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Lineker calls for pushy parents to shut up

ESPN staff
October 25, 2013
Gary Lineker has heard plenty of abuse from parents watching their children © Getty Images

Gary Lineker believes abusive parents who constantly shout from the touchline while watching their children play football are hindering the English game.

Former England international Lineker admitted that, in his time watching his four sons from the side of the pitch, he heard "drivel" and "abuse" on numerous occasions from "clueless" parents.

Speaking in the New Statesman, Lineker stated that the pushiness is partly to blame for the decline of English football and called for parents to put a stop to the "depressing" attitude so children can enjoy playing the sport.

"This madness [England's long-ball culture] is only exacerbated by the maniacal parents on the touchline spouting nonsense at their children," Lineker said. "The competitive nature of most mums and dads is astounding.

"The fear they instil in our promising but sensitive Johnny is utterly depressing. We need a parental cultural revolution. If we could just get them to shut the f*** up and let their children enjoy themselves, you would be staggered at the difference it would make.

"Having four boys myself, I have stood on the sidelines of countless games, spanning many years. Oh, the drivel I have heard, the abuse I have witnessed, the damage I have seen done.

"Promising young players barked at by clueless dad: 'Don't mess with it there,' 'Just kick it.' 'Stop f*****g about.' I could go on. I have seen a father pick his son up by the scruff of the neck and yell in his face: 'You'll never make it playing that crap.'

"Who cares who wins an under-eights game? Who cares if a youngster makes a mistake? It's how we learn."

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