Thankfully this year the WAGS were sidelined
IWON'T dwell on the disaster that was England's latest international campaign, but something's struck me about the Euros that football fans may have missed. The last time England played in a major tournament, their wives were hounded by the paparazzi and became tabloid fodder in their own right. WAG culture was spawned by the ladies tottering around Baden Baden in 2006 in drag queen shoes.
Since then, those wives and girlfriends of our national footballers have won magazine columns, designed clothes for catalogues and high street stores and spawned a rash of identikit wannabes (see the "stars" of The Only Way Is Essex) decked out in fake tans, fake hair extensions and fake nails.
The Baden Baden explosion was timely, coming a matter of weeks after the final episode of ITV's much- derided tongue-in-cheek series about premiership footballer's families. As Footballers' Wives drew to a typically ludicrous climax, the real WAG phenomenon was born.
But aside from the beauty regime and the fashion labels, one of the biggest crimes of WAG wannabes has been the names they bestow on their innocent children.
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Sister and I were discussing children's names recently (my new nephew, Oliver Peter, arrived two weeks ago).
We recalled that one of the main characters in Footballers' Wives was called Chardonnay, after the perennially popular white wine.
I told sister of my experience in Bristol's Ikea, when I heard a mum shrieking for her daughter, Shablees, to "Come here!". A stranger whispered conspiratorially to me behind the saucepans: "Do you think she means Chablis?" at which I giggled, blushed, and pushed the trolley in the other direction, for fear of being shown up as the snob I clearly am.
I know we've all come across equally laughable names in the past few years.
Sister and I came up with this list without thinking too hard: a mum calling for someone that sounded like Aspergers; twins called Rioja and Merlot (yes, really, although thankfully not pronounced Reoga and Murlott); one poor little boy, yet to be hounded by playground bullies, called Gucci; and a little girl (the daughter of a friend) called Armani.
Someone reading this may even be guilty of it themselves. Making a name up from a bunch of otherwise unrelated letters, or naming your child after a brand (wine and clothing labels in particular), is a mistake.
Thankfully, this year, the WAGS were sidelined by the press and their husbands' playing was rightly the centre of attention. Hopefully the WAG era is finally over.
Now we can start copying those A-listers who name their children after numbers, colours and fruit instead.