Trophy wives and their claret jug kids

Click to follow
The Independent Online

God, that kid! That spoilt little madam! What did she think she was doing? More to the point, what did the people standing somewhere behind the television camera think they were doing by encouraging her to keep smirking and sticking her tongue out? Because someone was clearly humouring the little minx...

God, that kid! That spoilt little madam! What did she think she was doing? More to the point, what did the people standing somewhere behind the television camera think they were doing by encouraging her to keep smirking and sticking her tongue out? Because someone was clearly humouring the little minx...

Sorry. Bit overwrought there. I'm just letting off a little steam over last Sunday's BBC interview with the newly established Open golf champion, Todd Hamilton - an interview which featured not just the store owner's son from Oquawka, Illinois but the store owner's grand-daughter, perched on daddy's arm, being slyly and triumphantly rude.

I blame Dennis Wise. Not that I think he was the one in the crowd egging her on. But I hold him responsible for the current vogue of turning moments of sporting triumph into family affairs.

Taking his five-month-old son Henry up the Wembley steps with him in 2000 to accept the FA Cup for Chelsea was naffness in action. Thankfully we were spared an action replay for Millwall in this summer's final at Cardiff. You shudder to think what a cup presentation ceremony for Wise's First Division underdogs might have entailed. All Henry's old mates from Tumble Tots, perhaps? Or maybe his entire nursery group?

Upon reflection, however - and I never thought I'd say this - I may have been unfair on Millwall's inaptly named player-manager. Alex Higgins. Yes. He's the one to blame.

Although Higgins managed to collect the World Championship snooker trophy all by himself in 1982, it was only moments before he was joined by his wife and child, and their tearful embrace, it has to be said, made for great television.

In Higgins's case there was an especial emotional charge to this family reunion at his moment of glory given his widely publicised marital troubles in the preceding months. Nevertheless, that affecting scene established a template which has subsequently sanctioned mass banality.

Football you might expect to be affected. David Beckham introducing his son on to the Old Trafford pitch, complete with named replica kit and boots, is part of the same naff continuum.

But golf. Golf is supposed to be traditional. Golf is supposed to foster the old virtues. How can a sport that gets its knickers in a twist about Ian Poulter's Union flag trousers continue to foster the saccharine charms of the family-in-attendance? No sooner had Scott Drummond earned an unlikely victory in this year's PGA Championship than he was joined on the 18th green by his baby.

Phil Mickelson's long-awaited first major victory in the Masters at Augusta was but a prelude to a backstage - but, crucially, front-camera - hug-in with doting wife and daughter. Daddy won! And even the unflappable Ernie Els incurred black marks at this year's Open, according to one observer, by allowing his daughter to run all over the supposedly sacrosanct practice green at Troon.

Bloody kids! They're everywhere! The Rugby League had the right idea when they issued a ban on players involving children in post-match celebrations at set pieces such as the Challenge Cup final.

What was once an occasional feature, such as Bobby Goulding with his son amid St Helens' jollities in the early Nineties, has become a trend over the last five years, to the point where the authorities have felt the need to act firmly.

A Rugby League official explained this week, with a voice full of regret, that the initiative was primarily a matter of health and safety.

I can fully understand that. The sight of all those hyperactive, over-indulged, out-of-control mini-me's running here, there and everywhere would surely prompt anyone halfway sane to... (The rest of this column has been cut due to a lack of acceptable restraint.)

Comments