Football is life, as some would say, especially during the World Cup when on occasion relationships suffer, marriages break down, and love takes a backburner. Well, at least a different kind of love. The one that is stronger than ever revolves around football.
England, mostly, had terrific players, superstars in their own right, but if the team isn't all that successful, the media or the public can find other things to put their focus on, and when it comes to English footballers, they are called – the WAGs.
It's a term invented by the tabloids and that many criticized for its sexism, but it is also that some of the actors in that show took them, embraced them, and lived through them. If you forgot what it meant, well, it's about the Wives and Girlfriends of Footballers.
The WAGs became popular, at first around 2006 during the World Cup in Germany. It wasn't just about being a wife, or a girlfriend next to your favorite footballer. It was about their lifestyle. Many footballers were and still are in relationships with models, girl band members, fashionistas, and so forth. Some of those women were even more popular than the footballers. They were singers and dancers, fashion icons, and some even future reality TV stars.
The most familiar one back in the day was Victoria Adams, or Beckham as she would later become. The member of the most popular girl band in the world at those days, the Spice Girls. Victoria was so popular that even the great Sir Alex Ferguson couldn't stand what David Beckham became because of that relationship. He started to stray from his footballing career to become a fashion icon himself.
The British public went insane for the WAGs, some of them even think that their popularity was a good thing, as it was a necessary distraction so the players could focus on football. It didn't help in 2006 because England wasn't close to winning the World Cup. But, at least the media had other interests, and not just tearing the players apart.
Media attention and the consequences
One may think that those women like attention. Well, maybe some of it. But, that kind of popularity had brought all kinds of problems, from the abuse of the fans who thought the players are not playing to their potential because their girlfriends are distracting them.
Their popularity grew, even more than that of the players, and some of these women made a career out of it. They transformed their image into public personas, they acted in soap operas, commercials, and reality shows. They became stars.
Today, in the social media era, things are a bit different. Can you imagine if in those days there was Facebook, Instagram, or whatever social network that exists today? Well, today's footballers' wives don't have to think about the ‘what if', they are living through it.
The most famous WAGs
As we mentioned, back in the beginning of the WAGs ‘movement', those ladies were, in most cases, music stars, fashion models, and so forth, but today plenty of footballers went the other way.
Kate Kane is the wife of the best England forward Harry with whom she has three children. She is a fitness instructor which is a long way from the usual stereotypes we hear about WAGs. Nonetheless, Kate did use her status as the wife of Harry Kane to build an enterprise on social networks, especially Instagram where she has over 150 thousand followers who pay attention to her fitness videos and workouts.
Fern Hawkins is the fiance of Manchester United defender Harry Maguire. She is a college-graduated physiotherapist who also amassed an impressive Instagram following of around 50 thousand. She promotes her family life on social media platforms.
Sasha Rebecca Attwood is the girlfriend of Manchester City's Jack Grealish. She caught some attention last year during the European Championships in England when she discovered many vile messages she received on social media, even death threats because of her relationship with the England national team player. She claimed to receive 200 death threats per day, and even the police were involved in uncovering the culprits.
Probably the most famous girlfriend of a footballer today is Perrie Edwards who is in a relationship with Liverpool player Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. She is a part of the super popular girl band, Little Mix. Oxlade-Chamberlain wasn't invited to the England team for the Qatar World Cup, so she won't be facing any public scrutiny this time around.
Megan Davison is the wife of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford who uses the Instagram platform to support her husband alongside some other wives and girlfriends like the aforementioned Fern Hawkins and Charlotte Trippier. The latter is a bit more private when putting personal pictures online, but she does have a somewhat popular fashion blog.
A £1bn ‘road' trip
Qatar has a different set of rules when it comes to women and men regarding their behavior in the public eye, so you won't see any flashy parties, or anything controversial happening on the streets of Doha, or any other city in the country.
However, that won't mean the wives and girlfriends won't be there. They will be settled in the most luxury accommodation of them all, a cruise ship called MSC World Europa that is priced at 1 billion pounds. It won't be their private ‘boat', they will be among approximately six thousand other guests, but they will have their private lounges to enjoy the trip to the Arab country.
Some of the rooms and there are 2,633 of them, on MSC World Europa have a price range of about £6,000, and the owners of the luxury ship call it an ‘ultramodern urban metropolis'. In essence, it's a city on a ship with restaurants, shopping malls, beauty salons, up to six large swimming pools, an ocean-view whirlpool, as well as a 643-foot promenade.
The most visible, and highly entertaining feature of this enormous ship is its 75-meter, and 11-deck slide, the biggest of any ship of that size in the world.
As it is known, Qatar has specific rules about drinking alcohol in public, and the latest rule that was confirmed on the eve of the World Cup is that it won't be possible to sell beer at stadiums during matches, or any other time. But, the ones staying at MSC World Europa won't have to worry about those sorts of things, because the ship is off-shore, those rules do not apply.
England's footballers won't be able to visit their wives or girlfriends, they will be isolated in their luxury accommodations in Doha, the Souq Al Walkra hotel. But, even f that wasn't the case, drinking alcohol in public is not the only thing that is forbidden in Qatar. There are also holding hands, not to mention kissing in public.
So, this will be possibly the first and only time that the England players won't be able to accompany their best halves during a big tournament, some would say, that is for the better.