LATEST news from the football transfer window – Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, has signed Gary Lineker as a visiting fellow. The fee is unspecified but, knowing the lad, he won’t come cheap.

This is the staunch socialist, remember, who trousers £1.75million a year from the BBC for fronting Match of the Day, the only big name at the corporation to refuse to take a pay cut this year. He also receives an annual £1million from Walkers crisps for endorsing their nourishing products, yet still feels the need to supplement his income by working part-time at BT Sport.

Lineker, 58, is one of nine new visiting fellows announced by LMH. Its website details his footballing prowess while omitting to mention his most notable on-pitch achievement – fouling himself. He soiled his shorts in a 1990 World Cup tie against Ireland, thus ensuring he had the communal bath to himself after the match.

Beat that, Lionesses!

If soccer success alone was the entry criterion to academia then surely England’s all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney would be adding his intellectual clout and impeccable judgment to the Oxford establishment. (What a joyous moment when a Liverpool brothel worker flatteringly known as the Auld Slapper pleaded with Rooney to clear her name by announcing that she had never had sex with him).

One suspects, however, that Lineker’s political views rather than his ability to find the net are behind his appointment. LMH principal Alan Rusbridger, former editor of the Guardian and one of several champagne Lefties heading Oxford colleges, is a fellow campaigner for a second referendum.

Five years ago Lineker was one of 200 luvvies to sign a Hacked Off petition demanding greater controls on the press. Greedy Gary, who regularly trumpets his anti-Brexit opinions, last year described Nigel Farage and a skipper campaigning for British fishing rights as ‘slimy, smelly and slippery’. A bit like his old footie shorts, then.

His verbal incontinence led BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew to ask him to keep his political views to himself. He replied: ‘I’ll continue to tweet what I like and if folk disagree with me so be it.’

BBC guidelines used to state that broadcasters should remain impartial but the rules have apparently been rewritten to exclude sports presenters such as Mr Crisps. Funny old game, politics.

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Alan Ashworth
Alan Ashworth is a former national newspaper journalist now retreated to the Ribble Valley, where he grows cacti and tramps the fells with the family dog Bingo. He and his wife Margaret run a website, A-M Records , which includes their collected TCW columns plus extra features including Tracks of the Day. Requests, queries and comments can be sent to alanj126@yahoo.co.uk