WAG culture — my favourite of all the cultures — represents a rare time in British social history. It was a time of unity: one where gays, women and football fans (which, if my research is correct, is almost everyone – and no, they are not mutually exclusive categories) were for the first time as one, living under the same roof of the Beautiful Game, albeit from completely different viewpoints. It was a time when the class scales shifted and our darling WAGs became the nation’s sweethearts, the people’s princesses.
Most royal among them, after Goddess Vicky Beck, was none other than my president Coleen Rooney: girlfriend then wife of England player (?) Wayne Rooney, but a business tycoon in her own right. From her 2005 Vogue spread to her properly iconic modelling show, Coleen’s Real Women (literally crying that I get to write about this); from her perfumes, Coleen X and Butterflies (which littered the cars and the clutches of every northern girl and gay for a decade), to her fashion line for Littlewoods, to her series of frankly fantastic books — Coleen was the girl from Merseyside who could, and who did.
That’s why Twitter went into actual proper meltdown yesterday as the author, perfumer, model, personality, designer, model scout and presenter added another string to her bow: spy.
If you haven’t read the words "It's ……….Rebekah Vardy's account", then you wasted both your yesterday and your whole life. Essentially, for a year or so now, Coleen has been noticing stories from her private Instagram being leaked to the tabloids, even though her account is only for close friends. So, being the skilful queen that she is, she went undercover for six months, blocking everyone from her Stories except for the account she thought responsible. "I had a suspicion," she wrote. WAGney and Lacey. Thereafter, Coleen spent months concocting false stories — "the story about gender selection in Mexico, the story about returning to TV and then the latest story about the basement flooding in my new house" — which were, like clockwork, leaked to The Sun newsrag.
Coleen or, as she’s been popularly renamed, WAGatha Christie (I die), then goes on to reveal the culprit: fellow WAG extraordinaire and I’m a Celeb star, Rebekah Vardy. Well, not Rebekah Vardy but — *checks with lawyer* — Rebekah Vardy’s account.
And with this revelation the world went into overdrive. Trending on Twitter within minutes, a stream of viral memes minutes later (my fave is the Guess Who? one) — the internet was, for a rare second, united across class, gender and political boundaries in this very English, very vintage scandal. Vardy replied a short time later refuting the accusations, but the world had already lost it. The New York Times even had to do an explainer. We had become primal: spiralling back to our celeb-obsessed noughties roots. Gay Twitter malfunctioned, Footballers' Wives was rebooted (ugh, please) and finally the front pages were no longer littered with BoJo’s incompetencies.
It was the scandal we all needed, one which was so off our radar – until it was on again – that we become a collective beast, feasting on the outrage that was this WAG war.
It was a good day, a beautiful day, one of those rare moments in social media history which everyone will remember as that one day we all came together in the face of so much division. We will tell our grandchildren about this. I have already booked in for a tattoo which will read, you guessed it, "It’s …….Rebekah Vardy’s account" in cursive text across my lower back. In hindsight, it’s perhaps problematic to feed into the gossip stream of these women who are just trying to get on with their lives. But it’s evidently what we are all craving: gossip, simplicity, a return to WAG culture to get us away from this country which was once so promising, and is now so broken.
More, of course, to follow — and we will be charting this drama for the following weeks to see if it might actually be possible for that Footballers' Wives reboot to occur. But I do hope, much like Twitter yesterday, that Coleen and Rebekah can sort out their feud and become Close Friends once again.