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It’s Not Over – The Bob Woolmer Mystery

wo3.jpgYOU have to feel some sympathy for Ireland’s cricketers.

There to make up the numbers, the Irish beat the might of Pakistan in the World Cup only to have their moment in the sun eclipsed by bigger news: Andrew Flitnoff’s booze cruise and Bob Woolmer’s death.

Or was Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, murdered?

There is a plot that unites Flintoff’s antics with Woolmer’s demise. It is, admittedly, a fanciful and macabre matter – a man has, after all, perished in suspicious circumstances. But are there missing moments from Flintoff’s night out? Is anyone above suspicion?

As the Guardian reports, Jamaican police are treating Woolmer’s death as suspicious.

“We’re going through a process of speaking to people, including members of the team,” Mark Shield, deputy commissioner of the Jamaican force, tells local radio.

There is talk of match fixing, of betting syndicates and of murder. “No, we are not saying that,” says Shield. “It’s the old adage – we have to keep an open mind.”

Pakistani team officials are heard telling reporters there has been blood and vomit in Woolmer’s room. A struggle? Poison? Linseed oil?

Says former Pakistani fast bowler Safraz Nawaz: “Woolmer’s death has some connection with the match-fixing mafia.”

The Guardian notes that at the time of his passing, Woolmer was writing two books – one on coaching, the other a sequel to his autobiography. Says Woolmer’s wife: “I have the manuscripts with me, but I have not read them. I cannot tell you when they will published but they are in the final stages.”

A book that would have garnered little interest beyond the world of cricket is now a whodunit?. What clues lie within the covers? What intrigue?

And while we speculate, here comes the team. A minute’s silence. Wet eyes. Sideways looks. And then Pakistan – who lost to Ireland – rack up their highest World Cup score of 349.

The vicissitudes of international sport, eh. One minute you can’t beat World Cup novices Ireland on St Patrick’s Day, the next moment you’re thrashing the relative might of Zimbabwe.

This is why we watch sport – to see the best and to see the shocks. Not that many of us are watching the actual matches; they’re on subscription-only satellite telly.

The bigger show is not…

Posted: 22nd, March 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment

Thar She Blows – Rachel Flintoff Lets Off Steam

flintoff1.jpgRACHEL Flintoff, wife of cricketing privateer Andrew Flintoff, says her man is “stupid”.

As has been recorded in the annals of sporting legend, Flintoff’s stupidity was to have stayed up late on a work night, drunk too much and set sail on a pedalo.

“Freddie!” screams the headline. “You’re a stupid bugger.”

Rachel, pictured in a grey top, staring into the camera and ruffling her brown hair, tells the Mirror the first things she’ll tell her husband is that he’s a ”stupid bugger”.

Says Rachel: “Andrew is extremely hardworking and extremely loyal… He can be in constant pain and covered in blisters and will still keep going for five more days.”

England management team should be thankful the pedalo capsized. Had Flintoff’s vessel been equipped with a pair of oars, it’s not hard to imagine the tireless sportsman fighting the pain barrier as he approaches the Colombian mainland.

But it’s good that he did not. England need Flintoff. And so does Rachel.

As Rachel, the face of Persil washing powder, tells us, she has a new bikini – “It’s brown and looks like leather. I’ve got about four really nice ones to take with me.”

Rachel is all set to join her husband out in the Caribbean sunshine.

Avast! Permission to come aboard? Splice the main brace and peddle like you mean it.

And don’t worry about the calluses on your hands, Flintoff – Rachel’s bikini can take it…

Posted: 21st, March 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment

Andrew Flintoff Is Barney Rubbled At Cricket World Cup

flintoff-drinking.jpgANDREW Flintoff is “troubled” at the cricket World Cup. Or, given his ‘Freddie’ Flintoff nickname, Andrew Flintoff is Barney Rubbled.

“I feel ashamed and I’ve let a lot of people down – the team, the management, the public and my family and friends back home,” says one of England’s leading pedalo enthusiasts in the Sun.

Flintoff is pictured looking glum. He is also pictured knocking back a bottle of larger in the Shed bar, Perth, on the day England lost the Ashes.

Does he have a drink problem? Can Flintoff tell us, perhaps, about his demons, how he battles drink and how rehab is the only course left open to him?

“Sometimes I have the capacity to go a bit further than I should,” says he. “It’s something I’m aware of and I’m now saying it won’t happen again.”

But what if it does? Will Flintoff go into therapy and write about his dark days and darker nights in thrall of booze? Will flintoff’s next autobiography feature his greatest Test, how alcohol bowled him over?

“Possibly a drink is a release from the pressure – but I don’t want to go down that road,” says Flintoff. He adds: “But I don’t want to have to drink to release the pressure.”

A drink can work wonders. Indeed, Flintoff’s grandma Elsie, 80, tells the Sun: “If they can’t have a binge now and again, it is a poor do.”

But the Sun’s resident doctor says there’s “every sign” Flintoff’s losing his judgment and self control” – “what’s more worrying, from a medical view, is drinking to drown sorrows – as his latest bender suggests.”

Does it? To the untrained eye Flitnoff’s commandeering of a pedalo at 4am and setting sail on the Caribbean Sea suggests a man looking to put the tin lid on a boozy evening out with the lads. Are we now to view the boat trip as a cry for help? Was Flintoff trying to drown his sorrows, if not his greater self?

And can you drown in lager?

Picture: The Spine

Posted: 20th, March 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (2)

Andrew Flintoff – From ShipFaced to Shamefaced

flintoff-drink.jpgFROM “SHIP FACED” to shamefaced, England cricketer Andrew Flintoff tells of “MY HURT”.


Not that high, though – this is no tale of England’s great all-rounder inhaling the local fumes. This is not Ian Botham and so much Hashes To Ashes in 1986.

This is not Botham, who tells the Sun: “I’m laughing. I find it all quite amusing.” Of course, Botham may find all manner of things amusing since those heady days of the mid-80s.

But Flintoff is not laughing. “I should not have done what I did and there are no excuses,” says he. “It was unnecessary high jinx and I have had to accept the consequences… All I can say is sorry.”

No laughing.

No laughing as Flintoff drinks amid team-mates and fans on the strip in St Lucia. No laughing as Flintoff pushes a pedalo into the sea at 4am and sets sail. No laughing as Flintoff falls off said pedalo.

You can imagine the stony-faced silence as England’s most recognisable and likeable player threatens to go down with his tiny canary yellow ship. How shocked the sober fans looking on much have been.

To prove just how serious this matter is, the Mirror, in an exclusive not altogether unlike the Sun’s exclusive, hears from one horrified England supporter. “I watched as my heroes disgraced themselves in a marathon drinking binge,” says he. “I’ve spent thousands on this trip…I’m absolutely sickened.”

That’s what you get for being in England’s self-styled Barmy Army. You get to feel sick.

“LEGLESS BEFORE WICKET,” says the headline. England players Jon Lewis (pictured dancing!), Ian bell (sitting!) and James Anderson (WIDE EYED”, as a flash gun explodes in his face) are fined and shamed.

But the headlines belong to Flintoff. This is the Mail’s “Shaming of Freddie”. This is Freddie who is now stripped of the vice-captaincy and left out of the England team that took on and beat the might of Canada.

Flintoff on front page and back page. Flintoff hugging the Mail for dear life as his pedalo bobs away…

Flintoff not laughing so hard that he threatens to burst a rib and swallow so much sea…

Posted: 19th, March 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (4)

Freddie Flintoff’s Package Tour Cruise – Cricket World Cup

flintoff.jpgCRICKET’S World Cup is underway in the Caribbean and fans have been following the sunny and palm tree-shaded action.

For those of you without Sky TV, the illusion of looking at the action live can be maintained by banging a metal spoon on an upturned saucepan while looking at TV advertorials for tropical holidays.

But there is trouble in paradise. We talk not of England’s play – that was always going to be a side issue to the staple shots of women in bikini tops and conch shells – but of off-field antics.

“He’s full of shame. He said he can’t believe he’s done it,” says the New of The World’s source.

“He was out first ball in the game against New Zealand and has said he should have been focused on the next game. The team need to let their hair down once in a while but this was going too far.”

And England’s Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff would have gone further had the pedalo he’d commandeered at 4am, and after an 8-hour drinking session, not capsized.

Having consumed quantities of local tinctures and brews at Rumours club in St Lucia’s Rodney Bay – “Freddie was drinking beer as if it was going out of fashion” says a source – England’s all-rounder set out on the ocean wave.

“Freddie could have drowned out there,” says a source “close to Flintoff”. “It’s rough in that sea at night and it’s not particularly helpful if you’ve had plenty to drink.”

Readers learn: “He was out first ball in the game against New Zealand and has said he should have been focused on the next game. The team need to let their hair down once in a while but this was going too far.”

But let’s not be too hard on the lads. England’s players have days of spare time on their hands, often during Test matches as the match reaches a premature conclusion (see last Ashes series, a trigger for more England drinking).

As the NOTW reminds us, after England’s Ashes victory against Australia in 2005 Freddie and the team went on a “marathon drinking session and turned up drunk for their official reception at Downing Street the following day”. There was talk at the time of urinating in prime ministerial flowerbeds. When asked what he’d eaten, a red-eyed Freddie replied “a cigar”.

The hope is that England can return to those halcyon days. And on a fortnight’s package tour to the Caribbean, there is every chance they can…

Flintoff and Ian Bell were fined. Teammates Liam Plunkett, James Anderson and Jon Lewis were docked part of their match fee.

Posted: 18th, March 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment

The Ignorance Of Youth – Coleen Mcloughlin’s Wedding

beckham-wedding.jpgCOLEEN McLoughlin is too busy to marry her footballer.

When pressed on the issue of her marriage to Wayne Rooney, Wagtastic McLoughlin tells the Star: “I haven’t got time yet.”

But she finds time to go on to tell us, cryptically: “I didn’t know I was getting married in 2008. At the moment I’m just thinking of what I’m doing for my 21st.”

That is no small job, not for a Wag. And after that event Coleen tells us that she will plan when she’s to get married.

It is useful to remember how young Coleen is. And she may not have realised that marriage and her career can go hand in hand.

Many have tried it. And we urge Coleen to investigate the idea of inviting a glossy magazine to film and even pay for her nuptials.

It’s just an idea. But given Coleen’s breathless schedule, we believe it to be one she’d be wise to consider…

Posted: 16th, March 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment

Abigail Clancy Rides David Beckham’s Buzz

abigailclancy.jpgABIGAIL Clancy was the Wag who got England’s World Cup bid buzzing again when she became embroiled in a cocaine story.

Miss Clancy made us look at England’s striker Peter Crouch in an entirely new way.

Blessed with a “beanpole” physique and the kind of legs most often seen hanging from a flamingo’s nest, Peter had still managed to pull the leggy blonde.

And now things are looking up and up for Abigail. As the Star reports, the mo-del has landed a role on American telly.

Clancy is to star in a nine-part series called Diamonds In The Turf. It’s the tale of life in the Premier League. And Clancy plays the lead blonde.

As an insider tells us: “The show will aim to tell the story and will draw inspiration from the UK’s Footballers’ Wives, although it will be shot in mock documentary style.”

Footballers’ Wives was, as many rightly guessed, a fly-on-the-wall documentary made to look like a work of fiction.

It is not without interest that the Americans seek to add a new twist.

The action is centred on the LA Diamonds football/soccer team. Keen-eyed news watchers will spot how the show coincides with the arrival of David Beckham in California.

Soon it will be hard to spot where reality ends and fiction starts.

What odds that Clancy will meet Becks in the sunshine? And add a new twist to an old plot..?

Posted: 13th, March 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (3)

The Wag Trade – Is Cassie Sumner For Real

the-wag-trade-is-cassie-sumner-for-real.jpgWAGS Boutique – the TV show no-one’s talking about – has introduced the world to Cassie Sumner.

But for a while it seemed that glamour model Cassie had not been introduced to a footballer.

Stories abounded that Cassie had never stepped out with Michael Essien, the Chelsea’s midfielder. The footballer stated that he and Cassie had never been a couple.

But now Cassie tells OK! that she did date the footballer. Says Cassie: “I think he didn’t want me to do the show so I think he thought that if he dumped men the show would drop me.”

But reality was not to overly impact on the reality TV show. Cassie was kept on.

Once a Wag always a Wag is Cassie’s motto.

And now the Wag is here to tell us why she and her footballer split. It turns out that Essien had been engaged to a girl back home in Ghana for five years.

Cassie tells us that when her footballer paid for her to take a trip to Spain last year he had “actually flown over his fiancee to stay with him”.

Is this other woman bitter that Cassie and not she is on the TV show? Should Cassie be transferred?

Cassie does not say. But she does wear a dress by Ben de Lisi and shoes by Dune.

Cassie says she and her footballer’s relationship “mean nothing now”. But would she have been in OK! without it?

Or is being Wag more a state of mind than a thing of reality?

Posted: 7th, March 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (2)

Coleen McGloughlin & Wayne Rooney’s Score Drawers

coleen-mcgloughlin-wayne-rooneys-score-drawers.jpg“WAG Coleen McLoughlin is refusing to ask Wayne Rooney for a Hollywood-style prenup.”

So says the Sun, which seems to have got things the wrong way around. Surely if anyone should be suing for a prenuptial agreement it is McLoughlin’s footballer.

All the fairies were present when Coleen was born – not everyone can carry off a crocodile-skin bag injected with botox – but she still earns less than Wayne. And at just 21 years of age Coleen’s footballer has any big pay days ahead of him.

This is, of course, grossly unfair, an injustice. And in light of the recent move to place Wimbledon’s tennis playing women on an equal financial footing with the men, we urge Wags to be paid in line with their footballers.

It is not only the player who is transferred from club to club but so too the Wag, who is forced to find new outlets to shop in.

His career threatening injury is her career threatening injury. His defeat is her defeat.

“Now we have separate bank accounts,” says Coleen, “one for the house and stuff and then I have my own, which is nice because I don’t have to tell Wayne how much I’ve spent any more!”

But Coleen needs to keep her spending high, as befitting the Wag to a high-earning footballer. “I’ve bought things that I’ve thought weren’t worth what I paid for them, but if you’re enjoying them it doesn’t matter.”

As Coleen says in her latest tome, serialised in Now magazine: “The stereotype of the footballers’ wife or girlfriend seems to be all about bad taste, greed, Sunday paper kiss’n’tell stories and controversy as if our daily lies are some kind of over-the-top soap opera.”

But it is not about auld prostitutes, shopping, gold, crocodile-skin bags that cost over £1,000 and more shopping. It is about hard work. Coleen has written a book. And she has released a keep-fit DVD.

Coleen has met a footballer…

Posted: 6th, March 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment

Wag & Bob’s Tale

nicola-t.jpg“WHEN you’re sat in Row Z and the ball hits your head that’s Zamora…”

Bobby Zamora may not be the Premier League’s sharpest shooter but that doesn’t stop Nicola T pinning her hopes on the West Ham striker giving her the babies she craves.

“When the crowd sing his name it gives me the tingles,” says 24-year-old Nicola, speaking in the Sun’s article “I want to have Bobbie’s babies”.

Oh, the tingle of expectation, the frisson of the unexpected when Zamora gets the ball. That’s Amore.

And Bobby is romantic. Says Nicola: ““He’s lavished endless amounts of diamonds and designer dresses on me — but he once bought me something priceless which really proves he loves me.”


“I was at a photoshoot and got an excruciating pain. I went to the doctors and they discovered I had growths the size of golf balls around my ovaries.”

So what did Bobby do?

“There was a chance I could have lost my ovaries completely. The doctors wanted to operate immediately but it was going to cost £3,000. Bobby said, ‘We want babies one day so go and get it done.’”

So there are babies on the way. Is Nicole pregnant?

“Days later he gave me a beautiful Rolex watch — but it was his love and support that counted.”

Indeed. This from Nicole who once said: “We Page 3 girls make our living from our personalities as well as our looks. I love Bobby because he’s Bobby, not because he is a footballer.”

Which given his ability on the pitch is lucky…  It’s Amore…

Posted: 24th, February 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment

Coleen McLoughlin’s Footballers’ Wives Documentary

COLEEN McLoughlin wants to tell you something.

“Tell someone you go out with a Premiership footballer and a lot of people immediately draw conclusions about the type of girl you are,” says the whale-voiced Wag to Wayne Rooney’s footballer.

Coleen goes on: “It’s all about the money, they say. It’s about designer labels and jewellery, flash cars and champagne. It’s about fame.” Coleen concludes that “TV’s Footballer’s Wives has a lot to answer for”.

But surely at the heart of every stereotype lies a kernel of truth? While we agree with Coleen that not all footballer’s Wags are called Chardonnay or Cristal – we know of a Cheryl, a Coleen and a Victoria – Footballers’ Wives just lampooned the passion for material goods and fame.

And when we learn that Coleen and her footballer used to watch the show when it was on we fear that Coleen misunderstood and saw it as documentary, a how to guide to Wagdom.

But that was not all Coleen saw. She recalls the time when aged 16, she and Wayne were on their way out. They asked Wayne’s mum to record the hit show. She did. And when Coleen and Wayne returned they took up the pads and pencils, pressed play and got down to some hard study.

And then something still harder popped up as the show ended and a porn video grunted into life. To the Star this is “COLEEN PORN MOVIE SHOCK”.

The paper says that Wayne’s brother had “slipped the blue movie” on the end of the episode.

Say Coleen: “The programme finished and the next thing we knew we were staring at some porn video… Next thing Wayne ran into his brother’s bedroom and started whacking him round the head with the tape. Wayne’s brother had stitched us up.”

Boys of a certain age may well sympathise with Wayne’s brother. How he must have roared with delight to discover his porn film – the one he’d left in the video recorder – had been recorded over. What a hoot. And then your pugilistic brother runs in and smacks you in the head with the tape. Well, that puts the tin lid on truly great joke.

But back to Coleen. She’s on a boat, relaxing after the exertions of watching the World Cup. Coleen and her footballer are sailing round the south of France in a 100ft yacht.

“I could go on holiday every week of the year,” says Coleen. “But the work commitments I have, and with Wayne only getting a certain amount of time off when the season’s finished, it’s not possible.”

Who still says being a Wag is all plain sailing…

Posted: 21st, February 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment

Coleen McLoughlin Relives The Auld Days

coleen mcloughlin relives the auld daysMORE exerts from Wayne Rooney’s February 19 2007 autobiography as girlfriend Coleen McLoughlin tells all.

The Mirror has given over its cover and two pages to Coleen. These are her words taken from her autobiography.

There on the Mirror’s front page is Coleen. Speaking in a voice detectable only by whales and the Mirror’s hacks, Liverpudlian Coleen is in revealing mood.

Dressed in a V-neck sweater and little else, Coleen says: “When the story came out about Wayne and the prostitutes my life was suddenly turned upside down.”

In an instant we are back in Wayne’s formative footballing years as the tyro, then at Everton, spends a portion of his wages wooing Auld Slapper, a grandmother.

And quickly comes a revelation. Says Coleen: “The truth is…at that time I‘d never even slept with Wayne.”

The news of Wayne’s, alleged, dalliance with the elderly prostate hits Coleen hard. She turns to her Auntie Tracy and Uncle Shaun.

She wonders how she’s going to tell her “nan and granddad”. How will they react? Will one of them know Wayne’s wrinkly happy-smiling masseuse from the Post Office on pension day or bingo. Will nan give Wayne the eye and granddad grow watchful and, in time, resentful?

Auntie Tracy convinces the then 16-year–old Coleen to sort it out. She calls Wayne. He comes over. Words are said. Wayne and Coleen remain at Tracy’s for two weeks.

And now Coleen is in a quandary. These are two tense weeks of a young life. How much should she tell us now and how much should she save for later autobiographies.

She should avoid empathising with Wayne, thereby removing the danger of stealing material from his next autobiography.

Coleen decides on a course of action. She will not relive the entire two weeks at Auntie Tracy’s, only some key moments.

On the first night, Coleen and Wayne are sitting in Tracy’s front room. “I didn’t know whether I wanted to be with Wayne or not,” confides Coleen.

So what does she do? Does she stay with him? She tells Wayne of her uncertainties. “All Wayne kept repeating was how sorry he was.”

Coleen resists the urge, which must be considerable, to fill the nest chapter with the word “Sorry” said over and over and over. This she leaves to Wayne.

Instead she tells us that after a few days, they went to Manchester shopping. Another time they went to Blackpool Pleasure beach. They wore hats.

The rest is for another time. Another book…

Posted: 19th, February 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment

Guilty Pleasures – Ashley Cole Out, Spurs Lose & Chelsea Fight

FOOTBALL fans do not love the game. They love their teams.

Many is the Cup Final watched in the, admittedly misguided and downright nasty, hope that any minute there will be an explosion and the game featuring your team’s rivals will be rendered null and void.

This is shameful stuff. It is appalling. And when Arsenal fans see the Times’ picture of Ashley Cole writhing in agony on the Chelsea turf they must surely temper their broad smirks with the realisation that an injury can happen to any player in any game. That it should happen to the charmless CAshley Cole is by the by.

But there is no small pleasure to be had in watching the enemy suffer. As the Times writes of Arsenal’s Carling Cup semi-final win over North London rivals Spurs: “It was debatable which was the more enjoyable for Arsenal last night. Was it reaching the final of the Carling Cup…or the fact that it was Tottenham Hotspur, their great rivals, who they denied the chance of making the same trip?”

It is a close run thing. But given the importance Spurs place on winning any Cup, let alone just reaching a final, most Arsenal fans would take the latter. It might be the Mickey Mouse Cup, but it is the Mickey Mouse Cup that Spurs can’t win.

And as Arsenal fans have one of those days when it all just slots into place (“Cole Out For Season,” says the Star’s backpage headline), Manchester United roll on.

“Riding high,” says the Mail’s back page. United beat a doomed Watford 4-0 and keep their six point lead at the top of the Premier League.

That’s six points above Chelsea. The Blues beat Blackburn Rovers 3-0 and lose Ashley Cole (Sun: “Cole hit by horror KO” – does he still get paid a win bonus if he’s injured? This might be something Ashley asked as he was being carted off on a stretcher.)

Chelsea are in trouble. Of course, things are relative and the likes of Spurs would take any amount of in fighting and moaning if it meant being second in the Premier League, in the Champions League and in the final of the Carling Cup final.

And if things get too much for Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, he can always make way for Marcello Lippi. As the Sun reports, Italian football’s answer to Paul Newman is considering the position.

Says he: “I’m aware that I’m on the wanted list at a number of big clubs but specifically at Chelsea and I regard that as only natural.”

He goes on to show off his CV: “I have coached teams which have reached the Champions League final four times. I’ve won Serie A five times and of course the World cup, too.

That sounds not unlike an application. Mourinho, the self-styled “Special One”, seems less special, a little ordinary even.

Posted: 1st, February 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment

Ron(aldo) Atkinson

GEMMA Atkinson is the 22nd sexiest babe in the world, according to the Star’s knowing readership.

Gemma is sexier than Jade Goody (36), Imogen Thomas (40) and Paris Hilton (5449). Gemma is less sexy than Angelina Jolie (1), Cheryl Cole (4) and Jennifer Ellison (14).

Gemma, who features in the soap opera Hollyoaks and is currently appearing on the pro-celebrity singing contest Soapstar Superstar, is mixing with some high company. One day she may scale the lofty heights of the Star’s Top Ten. As she is reported to have scaled Manchester United’s winking winger Cristiano Ronaldo.

Gemma arrives on the Star’s cover page bent over and dressed in a pair of spotty stockings and a red sting vest. Yesterday the Sun told us that Gemma has been “enjoying steamy training sessions” with the Portugeezer.

Gemma has already dated one footballer, Charlton striker Marcus Bent. And back in February last year she romanced footballer’s son Calum Best. “Calum really loves busty ladies. And he couldn’t believe his luck when Gemma took his hand and led him into the toilet for a closer look,” said a source at the time. “They were all over each other in the back of the cab at the end of the night. And Calum couldn’t get his key in the lock quick enough.”

Now Gemma is with Ronaldo. Or not. “Hollyoaks Gemma on Ronaldo & sex,” advertises the Star’s front page, the teaser seeming to emerge from Gemma’s raised backside.

Inside, anther headline: “GEM: RON NEVER SCORED WITH ME.” Gemma, now dressed in a pink fishnet stockings and a shiny leather pelmet, says that she has been on a few dates with the footballer.

A “friend” tells us: “They are dating and nothing more. She’s not going to rush into anything so soon after splitting from Marcus.”

But what of the promised sex? Is Gemma letting Ronaldo hit the back, front and sides of her (fish)nets with a rare aplomb?

Gemma isn’t saying. Unlike much else about her, her romance with a top footballer is something she’s keeping under wraps…

Posted: 10th, January 2007 | In: Back pages | Comments (7)

Cupid’s Arrows

“GETTING the drinks is all part of and parcel of being a DWAG and I enjoy helping out and being there for him.”

The unmistakable voice of Gill O’Shea, lager wallah and wife to Tony ‘Silverback’ O’Shea, dartist.

The Lakeside World Professional Darts Championship has thrown off, or thrown up – what is it? – at Frimley Green, Surrey. The British Darts Organisation’s blue flagship event welcomes some of the great nicknames in British arts. And their wives.

Gill O’Shea is in conversation with the Sun. “I work part time as a lollipop lady,” she tells us. “I’m nothing like a footballer’s wife.”

No kidding.

Reading Gill’s words takes us back to the time when football was but a golden spark in Rupert Murdoch’s eye. (Is any modern Premiership footballer’s wife called Gill?)

Anorak recalls the end of Hunter Davies’s The Glory Game. The writer spends a year with the Spurs team of the 1971-72 season and ends the book by telling us what each player’s parent does for a living.

Darts deserves the same treatment. Charles ‘Chip’ McGrath, the former editor of the New York Times Book Review, said: the smaller the ball, the better the writer. There are no balls in darts. Imagine the book.

Listen as Marie George, wife to ‘King of Bling’ Bobby George tells us how she met her man at a function at a brewery where they worked.

Sharon Adams, wife of England captain Martin ‘Woolfie’ Adams, works full-time as a swimming teacher “as you never know when Martin’s big pay cheque will be”.

Jenny Fordham, wife to Andy ‘The Viking’ Fordham says: “Being a darts player’s wife means he gets to travel a lot and I get to iron a lot of shirt.” Fordham, the tournament’s winner in 2004, once weighed over 30 stone. Big shirts. Lots of ironing.

Andy is also the man whose response to the question “What colour underpants are you wearing today?” was: “Erm, I dunno, they’re just grey.”

So not so down to earth after all. As any fashion conscious Wag knows, grey is this season’s colour…

Posted: 6th, January 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment

Far From Oche

Ashes to ashes and darts to Holland…

“GODS of the game, super-beings of darts, commanders who would make Napoleon look like a private.”

Sid Waddell, the voice of darts, the man who famously surmised his beloved sport in “one word”: “magic darts.”

The PDC world title was trailed as a ferocious battle. Words could not do it justice. But Waddell had a go. Looking on as Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor took aim, Waddell called his early performance “pulverisational”.

Englishman Taylor, 13 times a world beater, would not lose to four-times world champion Ray ‘Barney’ Barneveld, the Dutchman who used to deliver post.

An Englishman always wins the darts. Occasionally the spoils are split around the British Isles and a Scotsman takes the spoils.

Taylor, dressed in a voluminous moo-moo, could not fail. He was winning. And then it went wrong. Waterloo. Barneveld wins 7 sets to 6.

But Taylor is phlegmatic. Says he: “Phil Taylor is just a pile of ashes at the moment. Well, at least I didn’t lose 5-0.”

Jokes as well. And poignancy. It takes a special kind of performance to be so rigorously thrashed as England’s timid cricketers have been in Australia.

But like the Ashes, the darts cup is on its way overseas. Both branches of world darts – the PDC and the lesser BDO – are now in Dutch hands, spoils to Barneveld and Jelle Klaasen, respectively.

The fight is on for England to win them back. But where are the young bucks? Where is the steely-eyed Ricky Ponting bristling with indignation, desperate not just to win back the crown but annihilate the opposition?

Taylor knows. “South, Africa, Japan and China,” says he, “all those countries are mad on darts. I have noticed the difference. They make us look like amateurs in the way they prepare.”

How much lager can you drink? “In Japan, China, Malaysia, these kids are doing six of seven hours a day – and it’s frightening.”

Can it be that the exotic splendour of the Circus Tavern in Purfleet will become darts’ Wimbledon, a British sporting mecca where Brits propped up on HRT and hooch cheer and foreigners take the prizes? Will British dartists be saddled with the cruellest of all sporting epitaphs: “plucky”? Is Bobby George just Tim Henman with gold teeth?

The nation is in the sporting mire. Barneveld has noticed. Says he: “Well, the Dutch rugby team is c**p, we could always send them over her to play you!”

Please don’t…

Posted: 4th, January 2007 | In: Back pages | Comment (1)

Lampard Shoots – And Scores?

IT’S not every day you meet a Spanish chauffeuse.

And the exotic nature of such a meeting may have been what unbalanced Frank Lampard, the Chelsea and England footballer. Did it cause him to forget himself and his lover Elen Rives?

The Sun spots Montse Lucas say on a bed. She is wearing a black negligee. She holds a glass of what could be a white chardonnay or Diamond White in her right hand.

And she has things to say. Says she of her meeting with Lampard: “Frank started to show me pictures of his baby girl Luna and her mother Elen Rives.” She says that a man showing off his family is “something any woman finds very sweet”.

It sure is endearing. As 34-year-old Montse says: “One minute he was showing me pictures of his family, the next we were in bed.”

She goes on: “I fell in love with Frank and still dream there may be a future for us.”

Dream on, say we. Having told her story to the Sun, will Frank now see Montse in a new light?

But she is an innocent. She did not even know that Frank was a ridiculously well paid footballer. “As I sat down, a couple of girls asked to have their pictures taken with Frank. I didn’t think too much of it,” she recalls.

Who would? Frank was just a nice bloke. Nice kids. Nice girlfriend. Nice wallet stuffed full of photos.

But Frank was keen to introduce himself. “You don’t know who I am, do you?” he is said to have asked his driver. “He told me he was a famous football player and I laughed and replied, ‘Yes, and I am Madonna’.”

Montse is not Madonna. Granted, she has blonde hair, shows us her bra top and strikes a provocative pose. But small African adopted son? We think not.

Not long after Montse is asking Frank’s agent for tickets to a Barcelona match against Chelsea. Frank may just be a footballer after all.

And she went looking for her tickets. She went to see Frank is his Barcelona hotel room. “I decided to go to Frank’s room. I was dressed entirely in black – high heels, shorts, a chemise top, jacket and matching lingerie.”

Why lingerie should be important in his ensemble we know not. And can only wonder if Montse wore it outside her shorts and top. Or is it part of the chauffeuse kit.

Frank was wearing a tracksuit. “There was an electric buzz of anticipation in the room,” says she. (Note: such tracksuits are often made from manmade fibres and static electricity is often an issue.)

“He asked me to stay, grabbed my hand and kissed me. Then he lifted me up so I was straddling him.”

Montse says they made love. Her head was “spinning”. She “melted” into his arms.

And the next day Lampard scored again. This time he was on the pitch. And many people had tickets…

Posted: 21st, December 2006 | In: Back pages | Comments (2)

Football Fans Get A Roasting

“ARE you the mystery girl or do you know who she is?”

The sun wants to know. There’s a phone number in case you are the "busty female fan" seen getting roasted by three Sunderland players.

The trio – Sunderland goalkeeper Ben Alnwick, winger Liam Lawrence and striker Chris Brown (those are the positions) – are joined by ex-tem mate Martin Woods, now of Rotherham Untied.

Two other men in the vicinity are watching with a keen eye are not identified.

Anorak has yet to see a recording of the action, but the Sun assures us that it lasts a full seven minutes and features Alnwick winking at the camera as he penetrates the team’s fanbase. It also shows Woods – "still wearing his jumper" – "performing a sex act on himself".
We are no prudes here at Anorak and are familiar with all manner of sex acts, from the Clinton-Lewinsky thong twang all the way to the John Leslie-Abi Timuss no-holes-barred romp. But we struggle – yes, even we – to think of a self-sex act that engenders the sportsman with anything other than deep and lasting shame.

If Mr Woods is looking in he may care to write to us and explain what sex act he indulged in. Given the popularity of footballers it may not be too long before hundreds if not thousands of Sunderland fans are aping his movements.

Or there is always Mr Brown to explain. Throughout this show, Brown commentates. You can imagine Brown placing a finger to one ear and saying it is "quite remarkable" that Woods has missed so clear an opening. He shoots, he scores. "Twat! Liquid football."

What he does say is: “Here’s the boys – the watching faithful – every week without fail."

There are too many puns to make, too many easy goals to score. We’ll let you think up your own.

All we do say is that if you are the woman in the picture, you need to get yourself a new strip. And an agent…

Posted: 10th, December 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Awags The Lads

Wags, Awags and bikinis

HEADY times for insomniacs as cricket’s Ashes series begins in earnest.

As England’s Stephen Harmison tripped like an insecure giraffe to the crease and propelled the first ball 23 degrees east of the stumps in Brisbane – Andy Flintoff stopped that ball before it could continue its way to Portland, Oregon – minds turned to greater matters.

And the paper’s thoughts turn to the Wags. Or the “AWAGS” as the Mirror labels then.

It is not yet Christmas but there are signs that we have grown tired of watching Peter Crouch’s lover Abi Clancy showing us her knickers, Cashley Cole’s wife Cheryl showing us her knickers and Steven Gerrard’s lover Alex Curran showing us her knickers, belts and assorted accessories in her Mirror column.

The Ashes gives us a winter break from so much Wag flesh. And with interest we turn to the Mirror and get an eyeful of Rachel Flintoff.

She’s the 29-year-old wife of England captain and occasional wicketkeeper Andy. She’s a marketing executive. And she appears dressed in a negligee-style top and jeans.

The Mirror tells us that Rachel looked stunning in a bikini just six weeks after giving birth to her second child.” It is summer on Under and there are high hopes that Rachel will show us her bikini.

And there’s Sarah Hoggard, wife to Matthew Hoggard, England’s no-nonsense blower. Her job is renovating the family home. She likes “well-fitting jeans and vest tops.” Her position on bikinis is not made known.

And lastly there is Stine Giles. She’s a mum by trade. And her style is “plenty of colour”. Norwegian Stine is Ashley Giles’s “rock”. Moreover, she is blonde.

So what can we expect for these lovelies? As the Mirror says: “Unlike Coleen and co. you’re unlikely to catch this lost dancing on the tables and staggering out of nightclubs.”

Why? The Mirror does not care to say. Perhaps the AWAGS are more careful about being seen?

But should the AWAGS want to get in touch with their inner WAGS and show us their knickers, the papers will not flinch in reporting on it.

Look out for that. And watch out for Steve Harmison’s ball…

Posted: 24th, November 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

The Desert Orchid Hunters

IN between stories of how super casinos will do for us all and gambling addiction is waiting to decimate the country like a plague of winged Rogarians, comes some sad news.

Lower your nosebag, throw a tea towel over the revolving kebab and know that a horse is dead. And not just any horse but a light grey horse called Desert Orchid.

“Dessie takes that final fence”, says the Mail’s front page, looking on as the “Great British icon”, “a flawed genius, and that’s why we loved you”, vaults the pearly gates.

Inside the paper, pages 2 and 3 are given over to Peter Oborne saluting this “sporting hero”.

He compares Dessie to the likes of cricketer Don Bradman, whose brilliance “is so inevitable that it becomes boring”.

Dessie didn’t have that. He was unpredictable. And unlike the legendary Australian cricketer, Dessie was a dumb animal who ran around in circles with a little man with a whip in his hand sat on his back. (Rumours about Bradman and that Adelaide club remain unsubstantiated.)

The Mail gives over an entire page to a picture of Dessie, looking over the gate of his plush stable complex, his tongue tasting the air for victory and carrots.

And there he is again on the front of the Sun. “Dessie 1979-2006” says the horseshow wrapped around the horse’s neck. And inside there’s a tribute.

In “WHAT A GREY DAY”, Claude Duval – “DESSIE’S PAL” – remembers the good times, the hard times, the loves, the losses, the laughter and the tears.

Dessie’s trainer David Elsworth, tells us: “He did his dying in the same individual way he did his living – with dignity and no fuss. It was time to go.”

And owner Richard Burridge tells us: “He enjoyed life to the end. We were all dreading putting him down but he made the decision for himself. He’s always been in charge of his own life.”

Indeed. And as Dessie picked up the syringe full of the poison that would send him to that great paddock in the sky, tapping it with his hoof, pulling the tourniquet tight and pricking his aged flesh with the deadly fluid, we salute him.

As does the Mirror, which, beneath a front-page picture of Dessie, says “FAREWELL LAD”.

We may never see your like again – not in the world of sport. Although that lump of meat on spit does look familiar…

Posted: 14th, November 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

The Caravan Club

WOULD you believe it if we told you that Freddy Eastwood, scorer of that goal that knocked mighty Manchester United out of the less-than-mighty Carling Cup has a daughter called Chardonnay?

You should believe us. It is true. The Telegraph says so.

And having peaked with that name – Chardonnay is aged two and was therefore conceived when the show Footballers’ Wives was introducing the world to the vinous name – Freddy called his son Freddy.

Such is the life of the 23-year old Southend United footballer.

And here is the player in the Telegraph. Freddy earns £2,000 a week. He lives with his partner Debbie. His worst trait is chewing gum. He lives in a mobile home.

“Rooney’s conqueror returns to his mobile home,” says the Telegraph’s headline, making mention of Wayne Rooney, a non-scoring presence on the pitch that fateful night.

The Sun distils the Rooney element into a Rooney Versus Romany battle. It turns out that Eastwood is a gypsy. His pre-match warm-up involves driving his horse and cart along the A127.

But all is not well in the life of the “giant-killing gypsy”. His home sits on an illegal gypsy site in Essex.

The static caravan is perched on a brick base. It has fixed steps. It is “neatly kept”. There are plant pots outside the front door. These pots are filled with plants.

But Basildon council says Freddy never applied for planning permission for his house. There is a chance that house will be bulldozed.

And sentimentality will not get in the way. Malcolm Buckley, leader of Basildon council and a keen Southend fan, says: “Irrespective of who is involved, everybody must comply with planning policy. The council will enforce it without fear of favour to anybody.”

So Freddy might have to move. Perhaps he should put in for a transfer. The Telegraph’s overhead shot of Wayne Rooney’s Cheshire pad suggests ample room for Freddy’s a horse, cart and caravan…

Posted: 9th, November 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Cheryl Cole’s Goal

IMPRESSED by her husband Ashley Cole’s literary efforts (as of Saturday Ashley Cole: My Defence: Winning, Losing, Scandals and the Drama of Germany 2006 was 3,968th in Amazon’s ranking of book sales – beneath Plumbing NVQ and Technical Certificate Level 2), Cheryl Cole writes for the Mirror.

Working on the understandable assumption that no one can be half as bad the paper’s dire showbiz news hunting 3am Girls, Cheryl writes: “Enough’s enough. I’ve had my nails cut so no more getting my claws into Charlotte Church.”

To recap: Cheryl said something like Charlotte Church was fat and ugly. Church, who can sing, replied that Cheryl was welcome to “have a go” when she could “f***ing sing Ave Maria”.

It was the battle between the singer who could sing and the signer who had just got her nails cut and married a footballer. Game on.

But now Cheryl says: “Come on Char, let’s call it a day.” Cheryl thinks she and Char “have a lot in common”.

Charlotte has a memorable voice, an eponymous TV show on Channel 4 and credibility.

Of course, one other key difference is that Charlotte dates a rugby player, the orange-brown Welshman Gavin Henson, while Charlotte is married to the aforesaid Ashley.

Not that Cheryl married him because he is a footballer. Indeed, it sickens her the way girls want to date a young man who earns £50,000 a week. Cheryl calls them “whores”.

“They come into clubs and literally say ‘Find me a footballer!’…Even if I’m out with my hubby Ashley Cole, they still don’t care. They think: ‘There’s a footballer – let’s get a story and make money.”

Or marry him and share his…

Posted: 30th, October 2006 | In: Back pages | Comments (7)

Jermain Defoe Passes On Lasagna

“BITE HART LANE,” screams the front page of the Sun. “Defoe chomps rival.”

And there’s the picture to prove it. Jermain Defoe, Tottenham Hotspurs’ hungry striker, is sinking his teeth into the shoulder of West Ham’s tasty midfielder Javier Mascherano.

To the Sun this is “one of the most amazing scenes witnessed in English football”. And surely it ranks highly on the shock-o-meter.

Look on in horror as Mascherano, having brought down the Spurs player, sits on the turf. And see Defoe, approaching from down wind and the side, open his mouth and narrow his eyes.

And now the “wizard of nibble” moves in. He bites. It appears to hurt Mascherano, who pushes his hand to his arm. It’s still there. No gaping wound. Mascherano falls to the ground clutching his shoulder. His race is a vision of agony.

Now see referee Steve Bennett step in and give each player a yellow card. And hear Spurs manager Martin Jol tell the press: “Defoe was nibbling – nibbling his arm. But if you ask Mascherano to show you any marks on it he will not be able to.”

Nibbling. Not chomping. Nibbling. The kind of thing you do to a crisp or a Ritz cracker.

The kind of thing Francisco Gallardo did to Jose Antonio Reyes, then of Seville. (Gallardo celebrated Reyes’ strike by pulling him to the ground and biting his penis.)

Defoe tells the official Tottenham website: "This has been blown out of all proportion.

"When the West Ham player fouled me I reacted in a bit of a mischievous way, my character is a little like that at times. The referee was standing right over me and if he felt I had done anything bad he would have sent me off.

"The incident doesn’t look great on TV and I accept that as a role model to kids I have a responsibility to conduct myself in the right way which I always try to do on and off the pitch."
Indeed. But should we be lenient on Defoe? It was but a few months ago Spurs went to West Ham and succumbed to a rogue lasagne.

Better to go fresh. Mascherno is from Argentina, where the meat is plentiful and ripe. “Gaucho!” says Defoe as his teeth sink into flesh.

Posted: 23rd, October 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Beckham’s Webisode

“LIKE me new watch?” asks the Wag, in Switzerland for the 2008 European Championships. “It’s got a gold-plated cuckoo what pops out and tells the time and everything.”

The other girls look. “My ones got an eagle,” says one. “I went for the emu,” adds another. “Brings out my eyes.”

But that for later. For now the Wags are in thrall of Victoria Beckham’s new website – www.dvbstyle,com.

Though not launched officially until the end of the month, the Mirror says Posh is spending a fortune on making the site a success.

Victoria promises lots of “webisodes” on her site. And we look forward to these peeks inside the Beckham compound, looking in as Dave empties the dishwasher and Vicky looks on with understandable pride.

What’s more, these vignettes of Beckham life may enable the pair to check on what the other is up to. Look out for their webcams and more.

But what of the site? What can we expect? A source tells all: “The website will be great for people who want to get their hands on stuff like her bag range which is only currently available in Japan and cost a fortune to import.”

Not that you need loadsa money to look good. As Her Poshness says on site: “…looking good isn’t about money, it’s about style, and style never goes out of fashion.”

And if you don’t have either, not to worry – you can always wear a nylon football kit, like the one Dave’s got on…

Posted: 20th, October 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment

Wags Have Got Some Balls

“I’M crazy about my football fella Darren Byfield – but if I ever caught him playing away I’d show him the red card.”

Singer Jamelia has spent a day editing the Mirror’s 3am Girls page, and is, consequentially, now speaking in fluent tabloidese.

“Worse than that, if Darren- who plays for Millwall [as if you needed telling] – did the dirty on me I’d chop his balls off. It would be all over for him.”

We look forward to Darren’s reply, in which he tells us that if Jamelia ever cheats on him he’ll slice off her breasts. If he can say this while sporting a wiry beard and white robes, so much the better.

Jamelia goes on: “And I’m using this opportunity to say: ‘If your man’s cheating on you, don’t put up with it. Dump his a**!’”

Jamelia means to say “ass”, but her tabloidese is getting the better of her. In her column you can talk about castrating a man but not use the American-English form of arse.

Darren needs to be careful. He needs to watch his ass, his balls and his language.

Can they be linked?In an article entitled “RETURN OF THE WAGS”, the Mirror looks at some of the girls and their new clobber.

John Terry’s Toni is at No.3 in the league table. She’s dressed like a DFS sofa in patches of leather.

At No, 2 is Elen Rives, Frank Lampard’s lover. Rives wears a shimmering blue dress of a type not seen since JR was shot.

And at No. 1 is Alex Curran. “Alex looks fab,” says the Mirror. She wears red velvet shorts, black leather thigh-high boots, a belt of gold hoops, a black blouson shirt tied with a satin bow at the neck and open to reveal a black bra and orange-brown midriff.

Alex may look like she hasn’t the first idea about texture, colour, style and cut, but, in truth, she is a fashion leader.

Alex is, after all, the creator of the Mirror’s “Go Shopping With Alex Curran” column.

It’s required reading for women who know nothing of fashion…

Posted: 3rd, October 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment