Gary Lineker savaged for ‘irresponsible’ Tottenham food poisoning hoax – ‘Stick to crisps’

In pictures: Tottenham v Burnley

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Former Tottenham hero Gary Lineker has been torn apart on social media after claiming that there had been a food poisoning outbreak at the north London side. Antonio Conte’s men are gearing up for a crunch clash against Norwich City this Sunday, which could seal their place in next season’s Champions League at Arsenal’s expense. 

Lineker initially got minds racing on Friday by Tweeting: “Hearing there’s a food poisoning outbreak at Spurs. No, I am not joking.” Other Tottenham sources denied the development, however, insisting that only Harry Kane is unwell and it is not related to food poisoning. 

Spurs have been stung by food poisoning at a crucial stage before as the infamous ‘lasagne-gate’ fiasco saw them miss out on Champions League qualification back in 2006. Conte also revealed that a stomach bug hampered the squad last time out against Burnley. 

As news broke that Lineker’s claims were likely false, many fans did not hold back on Twitter. @pokeefe1 vented: “Irresponsible to tweet this when you’ve no idea of the reality. There’s no ‘outbreak’. The club have said it’s only Kane. Stick to crisps.” Meanwhile, @TheonlyBird added: “I can’t do this anymore, unfollowed.”

And they were not the only ones to bite back at the former England marksman. @NKSpurs stated: “There are people who either believe this, or think is is funny. I feel sorry for both.” Even former Spurs star Graham Roberts, who only left the club three years before Lineker signed, called out the 61-year-old for spreading ‘fake news’. Lineker stood firm with his story though, responding: “I wish.”

It was later claimed that Lineker’s upcoming interview with Kane, which was scheduled for Friday evening, may have been the source of the drama. The interview’s postponement is likely to have caused a misunderstanding that illness had spread throughout the squad, and journalist Kat Lucas added: “No lasagnes in sight.”

The rest of the squad may well be free from food poisoning, but losing Kane would be a huge blow on the final day of the season. Spurs would still be favourites to avoid defeat and finish in the top four in his absence, but with no natural replacement, Heung-min Son would likely be torn away from his preferred left-wing position and deployed through the middle. 

Conte later confirmed that Kane should recover in time to play. 

Tottenham crucially beat Arsenal 3-0 at home last week, which kept them in the top-four hunt. The Gunners’ subsequent slip-up against Newcastle United suddenly left Spurs in the drivers’ seat after their narrow victory over Burnley. 

Norwich, who will host the final-day showdown, are already mathematically relegated and have not won in six matches. They would need to break that run against hungry opposition to spoil Spurs’ celebrations. 

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