backs of the licence fee payer, many of whom are over 75.

Yeah sure anyone who criticises the BBC is tabloid.


Amin Readh

4th July 2019 at 7:26 pm

@ Danny Rees

At least have a go at an argument. Try. Or go and pick up a book. Read.

alan smithee

4th July 2019 at 9:44 am

It is the point Amin, and its the whole point of the article. Try not using whataboutery…

Amin Readh

4th July 2019 at 7:30 pm

@ alan smithee

What is the point? It is a poorly argued nonsensical and dumb article. There is a clear and simple reason why BBC pay scales are not in line with civil service pay. This is just outright silly:

“No presenter is worth the price of 20 heart surgeons.”

So is the worth of surgeons measured just in money? And then what is the worth of a surgeon in money?

The whole point of the article was to have a go at Lineker himself for being so Woke.

Try thinking for yourself!

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