GARY Lineker reveals he feared he had HIV when he fell ill with hepatitis during the 1988 European Championships.
The Match of the Day presenter says he felt “sluggish” during matches and had lost a stone and a half in weight – at a time when HIV scare-stories were rife.
He says he felt the symptoms during disastrous group games against Republic of Ireland and Holland.
Gary, 58, said: “I started to notice something was wrong during the European Championships in the summer of 1988.
“They took place in West Germany, as it was then, and England did not distinguish ourselves.
“Our opening group game was against Ireland, we lost 1–0 and I felt mostly terrible throughout – really sluggish and incapable.
England lost a group game to Ireland[/caption]
“Was it the consequence of a long, tiring season? It seemed a bit extreme if so. In our second game we played, if anything, even worse and lost 3–1 to Holland, which meant we were out of the tournament, and I felt considerably more ill – heavy-limbed and aching.”
Gary was left wondering why he was feeling so lethargic and even feared he had HIV.
But he had actually caught hepatitis.
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Writing in his new book Behind Closed Doors: Life, Laughs and Football, the former Tottenham Hotspur striker said: “There didn’t seem to be any explanation for it. I was also losing weight–about a stone and a half, it would eventually emerge.
“I quietly wondered if I had Aids. This was a period when that disease was in the forefront of people’s minds, with all sorts of ridiculous and uninformed rumours about ways in which you could contract it. Maybe I had done so. I managed to frighten myself with the thought.”
It would turn out to be a pointless tournament for England losing their third game to Soviet Union.