Gary Lineker has donated £3000 to Doncaster Rovers Belles player Sophie Scargill, so she can afford surgery on a knee ligament injury.
In September 2020, the footballer’s life was turned “upside down” when she ruptured her lateral meniscus –– causing “severe trauma” to the main ligaments in her knee.
Scargill now requires surgery to be able to play again and has set up a crowdfund to help raise the funds required to get her back on the pitch.
“Although I know I’m very lucky to have the life I do, I need surgery to have any chance of returning to the sport I love. This is going to cost me £5000. I’m asking for help to get me back on that pitch and back running on the road,” she said.
Scargill is the club captain of Doncaster –– who play their games in the Division One Midlands of the FA Women’s National League.
Though the Belles are one of the founding members of the FA Women’s Super League, they have suffered a dramatic fall from grace since then and now play in the fourth tier of domestic women’s football in England.
This has meant the club are financially unable to support the cost of Scargill’s surgery, and she was told she’d have to wait two years on the NHS –– something she was not willing to do.
“I’m not bashing the NHS at all,” Scargill said. “But I wouldn’t be able to wait two years for the surgery because my mental health would be on the floor. When the doctor said it would massively increase the chances of never playing again, I panicked and went private, then realised I don’t have the £5000.
The Doncaster skipper stressed that football “consumes her life” and she uses exercise to “deal with every emotion.” Failure to have the surgery could render her career over, but Lineker has emerged as her knight in shining armour.
The former England legend donated a whopping £3000, helping the Doncaster star reach her target.
Match of the Day’s lead presenter posted a message alongside his donation, writing: “I see you need another £3000. It’s my pleasure to help. Hope you’re back playing soon.”
Scargill said she was “speechless” when she found out about Lineker’s generosity and posted a message to the former striker on Twitter.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that has so generously helped me reach my target.
“Gary Lineker, your unbelievable donation means I can now start my recovery process.”
Others were quick to praise the kindness of Lineker as well. Sports broadcaster, Jacqui Oatley wrote: Incredible gesture by Gary Lineker to cover the rest of the fee needed for Doncaster Rovers Belles club captain Sophie Scargill to have the knee surgery which will save her career. Shame it’s come to this but we’ll played, Gary.”
Aside from Lineker’s gesture, there’s also been a donation of £2500 from a man named “D.Rose”.
This could refer to Watford left-back Danny Rose, though this is yet to be confirmed.
Rose also offered a good luck message to Scargill and wrote: “Wish you a speedy recovery. Don’t rush it. All the best.”