Gary Lineker might be one of England’s most famous footballers and broadcasters, but to many he’s best known for his work with Walkers.
With Walkers having sent Gary on a journey across the UK to check out their ingredients, we chatted to the Match Of The Day host about the trip, whether more Brits should be playing abroad and who he thinks will win the Champions League.
So, to kick off with, tell us a bit about this latest Walkers project.
Basically, Walkers are putting real produce into their flavours, so the cheese and onion flavour is actually cheese and onion rather than just flavourings. So I just did a little mini-documentary with my father who’s sold fruit and veg all his life on Leicester market and we went around checking out the produce around the country.
We went to Somerset for the cheese, Evesham for the tomatoes and Hampshire for the potatoes and we made a film that you can see on the Walkers YouTube channel. It was fun to do, going around the UK in an old campervan and getting some one on one time with my old dad, which is always good.
That van didn’t seem like the most glamorous of ways to get about.
I know, I don’t know why they stuck me in one of those ancient things!
Whose idea was it to bring you dad along?
Well, Walkers came up with the idea and came to me and my dad and I thought it would be fun. He’s been in the business all his life and definitely knows his onions. It was a good idea and make a nice little film.
You’ve been the face of Walkers for years; did you ever think this partnership would be so successful?
When I did the first advert back when I came back from Japan, I thought it was just a one off. Then there was another one off, then another, then a short contract, then a three year, then a five and nineteen years later I’m still doing them! It’s madness really but it’s been a great relationship for all parties I hope.
I’ve had a lot of fun doing the adverts, they’ve been some really funny ones over the years, worked with loads of great and famous people and long may it continue into my ripe old age.
Do you ever have younger viewers only knowing you for your Walkers ads?
Oh the little ones do, I’m the Walkers Man to them. I hear it all the time in the street “It’s the crisp bloke”.
Moving on to football, with both David Beckham and Joey Barton in France and you having played for Barcelona, do you think that more British players should play overseas?
I think it’s a good experience if you take it in a positive way. In my day, you could earn much better money in Spain and Italy, whereas now it’s equal right across the board so that motivation’s not there.
You’ve got to go now for the love of it and different reasons. I mean not many players would turn down a chance to play for Real Madrid and Barcelona as they’re right at the top the tree in terms of football.
Some players are quite homely and they don’t see themselves going abroad, others would relish the challenge. I can only speak personally, but I always wanted the challenge and to go and live in a place like Barcelona was great.
One thing that’s always interested me is why do so many footballers play golf?
Well, I guess they have a lot of time free. I didn’t actually play during my career; I only started after it finished. I suppose it’s because they’ve got the time and it’s a very addictive game when you get going.
Lastly, who do you think is going to lift the Champion’s League this year?
Well, it’s a knockout competition, so it’s difficult to predict, but Real Madrid will go close, Bayern Munich will go a long way, but a lot depends on the draw. Barcelona have a lot to do, but if they get through (which I don’t see them doing) you’d give them a good chance. At the minute I might have to go with Bayern.
You can see Gary’s video on the Walkers YouTube channel.
Gary Lineker can be seen on screen with his dad Barry Lineker for the first time as Walkers celebrate the tasty homegrown ingredients in their delicious crisps. Watch the video at youtube.com/walkerscrisps