Gary Lineker’s co-host on The Rest is Football will be an “A-list ex-footballer”

Goalhanger co-founder teases big-name co-host for forthcoming show

Gary Lineker’s co-host for The Rest is Football will be a former top-level professional footballer, according to the co-founder of Lineker’s production company Goalhanger Podcasts.

The latest extension of Goalhanger’s "The Rest is…” podcast franchise, the forthcoming show will feature sports broadcaster, former professional football player and Goalhanger co-founder Lineker teaming up with the unknown figure to discuss the biggest stories from the sport. 

The podcast is set to launch alongside the UK Premier League season which starts 12 August. Goalhanger managing director and co-founder Jack Davenport told PodPod in the latest episode of the podcast that the company has been waiting for the right time and opportunity to have Lineker front a football chat-led podcast like this. 

“Podcasting is seen by a lot of people as a new medium, but football is one of those things that is just incredibly well established,” said Davenport. “It’s a crowded marketplace, there are really successful big pods that have been doing very well for a long time, and we were really conscious that we didn't want to be just another football podcast, basically.”

Davenport also highlighted that one advantage that Goalhanger can bring to the competitive space is the ability to bring in big talent. The company has successfully done this before with its two most popular chart-topping podcasts - The Rest is Politics with former political figures Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart, and The Rest is History with historians Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook.

Goalhanger also recently announced the upcoming launch of economics podcast The Rest is Money with ITV News political editor Robert Peston and Channel 4 presenter Steph McGovern, a week before The Rest is Football was announced in an interview with The Financial Times. 

“When we announce the talent, who's gonna be with Gary, they are A-list, ex-footballer pundits; they're big names and I think that hasn't been possible for very long in podcasting, to afford those kinds of people just for a pure podcast context,” said Davenport. “We're really excited about what we can bring to it and we would love it to be a big success - we're gonna throw everything at it and I think it's got a really good chance.” 

According to Davenport, Goalhanger’s strategy when it comes to picking the right co-hosts for a podcast is to focus on one person that the company really wants to work with, and have them choose a co-host that they get along with, rather than trying to manufacture good chemistry. 

“For The Rest is Politics, it was Alastair, we had a relationship with him and we asked him for a list of Tories that he can bear to have a conversation with - which wasn’t very long,” said Davenport. “Once we saw what we had with Rory in terms of the chemistry, both being political insiders but also outsiders in the sense that they've both been expelled from their party, they were much more free to be able to really give their opinion and not have to worry about the party line.”

“With The Rest is History, we really wanted to work with Tom Holland and I wasn't aware of Dominic Sandbrook. Tom really backed him, he wanted us to meet him, and we got so lucky there, because he's just an absolutely unbelievable, brilliant, warm podcaster.” 

Goalhanger was co-founded by Lineker, Davenport, and creative director Tony Pastor in 2022, as an offshoot of the trio’s production company Goalhanger Films, and has produced a number of original podcasts across history, politics, and sports genres including Empire, Leading, and Broad & Fry. Goalhanger also produces the Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast exclusively for BBC Sounds which is co-hosted by Lineker with football pundits and former professional players Alan Shearer and Micah Richards. 

Other podcast genres that Davenport said Goalhanger would be interested in exploring in the future include looking at politics from a historical angle, podcasts in the scientific space, and more sports shows. 

“There’s tons out there for the kind of stuff that we do, we're talking to some talent that we're really excited about, we are having these kinds of meetings all the time,” said Davenport. “Loads of exciting things are happening across the industry so it’s a good time to be in podcasting.”