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  Sunday, 1 October, 2000, 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK
Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker
Lineker beats Scotland's McLeish at Wembley in 1988
Ex-England star and Match of the Day frontman Gary Lineker tells BBC Sport Online's Frank Keogh about his own special Wembley moments.

Gary Lineker has many happy memories of Wembley, but cried tears of sadness on his first trip to the mighty Twin Towers.

As an eight-year-old Leicester City fan, he left the stadium disillusioned, after seeing his heroes defeated.

Little did the boy Lineker realise the imposing north west London venue would one day become the stage for his own talents.

"My first visit to Wembley was for the 1969 FA Cup final between Leicester and Manchester City. It was a sad day," he recalls.


Wembley was a lucky ground for me generally. I had lots of fantastic times there
Gary Lineker

"I remember crying all the way home because Leicester lost 1-0.

"I never dreamed I would go and play there one day."

Capped 80 times by his country, Lineker secured many of his 48 goals for England at Wembley, and played there in two FA Cup finals.

He continues: "If I had to pick out one highlight it would be the FA Cup final for Spurs against Nottingham Forest in 1991, even though I had a good goal disallowed and missed a penalty," he said.

"Having lost in 1986 with Everton against Liverpool, to go back and win was a really fantastic emotion."

Gary Lineker
Lineker lifts the FA Cup at Wembley in 1991

The final will be remembered for Paul Gascoigne's lunging tackle on Gary Charles, which left Gascoigne seriously injured.

But Lineker is quick to remind that Gazza had helped Spurs get there in the first place with a breathtaking free-kick against Arsenal in the first FA Cup semi-final to be played at Wembley.

"Gazza was one to get hyped up. He's an exception, that's how he was. He was like that in a lot of big games," he reveals.

"In the semi-final, he was sort of the same, but that goal calmed him down.

"I don't think he tried to kick Gary Charles in the final. I think he tried to kick the ball into the crowd."


Wembley had a special ambience and atmosphere... it's a place that has such a wonderful history
Gary Lineker

For England, Lineker scored on his debut against the Republic of Ireland at Wembley.

He hit two international hat-tricks at the national stadium, the one against Turkey featuring two headers.

And he also hit the net there against Brazil, although he missed a penalty in another match against the South Americans - his last international at the stadium - which would have seen him equal Bobby Charlton's England scoring record.

"I had lots of fantastic times there. It was a lucky ground for me generally," Lineker explains.

"It had a special ambience and atmosphere."

Time for change

But while Lineker obviously cherishes the memories of playing beneath the Twin Towers, he is equally aware that the time had come to move on.

"It's a place that has such a wonderful history, but it became very run down and the facilities were hopeless.

"As I'm a spectator now and not a player, you want to go the game and have nice facilities, which I'm sure the new Wembley will have. I would say it's time for a change.

"The site will still be at Wembley, something special and new that we should have in the 21st century."

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