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Football WAGS

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I've decided to make a thread for WAGs. Thanks to Nemeside for the idea. For those of you who doesn't know what WAGs is here is the definition:Wives And Girlfriends of the England national football team. Here is an article from Wikipedia about WAGs.


WAGs (or Wags) was an acronym used particularly (but by no means exclusively) by the British tabloid press to describe the Wives And Girlfriends of the England national football team. It came into common use during the 2006 World Cup, held in Germany, although it had been used occasionally before that.


The first recorded use of the term was in 2004. In 2006 it was generally printed as "WAGs", but a singular, "Wag" or "WAG", quickly came into vogue, even though the singular form would correctly have been "wife or girlfriend": for example, "any additional pounds she gained during Wag drinking sessions"; "a property heiress, model and actress, appears a likely sports WAG". Susie Dent's annual Language Report for the Oxford University Press (2006) capitalised the entire acronym as "WAGS".

"WAG"/"wag" came also to be used somewhat tautologically ("deluxe-edition Wag girlfriend") and increasingly in non-footballing contexts: for example, the first wife of comedian Peter Cook (1937-95) was described as a "Sixties Wag" and actress Jennifer Ellison, because of her former choice of clothes, "once ... the epitome of a Wag". Fashion writer Shane Watson coined a collective noun, "waggery".

WAGs of 2006

See also list of WAGs of 2006.

Prominent WAGs of 2006 included Victoria Beckham, wife of former England captain David Beckham, whom the New Yorker described as "Queen of the wags" and the Sunday Times as "the original Wag"; Cheryl Cole, née Tweedy, of the group Girls Aloud, who married Ashley Cole in July 2006 ("Wag weds"); Coleen McLoughlin, girlfriend of Wayne Rooney, who was variously described as a "chavette", dubbed by the tabloid newspaper The Sun a "super WAG" and, by the end of the year, listed by the Times as a "national treasure" [; and Carly Zucker, fiancée of Joe Cole, who was a fitness instructor, described by Susie Whally in the Sunday Times as a "new WAG on the block [who] has set the tone for the season's most wanted muscles". In 2007 the Times referred to Steven Gerrard's fiancée Alex Curran as an "über- WAG" ("tussling over the remote with his über- WAG fiancée" ). Another WAG engendered considerable interest due to her relative youth - she was A-level student Melanie Slade, the girlfriend of Theo Walcott, who, at seventeen, was himself the youngest member of the England squad.

Nancy Dell'Olio, an Italian property lawyer who was the girlfriend of the then England coach Sven-Göran Eriksson, enjoyed quite a high public profile of her own, partly as a result of long-running press interest in aspects of Eriksson's private life.

WAG activities during the World Cup

Baden BadenParticular attention was paid to WAGs' nights out and shopping expeditions in the spa town of Baden-Baden, where the England team was based. It was estimated in the press that the combined spending of English WAGs during the World Cup was of the order of £1 million, although, despite reports of a collective hotel bill of over £250,000 and the consumption of £40 bottles of champagne, no specific evidence for this figure was advanced. Interest was such that physician Thomas Stuttaford wrote an article for the Times in which he concluded that their shopping sprees were unlikely to have been a manifestation of the clinical condition of compulsive control disorder.

Some people, though, became tired of what they regarded as some of the wags' apparently empty lifestyle. And, more significantly, the Sunday Times reported the apparent concerns of some members of the English Football Association's board that interest in the WAGs had at times tended to overshadow the performance of the England team itself, which was eliminated from the tournament in the quarter-finals. Lisa Armstrong, novelist and fashion editor of the Times, reflected that "if the England team had been as keen to outperform one another as the WAGs, [they]'d have slaughtered the opposition". Accordingly, there were suggestions that the presence of WAGs might not be welcome during future competitions ("FA sends off Wags for non-stop partying") and, indeed, England midfielder Steven Gerrard reflected that, in 2006, "really, the FA should have flown the WAGs in and out".

Political comparisons

The WAGs' activities did however provide a "benchmark" of sorts. A Labour member of the UK Parliament, Denis MacShane, described the Conservative Party's summer ball of 2006 (for which tickets cost £400) as "mak[ing] the WAGs of Baden Baden look like the Bloomsbury set", a comparison with the "Bohemian" artistic group of the early 20th century that grew up initially around sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf.

Leo Beckett, husband of British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett was described as the "political equivalent of a WAG" because of the extent to which he accompanied his wife on official business.

Implications for fashion

Coleen McLoughlin modelling for George at Asda: Times Magazine, 9 September 2006Fashion writers of 2006 identified certain consequences of what Lisa Armstrong described as “WAG fall-out” and Tina Gaudoin as "Waglash".[ These were mostly the perceived negative implications of “over-exposure” of certain styles: for example, that the Hermès “Birkin” bag had become less desirable as a result of being de rigueur among WAGs in Baden-Baden(a development dubbed by Shane Watson as "baglash"); or that reaction to WAGs’ excessively coiffed hair and “vacant perfection” had perhaps been the "tipping point” for a revival of fashions of the 1980s, commended by Armstrong as “the last era of anti-slick”. Armstrong also assured readers who wished to perfect the elements of "beach chic" that the use of denture cleaner to whiten the tips of nails would not make them "look like a WAG", while her colleague Sarah Vine offered advice on "buying some nice perfume that won't make you smell like a WAG on heat".

However, some women aspired to the "WAG" look. Coleen McLoughlin noted that "apparently more and more women are getting into debt because they try to shop and party like a footballer's wife. If I heard of anyone doing that, I'd tell them to get a grip". Sunday Times columnist India Knight observed, while waiting in an airport queue, that "it's as if a low-level wannabe footballer's wife vibe that is neither aesthetically pleasing nor edifying has become the norm ... I saw this phenomenon en masse". Among other features, Knight identified "enough pink glitter to satisfy the girliest of five-year-olds", massive handbags and huge designer sunglasses.

Reflecting on sunglasses as an accessory, Sunday Times Style's senior fashion writer Colin McDowell suggested that, whereas women had been sure that the poise of Jacqueline Kennedy (1929-94) and Audrey Hepburn (1929-93), style icons of the mid-20th century, had been due to their shading their eyes, "Wags ... far from using dark glasses to encourage others to leave them alone, treat them as a weapon to attract and excite the paparazzi".


Interest in the partners of footballers dates back at least to the late 1960s when England captain Bobby Moore (1941-93) and his first wife Tina were regarded as a stylish and "golden" couple. Such interest scaled new heights in the late 1990s and early 21st century with the marriage (in 1999) of David Beckham to singer Victoria Adams ("Posh Spice") of the Spice Girls. The couple were almost universally known as "Posh and Becks" and every aspect of their relationship and nuance of dress were subjected to scrutiny in the press and other media. Victoria Beckham was quoted as saying that she and her husband had "so many wider interests ... fashion, make-up. I mean you think, yeah, football's great, and singing's great. But you've got to look at the bigger picture".

Footballers' wives

Footballers' Wives, 2002 (DVD of ITV drama series)It was widely assumed that perceptions of the lifestyle of Victoria Beckham influenced the ITV drama series Footballers' Wives (2002) and in particular the character of Chardonnay Lane-Pascoe (played by Susie Amy). The term "footballer's wife" came to be associated with a spouse leading a "high" life of socialising and shopping. Broadly speaking "Footballer's wife" and "WAG" were synonymous, but the latter was more generic, while the former connoted someone who seemed particularly pampered, perhaps with some of the characteristics also of an "Essex girl".

An illustation of this distinction was possibly provided by singer Louise Nurding, formerly of the group Eternal, who married Liverpool and England midfielder Jamie Redknapp in 1998. Though a celebrity in her own right, who even posed from time to time for "glamour" photographs for "lads'" magazines (she was FHM's "sexiest woman of the decade" in 2004), her lifestyle, and that of her husband, was essentially unostentatious and apparently uncomplicated. Therefore, while she might, by definition, have been described as a "WAG", the eponym, "footballer's wife", would arguably have been unsuitable.

During the 2005-6 season the actress Joanna Taylor, wife of Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Danny Murphy, wrote a regular column for the Times whose title, "Footballer's Wife", was no doubt partially ironic.

WAGs Boutique: once a WAG, always a WAG?

In January 2007 a "reality" television series called WAGs Boutique (ITV2) was launched. This featured two teams of WAGs (few of whom had been among the party in Baden Baden the previous year) who competed to run fashion boutiques over a period of three months. The separation of one of the contenders, Michaela Henderson-Thynne, from her erstwhile partner, Middlesbrough midfielder Stewart Downing, raised some issues of principle and terminology. Giles Smith in the Times enquired whether "one can still be registered as a WAG after one has separated from one's footballer?" Smith noted also that a former beauty queen and controversial Celebrity Big Brother contestant, Danielle Lloyd, whose relationship with West Ham United's Teddy Sheringham was "less than concrete", was referred to, during a guest appearance on WAGs Boutique, as "an on-off WAG". Smith wondered whether, in those moments when a woman was an "off-WAG", she was really a WAG at all .

Les Wags and die WAGs

As if to emphasise the perceptive opinion of former England full-back Jimmy Armfield that there was "a real international flavour to this World Cup", the Sunday Times published a photograph of the wives of French players Thierry Henry and David Trézéguet with the caption "French Wags Nicole Henry and Beatrice Trezeguet share a smacker [i.e. kiss]".

For its part, the French press referred to the English wives and girlfriends ("les épouses et petites amies des joueurs") as "les Wags": "Et lorsque les Wags ont fini leur shopping ..." [And when the Wags had finished their shopping]. Similarly, in Germany, "die WAGs" was adopted. Seiten Blicke, for example, carried a story ("Ich bin keine WAG!") about Cheryl Tweedy's apparently disclaiming the appellation of "WAG": "Ich war bei Girls Aloud bevor ich Ashley [Cole] kennlernte ..." [i was with Girls Aloud before I got to know Ashley].

Father of the girlfriend of a footballer

When Melanie Slade's father, Councillor John Slade, was installed as Mayor of Southampton, Hampshire on 17 May 2006, he was introduced by a fellow councillor, Alec Samuels, as "about the most famous mayor this city has had in 790 years ... He is the father of the girlfriend of a footballer".


When it was announced in 2007 that David Beckham would be joining the American club Los Angeles Galaxy, the Mail on Sunday referred to the "LA WAGs whose husbands earn less in ten years than Beckham in one week". The Mail claimed that these WAGs, who included actress Bianca Kajlich, were "stay-at-home girls" who "possess not a Chloé dress, a Prada handbag or a Manolo Blahnik shoe between them. And they are awaiting the arrival of Victoria Beckham with some trepidation".

Sunday League WAGs

A website was set up in early 2007 dedicated to the WAGs of the Sunday Football Leagues across the UK. http://www.sundayleaguewags.co.uk

BTW, Cheryl Tweedy is the best WAG!

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WAGs of 2006

WAGs (wives and girlfriends) of the England football team during the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany included:

Cheryl Cole, née Tweedy, member of Girls Aloud and wife of Ashley Cole.

Victoria Beckham, née Adams, wife of England captain David Beckham.

Coleen McLoughlin, fiancée of Wayne Rooney.

Carly Zucker, a fitness instructor and fiancée of Joe Cole.

Vanessa Perroncel, actress and girlfriend of Wayne Bridge.

Lisa Roughead, fiancée of Michael Carrick.

Rebecca Ellison, girlfriend of Rio Ferdinand.

Michaela Henderson-Thynne, then girlfriend of Stewart Downing.

Alex Curran, fiancée of Steven Gerrard.

Elen Rives, fiancée of Frank Lampard.

Melanie Slade, 17 year old student and girlfriend of Theo Walcott.

Nicola Hart, wife of Jamie Carragher.

Abigail Clancy, also known as Abi (or later Abbey), on-off (currently on) girlfriend of Peter Crouch.

Louise Bonsall-Owen, wife of Michael Owen.

Emma Hadfield, fiancée of Gary Neville.

Toni Poole, fiancée of John Terry.

Nancy Dell'Olio, ex-girlfriend of former England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson.

Sabrina Keogh, girlfriend of Jermaine Jenas.

Aimee Barton, girlfriend of Scott Carson.

Charlotte Meares, fiancée of Jermaine Defoe.

Rebecca Robinson, wife of goalkeeper Paul Robinson.

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