Alan Shearer has been a household name in British football for decades. Born in Newcastle in 1970, Shearer made his debut for the Newcastle United team in 1988. He would go on to play for Southampton and Blackburn Rovers before retiring in 2006. He holds the record for the most Premier League goals scored with 260, as well as the record for the most goals in a single season with 34. In 2016, he was awarded a CBE for his services to football and charity.

While Shearer’s playing career was undoubtedly impressive, he has also made a name for himself as a pundit and commentator. In recent years, he has been a regular on the BBC’s Match of the Day programme, alongside fellow former England striker Gary Lineker. While the two men initially seemed to get on well, tensions have been brewing between them in recent months.

It all started when Lineker made some comments about Shearer’s time as a coach of Newcastle United. Speaking on his podcast, Lineker said that Shearer had “completely failed” during his brief stint as manager of the club in 2009. Shearer hit back, saying that Lineker’s criticism was unfair and that Lineker had never managed a team himself.

The feud continued to escalate, with Lineker refusing to back down and Shearer becoming increasingly angry. The situation came to a head in October 2021, when Shearer announced that he would be joining fellow pundit Ian Wright in boycotting the BBC’s coverage of the day’s football fixtures.

In a statement on social media, Shearer said that he had decided to take a stand because of the way he had been treated by Lineker and the BBC. “I cannot in good conscience continue to be a part of a programme that allows one of its presenters to constantly undermine and belittle me,” he wrote. “I have the utmost respect for Ian Wright, who has also been on the receiving end of Gary’s insults, and I stand in solidarity with him.”

The boycott caused a stir among football fans and pundits alike, with many taking to social media to express their support for Shearer and Wright. Some, however, criticised the move, arguing that it was unprofessional and would only harm the reputation of both Shearer and the Match of the Day programme.

In the end, the boycott lasted for just one week. Shearer and Wright returned to the programme the following Saturday, after the BBC issued a statement saying that it took the allegations of bullying and harassment seriously and was investigating the matter. The statement also reiterated the BBC’s commitment to providing a safe and inclusive working environment for all its employees.

While the feud between Shearer and Lineker has not been fully resolved, it seems that the two men are at least willing to continue working alongside each other for the time being. Both are still regular fixtures on Match of the Day, and neither has spoken publicly about the issue since the brief boycott.

So what can we learn from this saga? Perhaps the most important lesson is that even seemingly trivial disagreements can have serious consequences if they are allowed to fester. Shearer and Lineker are both grown men with long and successful careers, but their feud has caused them both unnecessary stress and damaged their professional relationships.

At the same time, the boycott highlighted the ongoing problem of bullying and harassment in the workplace, even in high-profile and apparently glamorous industries like football and broadcasting. Shearer and Wright may have been able to take a stand against alleged mistreatment, but many workers are not so fortunate.

In the end, the Shearer-Lineker feud will probably be remembered as a curious footnote in the history of football punditry. But it serves as a reminder that even the most successful and respected people can fall out over petty things – and that it’s best to try to resolve such issues before they spiral out of control.