Gary Lineker has challenged Brexiteers to ‘own it now’ as he explained how he feels about Britain’s upcoming exit from the EU.
The footballing legend and outspoken Remainer talked about the abuse he received online for his views on Brexit but added nonetheless that he hopes Brexit works.
Speaking on TalkRadio, Lineker said that he had initially accepted the result of the 2016 referendum, but then felt he had to speak out “when it became clear about the lies that were told”.
He also said: “That’s the only reason I got involved, but they can own it now, and – let’s hope it works. Let’s hope it’s a good thing.”
On the decision whether or not to speak out in favour of Remain, he said: “I ummed and ahhed about whether to come out as a Remainer or not, but in the end I thought: I’ll do it. And I perhaps shouldn’t [have], but who knows. So I gave my opinion on that.”
He also pointed out that despite his interest in politics, people don’t know who he voted for and said: “I’ve made the right very angry, and at times I’ve made the left very angry. Because I think like a lot of us at present we’re thinking … politics is not providing exactly what some of us want.
He also compared the difference between attacks on social media and in real life for what people think of his views. ”I do obviously get a bit of stick on social media because obviously I am pro-Remain. And I’ve got mates that are Brexiteers and we get on fine.
“But on the street it’s totally the opposite to what it’s like on social media. Although the thing is on social media you only tend to notice the ones that are particularly nasty, so they grab your attention.”
He related one exception, when a woman apparently on her way to a far-right protest pushed him in the back and accused Lineker of supporting the return of Shamima Begum to the UK – a matter the footballer has never commented on.
“She got really abusive,” he said.
He admitted that he felt the Brexit fight is “won” – but added that he had felt the same way on the morning of the referendum result.