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Back pages | Anorak - Part 67

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Premier League news. Stories from the newspapers and BBC sport – sports news from tabloids Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Star, the Guardian, Daily Mirror, the times, daily telegraph

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 Ladbrokes.com 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


Abigail Clancy’s Got Form

ABIGAIL Clancy makes us look at Pete 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 has managed to pull.

And the object of his affections is Abigail Clancy, a blonde woman who seems to be on the point of showing the world just how naturally blonde she is in a Daily Star photoshoot.

Abigail is dressed in the “special home kit she treats her beanpole beau to”, enthuses the Star.

The kit is not Pete’s own Liverpool shorts and top – not for him the ultimate thrill of seeing his lover dressed up as him or one of his team-mates like Posh and David Beckham. Abigail’s kit is a balconette bra and knickers.

And do not worry if you miss this. Abigail will surely be showing off some of her kit and caboodle when she appears in the next series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!.

Abbey has form on the box. She once featured in the straight-to-cable show Britain’s Next Top Model.

A look at the website of the optimistically named Living TV on which the show played reveals Abbey to be a talented sort.

“Abigail’s already had a taste of fame as part of the girl band Genie Queen,” says the blurb. “The highlight of their career was supporting Blue on tour and at the time Abigail thought she’d made it.

“Unfortunately the band didn’t secure a record deal and fell apart, but not before doing a gig at Chinawhite, after which Abigail introduced herself to Lenny Kravitz and Lionel Ritchie and started telling them about her mum…”

Lenny Kravitz. Lionel Ritchie. Peter Crouch. Who says the only way is down? Pete’s 6ft 7in tall. Abbey’s on the up…

Posted: 25th, September 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Bird Brains

“I COULDN’T believe it. I thought I was stupid.”

So says Danielle Lloyd, the current flame of footballer Teddy Sheringham.

It turns out that this is one of the few things Dani is wrong about. She scored 152 IQ points on the BBC’s Test the Nation quiz – “high enough to join the brainboxes’ club Mensa.”

The Star is just delighted and to celebrate Dani’s achievement captions a shot of the reigning Miss Great Britain (dressed in a cleaving uplifting pink top) with the definition: “BRIGHT.”

Well done, Dani. We look forward to Dani perhaps one day delivering her “News in briefs” on the Star’s Page 3.

But she should be smart enough to know her limits. Though mentally able, Dani will never be No.1 Wag. Not unless she can wear her hair in the style of Cheryl Tweedy, wife of Cashley Cole.

But there is some confusion as to whether Cheryl is No.1 or not. While the Star has her in the top spot, saying she is the sexiest Wag, over in the Sun, “POSH shows why she’s way ahead of the Wags when it comes to style.”

The paper labels Cheryl a “fashion disaster”. She has a “dreadful fringe”. Coleen McLoughlin is pictured at large in an outfit that shows off her white bra under a black dress with “unflattering” flat shoes.

But surely the paper is too quick to judge. Times change, and so too Wags.

Perhaps Cheryl needs her fringe to cover her face when her husband Cashley – now the most loathsome man in British sport – is with her.

And are not Coleen’s shoes the sensible choice for table dancing and walking on German cobblestones?

We think so.

Posted: 15th, September 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Beckham Retires

“WELL, I’m not a Wag any more, am I?” says Victoria Beckham.

Or should that be asked? These are early days in the existence of Wags and the definition is, well, less than definitive.

However, according to the Anorak Lexicon of Tabloid English (publishers who want to produce this authoritative text should contact us), Wag is defined thus:

WAG – INTRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To mix lemonade with brandy and ice. 2. To dance on tables in Baden-Baden with one hand raised above the head. 3. To shop for shopping bags. 4. To paint oneself a deep shade of orangey-brown (see Kilroy-Silk).

NOUN: To be the girlfriend or wife of a footballer.

Her Poshnesss might not do wagging but she surely remains a Wag – unless, of course, she plans to leave her Day-vid and become a Dwag (divorce) or Swag (separate)?

Or Dayvid gives up football. Which is he is not going to do because, as he tells the Sun, “I’ll be back”. Dayve’s been dropped from the England team but vows to return.

Says Dayve: “But it’s not all over for me yet with England – I’m working hard and I’ll be back.”

It seems that Vicky is a little premature in her self-reclassification from Wag to Dwag, Swag or Wigwag.

Might it be a case of wishful thinking? Indeed it might. As Posh says, no longer being a Wag “is no bad thing”.

She continues: “Everyone was going on about the Wags during the World Cup and me not hanging around with them all the time but I had three kids with me.”

She goes on: “My kids were getting car sick travelling on coaches so we had to travel to some matches by train, so that’s why I sometimes wasn’t with the other Wags.”

While the Wags were travelling by charabanc, Posh was riding German public transport, which although ruthlessly efficient nonetheless necessitates a meeting with the common volk.

This is a big sacrifice. Although Posh stresses: “But I haven’t got any problems with the other girls.”

Perish the thought. Although, now she mentions it…

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


Jamelia Scores

“THEY are famous for doing nothing,” says singer Jamelia in the Sun.

The woman with a name like an antiseptic ointment tells the Sun that Wags are “famous for doing nothing…They’re taking advantage of their partner’s position.” The Sun says that Jamelia is calling the Wags “leeches”.

All fair enough. But what has sparked Jamelia’s sudden bout of Wag-bashing? Why it’s the fact that she is dating Darren Byfield, who plays for Millwall.

“I didn’t seek out Darren because he’s a footballer,” says Jamelia. “I have my own career.”

In defending her position, Jamelia sounds not unlike other singers with footballer lovers, namely Victoria Beckham and the charmless Cheryl Tweedy-Cole.

Of course, Jamelia is her own woman. For one thing, Darren plays for Millwall, a team blessed with all the glamour and pizzazz of last night’s kebab.

For another, Darren is unlikely to ever play for England and so afford Jemelia the chance to follow the team like a pissed-up lager lout clad in Gucci and orange spray paint.

And for another thing, it’s more than likely she earns more than her footballer…

Posted: 5th, September 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Up The Pool

“…ON Victoria, Coleen & Cheryl plus the TRUTH about those eyebrows!”

Before Alex Curran tells us how her eyebrows are expressions of her inner Wag, with their own store cards and stylists, OK! must set the scene.

The story begins in that place where life is so good they named it twice – Baden-Baden.

Alex is by the pool relaxing. And shopping, not by the pool (a girl can only dream of that) but in town.

But it was not always so. OK! says it was not all shopping and relaxing by the pool. Oh no. Alex “was busily attending to her new baby and her eldest daughter”.

We now move on to the point where OK! asks about those wild nights in the German resort. What sparked them off? “There was nothing to do of a day!” says Alex.

Wag by name and wag by nature, Alex is surely having a little joke at our expense. We know about her newborn baby and her little girl, how can she have been bored. The very idea!

No pictures of Alex delivering this nugget of information are forthcoming, but it’s not hard to imagine those eyebrows shooting up high on her clean brow. And then wagging up and down in the style of Groucho Marx’s cigar.

As for the rest of it… Well, Alex get on with Coleen McLouhglin. And Victoria Beckham and Cheryl Tweedy are friends.

“The thing is that when you’re in a big group you do stay with the people you’re closest to,” says Alex. Cheryl has Vicky. Vicky has a holiday to attend so she can’t make it to Cheryl’s wedding.

And Alex has her eyebrows.

Posted: 25th, August 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Beheaders & Volleys

ONLY the few can have failed to notice that the football season is upon us once more.

And the few are those without access to Sky television on which the Premier League’s gilded games are broadcast LIVE!. For these poor souls, football is either something you actually play, stand in the freezing cold to watch or listen to on the transistor radio.

Or they can always go to the pub and watch the game on the big screen. And now footy fans in Portsmouth can get their coverage courtesy of Al-Jazeera, the Arabic broadcasting company.

Whereas Sky charges pubs £6,000 a year to broadcast their coverage, signing up to Al-Jazeera cost just £300 for the same period.

Sky is delighted. A spokesman for the media giant says that football is the national game and should be cheap and accessible at the point of entry. Or not. What Sky spokesman Dan Johnson actually tells the Mirror is: “This is illegal…Purchasing from Arabic television is copyright theft.”

While British punters work out how Al-Jazeera can sell football at such a discount, we tune in to the show, as broadcast in one of five pubs in Portsmouth.

And, as Derek Hopper, of the city’s Royal Exchange tavern, says, if you turn down the volume the punters don’t mind.

Although the occasional breaks in transmission to broadcast footage of men in hoods lopping the heads off rival fans can be distracting.

But nothing the physiotherapist’s magic sponge cannot clean up…

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


Wag-ruptcy

WHAT’S the difference between a Wag and a wannabe Wag? The answer is, of course, a footballer.

You can have any number of titanium credit cards and store cards for boutiques in provincial Cheshire but there is no escaping the need for the man in the muddy boots.

Without him you are nothing. No, you are less than nothing. You are in peril of “Wag-ruptcy”, the pursuit of the blonde tints, the garish clothes and the all-year-round orange skin at any price.

The Sun has identified the phenomena of woman who want to look like Coleen McLoughlin and Alex Curran. With ambition that exceeds a can of Ronseal satin varnish (to keep at bay the ravages of watching your footballer play for his pub team on a cold night in January), the wannabe Wag is spending more than she can afford.

“Young women are increasingly choosing the Wag lifestyle but it can’t be sustained indefinitely,” says Keith Steven of accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy.

“So many people are teetering on the brink of the precipice.”

Being a Wag cannot go on forever. Mr Stevens is right.

But it is not only Wannabe Wags that should tighten their belt but Wags too. (Note: Victoria Beckham should not try to tighten her belt any more as she runs the risk of cutting herself in two and chipping bone. And no-one want to see that.)

The life of a footballer is perilous, always a reckless tackle away from the end. Wags would be advised to prepare to the future.

And to ensure a rosy future, the Wag should: a) get their footballer to pursue a lucrative media career; b) enter into a programme of buying and then retuning overpriced clothing, retaining refunds in a secret private account, or large post-op bra; or c) push for their man to play for Chelsea.

Posted: 22nd, August 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Do I Like Orange

WITH any disappointment at being overlooked for the England captain’s job behind him, Steven Gerrard has moved on.

“GERRARD MY STORY,” says the headline on the News Of The World’s cover. “How I got perfect Alex to be my lover. My shock over her arrest.” And: “PLUS: More amazing revelations in 55 pages of sport!”

Fifty-five pages of revelations is a lot of revealing. And before football can be laid bare, we turn to the football book that the NOTW says “THEY ALL WANTED”.

You might still be reading Frank Lampard’s autobiography, which also appeared this summer and was serialised in the Sun.

In which case you are left with a choice not unlike the one that faced Sven Goran Eriksson – should you close the book on Lampard and move to Gerrard, or can both be used together? Can you read a bit of Lampard and a bit of Gerrard and form them into a potent mixture? Or will the result just be a confusing mess?

But as we ponder that, there is new and exciting news. No sooner has the book been printed than Steven’s Wag-tastic fiancée Alex Curran (has she not a fragrance; has she not day-glo orange chic) been pinched.

It has been alleged that Alex was involved in a fight at Liverpool’s Shangri-La restaurant. Alex has been released on police bail.

This must be one of those sporting revelations promised on the NOTW’s front page. It’s an unpleasant story of alleged violence on a night out; far removed from sporting revelations about how some player always put his shorts on last and that the grass at White Hart Lane is 25 per cent clover.

But lest you think Gerrard’s tome is a celebrity book, the NOTW produces further extracts from it towards the back of the paper. And turning to it we read: “I swallowed paracetamol like SMARTIES”.

Or half-time oranges…

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


She Can Work It Out

“I NEED TO GET COLEAN AGAIN.”

That’s the headline in the Mirror. And duly hooked we read on and learn that Coleen McLoughlin plans to lose half a stone.

A picture of Coleen in a yellow bikini shows that she has a little weight to lose. For those readers unable to spot the excess, the Mirror draws a pink arrow to the troublesome area and dubs it “HOLIDAY TUM”.

Many of we obese Britons will take comfort from this and chose to attribute our own larger sizes to weekend breaks in Pizza Hut and package tours to the Wimpy Bar.

Of course, Coleen is a Wag, and as such she has no need to eat burgers and chips in the precinct but can eat burgers and chips in St Tropez. And it is this that has led to her gaining half a stone.

“I overloaded on pizzas, steaks, potatoes – and even McDonald’s,” says Coleen.

But now the holiday is over and Coleen is back to the serious business of shopping she wants to lose the weight she has gained.

“I’m trying to go swimming at least once a day,” she says. “I’m also spending time in the gym three times a week – and I have decided to go back to Weightwatchers.”

Losing this weight will require much hard graft. But we have every confidence in Coleen. And advise her to get a copy of Coleen McLoughlin’s Brand New Body Workout. With free burger, fries and shake…

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


Less Than 00

FORGET less than zero. The benchmark for this generation is double zero. And Nancy Dell’Olio might be wearing a pair of 00-size jeans as she arrives at Rome Airport.

Nancy is seen clad is a pair of Victoria Beckham’s Rock & Republic jeans.

The Star has the picture. But Nancy’s oversized handbag obscures the buttock and thigh segments of her denim and we cannot see the size on the label.

However, judging by the strained look on Nancy’s face, we think she is wearing Vicky’s jeans.

And there is another reason for Nancy to be pained. The paper says that the woman who is reported to have been dropped by Sven Goran Eriksson (she denies it) has toxic seaweed.

This is not a slight on the upper part of Nancy’s outfit, a blouse with a flowery motif that’s seems to be growing up her. It is a comment on the fact that the area around her beachfront home in Fregene, Italy, is infected with stinking algae.

Nancy says she is not bothered by it. “It doesn’t bother me,” says she. “I just sit in the sun.”

Doubtless trying to get her wet jeans to shrink to fit in the heat…

Posted: 8th, August 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Being Frank

“THE FRANK LAMPARD STORY.” The headline reads like the name of an afternoon movie on Channel 5.

But that’s not the title of the player’s first autobiography. It’s called Totally Frank, which just happens to be the title of a Channel 4 TV series in which wannabe four-piece all-girl band try to make it big.

This may not be entirely coincidental, and it’s too easy to make the mental connection between Frank’s performance at the last World Cup and drummer Neve’s repeated failed attempts to hit the cymbal.

But there the stories diverge. The Sun’s serialisation joins Frank as he and girlfriend Elen Rives are lying by their pool of their hotel in sunny Las Vegas.

“I have heard it said that revolutions don’t start with a shout but with a whisper,” writes Frank. “Very few people knew of Roman Abramovich’s plan to buy Chelsea.”

Indeed. And even less revolutions start with a call from Rio Ferdinand, Frank’s England team-mate, he of the badly-drawn mouth.

Frank picks up his mobile phone and listens to Rio’s message. “A Russian billionaire is buying Chelsea, mate,” says Rio. “I’m tellin’ you. This geezer is seriously rich and can afford any player in the world.”

A few days later and Frank is home. Chelsea is “bulging” with new signings. “I knew right there I could leave Chelsea or become a better footballer. I became a better footballer,” says Frank, providing a neat quote, and a decent tagline for the afternoon film of the book.

There then follows the kind of gushing tribute that suggests Frank has learnt his writing style from reading about other footballers’ lives in OK! magazine.

Frank sees a determined gaze in Roman’s eye. He likes the owner’s style. Roman’s “an enigma to most people” but he has a close relationship with Frank. He is “affable, charming and light-hearted”. Chelsea are Roman’s “family”. Says Frank: “I am not just his No8: to Roman I am part of the Chelsea DNA.”

“I can see his hunger for success will never be satisfied and I appreciate that. It’s how I am.”

That’s Frank and Roman, two parts of the same double helix, wrapping around each other in a one-two two-one of harmony.

Until he’s dropped. Or cloned.

Posted: 2nd, August 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment


Joanna Taylor Wants To Cry

“I THINK that when I walk down the street everyone is looking at me wishing they were me because I am the luckiest person in the world.”

Luck with a degree of planning. Joanna Taylor-Murphy, actress and footballer’s wife, is pregnant. And she conceived with the aid of IVF.

And you can stop looking at her and dreaming of being her because there can be only one Joanna.

But you can read bout her. And Joanna tells OK! about baby “M”, her “traumatic miscarriage”, the “emotional strain of going through IVF” and how the “heartache” has brought her closer to Danny, her footballer.

First up, Joanna wants us to know that every single day “I cry”. And the first thing she will do when she and her baby “meet” is to cry.

Joanna may very well be crying as you pass her on the street and wish you could be pregnant like her.

She may be welling up inside as she tells OK! about her laparoscopy, polycystic ovaries and endometriosis, her eyes becoming dewy as she tells the world about Clomid, IUI and Zeta West, a pregnancy specialist. Joanna has read some of Ms West’s books. You can read them if you like. They are real tearjerkers.

Zeta introduced Joanna to a Mr Taranissi, and he met with Joanna and her footballer. “He’s going to get us our baby,” said Joanna after their first meeting.

Joanna was given an intravenous immune globulin drip. But she had low levels of HCG. And that’s not good. But later the level rose and that was good. And now Joanna is eight months pregnant.

And everyone is staring at her…

Posted: 25th, July 2006 | In: Back pages | Comment