Lynam's pay day

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The Independent Online
It could be the biggest transfer story of the season. No, not Roberto Baggio to Tottenham... far bigger than that. We are talking about Desmond Lynam for Sky TV.

On leave after the exhausting summer schedule of Euro 96, Wimbledon and the Olympics, the BBC's famously laid-back front man will have opened his Sunday papers to discover his own name headlined in speculation normally reserved for the stars whose exploits he reports.

What's more, the figures being discussed are in the Alan Shearer class, with Sky reputedly ready to offer pounds 1m a year, more than doubling the 54- year-old presenter's current salary at the BBC, where he has spent half his life.

That's not bad for a bloke who once grumbled that he had never been properly trained for the job, and will start a panic among John Birt's underlings, who will be guilty of a colossal own goal should they let him go.

You have only to turn on Match of the Day to realise how badly Lynam would be missed. Gary Lineker's cheeky schoolboy style may appeal to some viewers, but the poor lad still reads the autocue as if he were in fifth- form assembly. Heaven help the viewing figures if he is anchor man for the season.

Vinnie Jones may have been cruel when he said Lineker had the charisma of a jellyfish - but sometimes the truth can be painful. In any case, did you ever see a wooden jellyfish?