Gary Lineker said Saturday’s Match of the Day was the ‘most difficult’ he had ever hosted in the wake of the helicopter crash outside Leicester City’s ground.
The Match of the Day host, a Leicester icon since his playing days, won praise for his dignity and professionalism as the disaster unfolded last night.
He gave a sombre introduction to the BBC highlights show after the helicopter – reported to be carrying the club’s Thai owner – came down following a draw with West Ham.
After the show he tweeted: ‘That was the most difficult [MotD] I’ve ever hosted. Thoughts are with everyone at Leicester City. A terrible tragedy. Heartbreaking.’
Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, who represented Leicester as a player, won praise for his dignity and professionalism as the disaster unfolded last night
Gary Lineker said Saturday’s Match of the Day was the ‘most difficult’ he had ever hosted in the wake of the helicopter crash outside Leicester City’s ground
Yesterday Lineker gave a sombre introduction to the programme, speaking emotionally about his boyhood club.
Lineker also paid tribute to former England team-mate Glenn Hoddle who collapsed and was taken to hospital yesterday.
He said: ‘We’d normally come on air and tell you about the games to look forward to seeing in the show. This, though, is no ordinary Saturday.’
At the end of the programme he said: ‘It’s been a dreadful day’.
Lineker is a passionate supporter of Leicester, for whom he made 194 league appearances between 1978 and 1985, scoring 95 goals.
The former England striker famously presented Match of the Day in his underwear after Leicester won their improbable Premier League title in 2016.
Lineker also paid tribute to Glenn Hoddle who collapsed and was taken to hospital yesterday
The helicopter belonging to Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha crashed outside the King Power Stadium following Leicester’s 1-1 draw with West Ham yesterday
He had promised to do so when the 5,000 to one outsiders went top of the league earlier in the 2015/16 season.
After yesterday’s show fellow sports presenter Mark Pougatch said: ‘Perfectly pitched and handled by Gary Lineker and Match of the Day. Respect in such difficult circumstances.’
Rugby union referee Nigel Owens said: ‘You did a brilliant job. So professional but also with a genuine sincere touch.’
And Labour MP Anna Turley wrote on Twitter: ‘Done with sensitivity and dignity Gary, thank you.’
Following the end of the evening kick-off game on Saturday, the helicopter was seen landing on the centre circle of the pitch
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha waves to fans after a Premier League clash between Leicester City and Southampton in April 2016. He was at the game against West Ham yesterday