Gary Lineker Family History


Gary Winston Lineker was born on November 30th, 1960 to Barry and Margaret Lineker in Leicester.  He shared his birthday with Winston Churchil.  So his parents gave him the middle name of Winston.

His father was a greengrocer, running Lineker’s fruit and veg stall in Leicester market.  As a child and a young player Gary regularly helped out on the stall.

At school one of his teachers remarked: “He concentrates too much on football and he would never make a living at that.” Still, in 1976 at the age of sixteen, Gary left school and joined the youth academy of his local football club Leicester City.  Five years later he had progressed to the club’s first team and was beginning to show his prowess as a goalscorer.

He had a stellar football career, both at club and at international level.  After Leicester City, he played for Everton and Tottenham Hotspur, with stints abroad in Spain (Barcelona) and, later in his career, in Japan (Nagoya Grampus).  His international career with England began in 1984 and lasted until 1992.  During that time he had two outstanding World Cups, the first in 1986 and the second in 1990 when England almost reached the final.

After he retired from football, a second career beckoned – as a TV presenter on football.  Since 1999 Gary has presented BBC’s flagship football program Match of the Day.

In recent years he has become BBC’s highest paid presenter.  He nevertheless has retained the affection of the public, as well as that of his fellow football commentators.  This was evidenced by their outpouring of support in March 2023 when he clashed with the BBC over his comments critical of the Government on the asylum crisis.

The Lineker Name

Lineker is a name of the English Midlands.  As a surname it is a variant of Linacre, a place-name that dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086.  Linacre means a flax field with lin being “flax” and aker “field.”

There were flax spinning mills at Brampton in Derbyshire and the Linacre name first appeared there with John de Linacre in a deed of 1189.  Thomas Linacre or Lynaker of this family, born in 1460, was a learned man for whom it was said: “to him was chiefly due the revival of classical learning in this country.”  He was also a physician and the founder of the  Royal College of Physicians in London.

Burkes Armoury recorded in 1841 that from those early times more than twenty generations of Linacres had held Linacre Hall at Brampton.

There were some 150 Linacres and 150 Linekers in the 1881 UK census:

  • Linacre – mainly in Derbyshire (60) and Lancashire (60)
  • Lineker – mainly in Nottinghamshire (80), Derbyshire (20), and Leicestershire (10).

So Lineker would appear to have been the Nottinghamshire variant of Linacre.  Thomas Linacre or Lineker was born in Nottingham in 1676 and more Linekers were recorded there in the 1700’s.

Gary Lineker’s Ancestry

Nottingham.  Gary’s Lineker line is from Nottingham and of course from the non-noble line.  The first recorded, William Lineker, was born in Nottingham in 1828.  He was shown in the census as a steam engine fitter, as was his eldest son Samuel born in 1851.

Following George Stephenson’s pioneering work with steam locomotives in 1825, the Midland Counties Railway opened a railway station at Nottingham in 1839; and Sydney Smith pioneered a steam guage and rotary steam engine at his Nottinghamshire works in the 1840’s.  These developments made it possible for the Linekers – father and son – to find work as fitters in the Nottingham area.

Leicester.  The second son William, born in Nottingham in 1859, drifted to Leicester where he was recorded as an iron moulder in 1881 and as a greengrocer in the 1911 census. William and his wife Lavinia had one son George, born in 1878, followed by seven further children.  And they were all girls!

William was the first of three generations of Leicester greengrocers:

  • George was listed in 1912 as a greengrocer on North Avenue in Leicester
  • his son William ran a shop on Greenhill Road
  • and Barry, Gary’s father, ran the Lineker market stall in Leicester for many years.

Barry would receive help on the stall from both of his sons.  This continued even after Gary became a professional footballer.  Barry Lineker died in 2017.

Gary had appeared in a 2013 TV showing of Who Do You Think You Are? to present his family history.  Apparently the BBC researchers did not think that the early Nottingham side of the Linekers would be of much interest to their viewers.

Instead they concentrated on an earlier family line of his grandmother Alice.  Her great grandfather James Pratt had been a professional poacher in Leicester, stealing to feed his family.  Born in 1818, he was caught and imprisoned in 1848 for taking six chickens, four of whom were in the pot when the authorities arrived.

Gary Lineker’s Family Tree

  • William Lineker (b. 1828) m. Charlotte Taylor (b. 1832) in Nottingham around 1850
  • – Samuel Lineker (b. 1851)
  • – Ellen Lineker (b. 1856)
  • – William H. Lineker (b. 1859)
  • – George Lineker (b. 1862)
  • – Albert Lineker (b. 1864)
  • William Lineker from Nottingham m. Lavinia Hatfield (b. 1859) from Worcester in Leicester in 1878
  • – George Albert Lineker (1878-1960)
  • – Ellen Lineker (b. 1882)
  • – Charlotte Lineker (b. 1884)
  • – Bertha Lineker (b. 1886)
  • – Rose Lineker (b. 1888)
  • – Florence Lineker (b. 1890)
  • George Albert Lineker m. Emily Holmes (b. 1874) in Leicester
  • – William H. Lineker (1911-1992)
  • William Lineker m. Alice Hoare (1909-2000) in Leicester in 1933
  • – Barry Lineker (1939-2017)
  • Barry Lineker m. Margaret Abbs (1939-2015) in Leicester in 1959, divorced in 2005
  • – Gary Lineker (b. 1960)
  • – Wayne Lineker (b. 1962) m. Sasha Hopkins (divorced)
  • Gary Lineker m. Michelle Cockayne (b. 1966) in 1986, divorced in 2006; rem. Danielle Bux (b. 1979) in 2009, divorced in 2016
  • – George Lineker (b. 1992)
  • – Harry Lineker (b. 1994)
  • – Tobias Lineker (b. 1996)
  • – Angus Lineker (b. 1998)


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Written by Colin Shelley

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