The WAGS are back!
Alison Kervin, award-winning sports journalist and broadcaster and author of A Wag’s Diary – the hilarious tale of lovable Luton Town WAG Tracie Martin and her attempts to keep Waggery up to speed – has updated her account of the Wag lifestyle for Euro 2012. Glory on the pitch may be unlikely for Roy’s lads this summer, but at least their ladies will be flying the flag for the best of British culture. Here Alison, a local resident, gives us a sneak preview…
There’s a major football tournament on in June. I don’t know how many people actually know this – what with the Jubilee celebrations and all the excitement over the fast-approaching Olympic Games, it’s easy to forget the small issue of Euro 2012. In any other year, it would be the highlight of the sporting calendar, but if you host a tournament in 2012, the best you can come in terms of public appeal is third!
But, despite its position, sandwiched between the Jubilee and the Olympics, Euro 2012 will have its moment in the sun when our brave boys travel to Krakow with the nation’s hopes and expectations resting on their shoulders. Obviously, these are hopes and expectations that have been resting on the shoulders of footballers since 1966, so they’re quite heavy and burdensome by now!
England didn’t qualify for the last European Championships four years ago, so this is the country’s big return to the European stage. The team has a new manager in place in Roy Hodgson – a bright and likeable man who’s promising to do the best with rather limited resources (all the jokes at the moment go something like this… ‘Roy Hodgson’s announced his team to win Euro 2012…it’s called Spain’). The thing is, though, Hodgson can’t change the players at his disposal, he can only make the best of them, so we have to give him a little leeway as he struggles along, just a few months into the job.
In any case, let’s be honest, the football is just noise. What everyone’s really excited about, when it comes to international football tournaments, is the Wags. Sure, there’ll be football being played, and there’s every chance that England will win some of it before going out on penalties, but the truth of the tournament is that much of the focus will be on the wags, because Euro 2012 represents not only the return of England to the international stage, but also THE RETURN OF THE WAGS!!
Yes, the Wags are set to explode onto the pages of our newspapers and magazines once again – a riot of colour and shiny skin, as they spend and drink their way through Euro 2012. We haven’t seen them at international competitions for six long years, since the glory days of Baden Baden where they were based for the 2006 World Cup. Do you remember the girls’ evenings out in Germany six years ago? They were legendary; the drinking, singing, partying and spending more on their outfits than most people spend on their houses. And the suntans. The suntans! We needed a whole new word for orange by the end of the tournament. It was a joyous time for Wag watchers. A time for pink miniskirts, boob tubes and lime green hot pants. The shoes were high, the glasses were big and the bodies were tiny. The hair was long and luscious and the lips were fat and shiny.
But then, they disappeared – lost to us in a fug of silly comments and accusations. They were described as toxic by the England manager after England exited the tournament in the preliminary stages, and by 2008, two years after Baden Baden, England captain Rio Ferdinand was declaring that England’s disastrous campaign in 2006 was down to the Wags’ influence.
How were the Wags to blame? They spent the 2006 World Cup parading around in ludicrously short skirts and unfeasibly high shoes. Their minds were focused on the purchase of glittery hair accessories, buying handbags costing more than a third world debt and trying on sunglasses that cost more than the average car. They weren’t responsible for the national team’s defensive strategies, nor were they working on ball skills. That was the players’ job. In fact, to a great extent, it was Rio Ferdinand’s job. The wags were too busy spray-tanning themselves to a ludicrous shade of orange and drinking frightening amounts of Bacardi; they simply didn’t have the time or inclination to contemplate playing formations.
In Baden Baden the Wags drank more Cristal than should reasonably be drunk in a lifetime. That’s what they did and, if I may say, they did it very well. The players, on the other hand, did not do their job well. They made such a hash of things on the pitch that they went out on penalties…again… in the quarter-finals…again. Wag-lovers in England were sitting in the hairdresser’s getting their extensions done at the time, or casually looking through the designer wear in Cricket while wearing a sparkly crop top and a pink ra-ra skirt. They were understandably baffled by Ferdinand’s sudden conclusion that it was all their fault that the players couldn’t kick a ball into a net.
Since Baden-Baden, the wags have continued to dance in and out of the headlines but they have rarely been seen at matches, banned from the last World Cup and forced to take a low profile, then not appearing at the last European Championship because of England’s failure to qualify. But wags don’t like low profiles one bit, and now they’re back … Roy Hodgson is in charge and the world has been illuminated once more.
To celebrate all this, and in keeping with the silliness of it, I’ve written a humorous Wags Guide to Euro 2012 which looks at the tournament from the point of view of the Wags. I’m an experienced sports journalist, so I do know a bit about the beautiful game, but I’m also a novelist and have penned a series of novels about a fictional Wag called Tracie Martin. In this guide I combine my two loves – my mad, silly fictional Wag and my love of sport. The result is a book with its own unique guide to the laws of the game (they’re explained mainly through shopping and farting …it may not be sophisticated, but it works!) The book also includes an A-Z of how to be a Wag and a Wags Drinking game (every time they’re seen at a football match, take a drink, if Coleen Rooney flicks her hair, take two drinks…it’s going to be the game of the summer). There’s also a uniquely Waggy fixture list and the daft story of my fictional Wag preparing to travel to Krakow. I hope you enjoy the book, and the Euro 2012 tournament, sandwiched between the Jubilee and the Olympics. It promises to be one hell of a summer.
A short extract from the book:
Chapter Eight: The all important Wags’ Guide To Football
Sshhhhh…Never, never speak of this in public. Always pretend you know nothing about football, but read this and secretly you will.
Have you ever actually watched any football? I mean: have you? Have you tried to work out what’s going on out there? I did once and I had to lie down for a week afterwards. Basically, there are 11 men and they are trying to get this ball into a net and there’s only one bloke stopping them but they make such an enormous drama out of it all that most of the time they don’t manage to do it. In football you can only score by getting the ball in the net, but it’s like the players don’t realise this, and they’re dancing around, passing the ball to each other in the middle of the pitch where there are no nets to score in. Then there’s a referee waving his arms around in a ridiculous, over-the-top, dramatic and slightly gay fashion and blowing his whistle for no apparent reason. Everyone then gets upset and he’ll send someone off and the crowds will jeer then it’ll all start up again. FFS. What’s it all about? What does it all mean?
The thing is – as a Wag – you’re not supposed to ask such questions or know things like that. Knowledge is about as much use to a Wag as a kettle is to a humming bird. But, you know what? We’re going to break with convention here, and if you don’t tell anyone, and I don’t tell anyone, we might just get away with it. Here, then is a little guide to the beautiful game for the most beautiful people…the Wags.
What are these laws of the game?
They say things like exactly what size and shape the pitch should be, how big the goals should be, how big the ball should be and how many players there should be in a team and all that sort of nonsense, which is a bit of a shame really, it would be funny if a team turned up to play in the European Championships with a ball the size of a space hopper. They can’t though; damn rules!
What are penalties?
This is when we go out to Germany. Always. Let’s not dwell on this.
OK, enough of this technical nonsense, tell me about scoring:
Scoring in football couldn’t be easier – you just have to belt the ball over the goal line when the ball is in play. The whole of the ball has to cross the line (It’s so easy you wonder why the players don’t do it more frequently). It’s at this point that the players either run around pretending to be airplanes, jump into a pile and start kissing one another, or stand back and watch as Crouchy does a rather ridiculous robotic dance.
Come on then – we might as well deal with it here: how does the off-side rule work?
There are many ways in which to explain how off-side works, many different scenarios to present, but the simple fact is – the best way to explain off-side is through shopping. That’s why understanding the off-side rule is SO EASY if you’re a Wag.
We all know that shopping for sunglasses takes up a great deal of a wag’s time. Knowing where to go to buy sunglasses so large they make you look like a terrifyingly large beetle is a fundamental wag skill. So it makes sense that we should use this skill as a method to explain the terrifyingly stupid off-side rule.
OK…you are at the back of a sunglasses shop, looking through some spectacular new Prada glasses when you realise that the super-cool, new sunglasses, straight off the noses of the likes of Alex Gerrard and Coleen Rooney, are all by the till. The trouble is that another girl has also spotted the £600 delights, and she is between you and them. To make matters more complicated, your footballer boyfriend, who is obviously going to pay for the shoes, is still standing at the back of the store, scratching himself and playing infantile games on his mobile phone. What do you do? The rules of offside in football decree that you cannot barge past the girl between you and the sunglasses, and head for the tills while your boyfriend (team-mate) throws his credit card (the ball) over. What you have to do is get your boyfriend to throw his credit card to you first, then you can barge past the girl who is eyeing up YOUR SUNGLASSES, and head for the till (goal). Simple!
Isn’t that marvelous! It turns out that if you’re good at shopping, you can understand football! So if you want to understand what’s happening on the pitch in Euro 2012, you’d better get yourself down to the shops NOW. Buy stuff, or you’ll never understand the off-side rule.