Wednesday 9th October 2019 – the day Coleen Rooney made public months worth of her detective work on Twitter and changed our lives forever.
After posting a series of manufactured stories on her Instagram account to uncover the culprit behind her leaked stories in the tabloid press, Rooney claimed in a now-legendary statement that it was “…Rebekah Vardy’s account”.
The drama unfolded like a Footballer’s Wives storyline – the much-missed ITV drama that was cancelled in 2006.
For those of you who lived in a cave/didn’t have any taste back in the early noughties, the show revolved around the shenanigans of the fictional Earl’s Park football team and their wives and girlfriends. Superbitch-in-chief was Tanya Turner, a Black Widow-type figure whose husbands ended up dead.
The storylines were in equal parts as ridiculous as they were compelling, and the drug-taking Tanya almost always turned out the victor. Personal favourites include Tanya literally sh***ing her second husband to death, swapping babies with her arch-nemesis Amber Gates and scratching a large T on lover Conrad Gates‘ bottom with her huge fake talons like some sort of weirdly sexual Zorro.
Footballers’ Wives (ITV)
And that’s not including the nasty Jason being thrown from a roof on the day of his own wedding, Chardonnay (yes, Chardonnay) setting fire to her own breasts at her hen do, and Amber deciding to fake her own kidnap in a bid to make her husband fall in love with her again.
The lashings of drama were polished off by Footballers’ Wives’ endlessly glamorous world, which became even more glossy and exuberant as the series tallied up. Filming in increasingly ornate locations, each WAG was dripping with diamonds (or at the very least diamantes) and decorated with garishly bright, supposedly designer, outfits. Even at their lowest ebb, the women in the show never failed to apply silver smoky eyeshadow and frosted pink lipstick. Tanya Turner is still a fashion icon well over a decade later, even if it is partially in an ironic, Kat Slater sense.
Footballers’ Wives’ popularity in the early 2000’s was all the more reinforced through its so-bad-it’s-gold celeb cameos which very much marked it as a relic of its time; from Katie Price telling one character to “work her boobs” on her wedding day, to TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson asking for “tickets to the next Sparks game”, the show was very much aware of its silliness – and had a strong enough sense of humour that showed it wasn’t afraid to poke fun at itself.
Its aforementioned absurd storylines were very rarely approached delicately (the intersex baby storyline in series one was handled with all the sensitivity of a brick in your face), but Footballers’ Wives was still huge amounts of fun, with each episode ending in a cliffhanger that often left your mouth agape – and starving for more.
The ongoing Rooney-Vardy saga has shown there is still an appetite for silly, soapy high drama, and if there was ever a time for Footballers’ Wives to come back on our screens and provide a glittering escapism from this increasingly gloomy world, it’s most definitely now.
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