Who wants to lose the World Cup? WAG culture

In the beginning, there was football. On the first day, there was light, and Brazil illuminated the void. The second day brought forth Italy, glowing with passion. The third day saw France emerge, spurred on by fierce national pride. The fourth day dawned and Argentina weaved their way across the land. The fifth day saw a lull in creation and hence Germany was born, along with a stoic approach to their game. On the sixth day, England was created, and with them came a cultural by-product of their existence. The seventh day brought rest and recuperation from any knocks picked up by trailing legs and ill-timed lunges.
The beautiful game has seen dramatic changes in recent years. While many have been beneficial in improving game quality and international standing, others have been seriously detrimental for its reputation. The aforementioned by-product of English football is the inane emergence of the wives and girlfriends of the national team’s players as celebrities in their own right. The acronymic WAG culture has seen more headlines since its establishment than the England squad’s exploits on a football pitch, perhaps lending us a clue to its controversial prominence in one of the world’s leading sporting nations.
To study the impact WAGs have had on modern English football (especially in the light of recent revelations), we must first take a look at the shambolic 2006 World Cup. Baden-Baden, a boutique Bavarian town, secured its place in the sporting hall of notoriety after the invasion of WAGs during the Three Lions campaign in Germany. The ever increasing spending habits of the footballers’ better halves took on astronomic proportions in the once peaceful Black Forest town. However, cometh the WAG, cometh the tabloid press, cometh the scandal, cometh the arguments…and so on. The English team collapsed (yet again) in the quarter finals to Portugal and immediately, a share of the blame was laid on the Gucci covered shoulders of Victoria Beckham, Cheryl Cole, Nancy Dell’Olio et al. We may look back at these simpler times and wonder why such controversy was stirred up over expensive spa treatments and designer clothing splurges. However the problem was more deeply rooted than it superficially seems with changes having to be made to the squad’s schedule so as to meet with the WAGs demands.
The age of the WAG was certainly upon us, breeding countless fitness DVD’s, spats between players and needless to say, controversy. For four years now, the tabloid press of Britain has churned out daily stories on the likes of Abbey Clancy (Peter Crouch’s fiancé) and Cheryl Cole (Ashley Cole’s wife, for now). The highly publicised fall-outs, arguments and war-of-words that still continues between many of the “2006 WAGs” still provides a basis to sell newspapers. Unfortunately, one cannot see an end to this depressing trend, as the WAG provides an amalgamated sales pitch for any marketing executive-the fame brought by their footballing partner, the mandatory good looks and the often vogue-setting clothes they wear, ensures that in the current celebrity driven climate, a WAG endorsement is as good as any other.
Recent revelations have further sullied English football’s relationship with the WAG, and for now, they seem to be one of the major divisive factors in team dressing rooms. The sports world is conscious of John Terry’s infidelities and that handshake that didn’t happen with Wayne Bridge, but why the sudden rush of ill-will towards the WAG in 2010? Reasons are manifold-it’s a World Cup year and England’s “golden generation” are coming to their prime, a WAG-abetted premature denouement to the competition would mean serious consequences for those involved. Fabio Capello has marked himself out as “anti-WAG” culture and all it brings, citing the absence of such in Spain, Italy and France, England’s more successful European neighbours. Finally, the English Football Association does not wish to revisit the couture-lined streets of Baden-Baden again.
The WAG is, of course, just another part of the global brand name of soccer nowadays. Roy Keane, Alex Ferguson and the aforementioned Mr Capello disagree with the image and sway they bring to the football pitch. However, 2.5 million readers of Hello magazine can’t be wrong, can they?