Rhiannon Harries: South Africa won't be fun without Posh et al to set tongues wagging

Share
Related Topics

His players may not yet have set foot on a South African pitch, but England manager Fabio Capello (see How We Met, page 54) has already proved himself quite the tactician. Since his initial "WAGs Not Wanted" World Cup policy met with defiance, Fab switched to classic reverse psychology: "All right gals, if you want to sit in a hotel room in rainy Rustenburg..." A few are said to be planning to fly out should England reach the final, but let's just say they're not dusting off the Louis Vuitton trunks quite yet.

Besides the nifty strategising, Capello's decision to go easy on a group of women he only recently referred to as a "virus" marks a softening in attitudes more generally. After a heady ascent to the top of the trash-mag pile, the WAGs have been absorbing a slow-mo backlash ever since Baden-Baden, when they put the boys off their game with all that over-accessorising.

Back on home turf, they have been held responsible for every social ill going – mindless consumerism, binge drinking, the sexualisation of young girls. "Terrible role models!", commentators howled, to the extent you'd be forgiven for believing that women from across the country have been refusing university places and Cabinet seats in favour of lolling artfully on the banquettes at Whisky Mist in the hope of snagging a Premiership player.

Now, the mood has shifted again and there's a little more love going around. Partly this is due to the shabby behaviour of the WAGs' spouses – Ashley Cole did a great job of turning Cheryl into a latter-day saint. But the WAGs have had to toe the line themselves.

Mrs Beckham threw herself into her range of demure frocks and miraculously emerged with a smidgen of credibility, and most WAGs have toned down the Tango tan and porn-star chic. Coleen Rooney is now regularly snapped in ultra-sophisticated Parisian label Lanvin (pictured) and, as one fashion journalist noted meaningfully, some of them even wear trousers now.

Last week, for a BBC documentary, a group of WAGs visited South Africa to highlight the poverty the festivities will obscure. A worthy gesture – but I suspect, like the posh frocks, partly motivated by the wish to be taken seriously.

But the only problem the WAGs have ever had is being taken far too seriously – as symbols of our epoch, symptom of this or cause of that. Treated as a frothy sideshow for people not that interested in the game, they – like their Ronseal tans – did what they said on the tin. Now, most of them have bowed to pressure and Pygmalion-ed themselves. My World Cup will be all the poorer. Still, we'll always have Baden-Baden, I suppose.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A police officer carries a casualty to safety  

Tunisia attack proves that we cannot stop terrorists carrying out operations against Britons in Muslim countries

Robert Verkaik
Alan Titchmarsh MP?  

Alan Titchmarsh MP? His independent manifesto gets my vote

Jane Merrick
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with excess, cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies