The so-called ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial between Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy is raging on with Rooney expected to give evidence this Friday. The legal battle is a culmination of a rivalry that began way back in 2019 when Wayne Rooney was playing in the United States and Jamie Vardy was chasing his first-ever Premier League Golden Boot.
For those who don’t know or simply don’t care, these two have been locked in a bitter feud for that couple of years over journalistic leaks and libelous comments. Allegedly, Coleen’s private stories and social media posts have been leaked to the press by Vardy and this allegation has resulted in the ongoing trial. It’s seen leaked WhatsApp messages, angry social media posts, and widespread name calling so far and the trial looks to get even more heated from here.
If it sounds like a load of playground-level nonsense, it’s because it is. Not only does this saga take up valuable column inches, but it also affects the perception of English football and its influence may even trickle down to the current squad.
I think it’s fair to say this trial brings shame to our national sport. Just as Gareth Southgate and co. have changed the public perception of our national team and rid its culture of the WAG obsession that was so common in the mid 2000s and early 2010s.
I believe England’s dismal 2006 World Cup campaign was the height of WAG culture. Despite boasting an unbelievably talented squad featuring Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, David Beckham, and Wayne Rooney, the tabloids were too busy covering the players’ wives and girlfriends watching in the stands. This took focus away from the squad as they limped through the group stage only to be unceremoniously dumped out by Portugal in the quarter finals.
Had the media, public, and squad all been aligned on the same wavelength then maybe England’s World Cup campaign would have gone a lot more smoothly and the ‘golden generation’ could have achieved a lot more. Whilst the WAGS certainly the only problem that the team faced (the coaching of Sven-Goran Eriksson left a lot to be desired), their presence undoubtedly affected the focus of the squad.
WAG culture has been mostly eradicated from English football, much to the benefit of the national team. People have conflicting opinions on the sanitized, media-trained personalities of modern players, but one benefit this has is the press focusing more on what happens on the pitch rather than what may happen off it. The current trial, however, threatens to undo all of this progress and send English football back to its sensationalized past.
England Football Must Be Protected
The trial is ongoing and I’m already sick of hearing about it. Regardless of who ‘wins’ the trial or not, English football will suffer. With the 2022 World Cup just a few months away, the national team needs to be as united as possible if it plans to bring the big gold trophy back to its rightful home.
I hope Mr. Southgate recognises the potential problems this circus event may cause and stamps out any feelings of negativity around the England squad. Whilst Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy are long past their England careers, their influence on players is still probably rather large.
The spirit cultivated by today’s England national team must be protected at all costs and trials like the one we’re seeing now are a ghastly reminder of a tacky era in the story of our national game. Once it concludes, I hope it’s the last we see of WAG culture in football.
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