England football failures: when in doubt, blame the WAGs

Posted by irresponsibility

“People were worrying more about what people were wearing and where they were going out, rather than the England football team. That then transposed itself into the team… there were paparazzi everywhere, our families were there… it was like a circus.” Interim England captain Rio Ferdinand on the team’s ignominious exit from the 2006 World Cup

The reason England always loses the footie. Apparently.

The reason England always loses the footie. Apparently.

The England football team hasn’t won a major tournament 1966. As you can see, this is not their fault. Whose is it? Women’s, of course: “We became a bit of a circus in terms of the whole Wag situation,” quoth Ferdinand. (“Wag” = tabloid shorthand for ‘wives-and-girlfriends’.)

Before anyone starts feeling sorry for Rio let’s remember that he gets paid £94,000 per week to play football. His girlfriend doesn’t. Still, good thing under new England manager Fabio Capello “the idea of families being present with the side at a major tournament seems inconceivable.” Heaven forfend the delicate, easily distracted football players should have to cope with the unreasonable inconvenience of other human beings.

If only ‘blaming other people for shit that’s my responsibility’ was a competition sport… England would definitely win something there.


12 thoughts on “England football failures: when in doubt, blame the WAGs

  1. i have to disagree with your take on this one…

    the point was that because of the distractions they didnt focus on what they were supposed to be doing – namely winning fuckin games 😉

    why do you think wives, girlfriends, friends and hangers on arent tolerated around all the clubs training grounds, facilities etc – when say man utd fly down to london to play spurs, chelsea, arsenal etc do you think ferguson allows their wag’s to come along as well ?

    “It seems like there was a big show around the whole England squad,” added Ferdinand.

    “It was like watching a theatre unfolding and football almost became a secondary element to the main event.

    “When you step back and look back at that, you think like it was a circus.

    “I’m not going to tell the other players what you should or should not do but I just think that, as a squad, we were a bit too open, going out in and around Baden-Baden, and probably had too much contact with families.

    “You don’t get many tournaments in your career. To give yourself the best chance, you have to be focused.”

  2. And I disagree with your take…

    The world of professional football is full of distractions. Fast cars, booze, cocaine, egos, feeling hard-done-by for only earning £50K a week. Why should women be singled out for blame when really these overgrown babies foment their own distractions? Anyway, wtf did they think they were signing up for when they became pro footballs – some kind of monastary?

  3. my point is that i dont think rio has singled out women

    he’s basically saying that the circus around the england team at that time didnt help the team do what they were supposed to

    if you want to tar all footballers with the same brush because a few do get involved with “Fast cars, booze, cocaine, egos, feeling hard-done-by for only earning £50K a week” – then fine 🙂

    most dont earn silly money – its just the elite few (however probably most in the premier league do earn more in a week than the rest of us do in a year…)

    the point ferdinand is saying is that if youre supposed to be a highly paid footballer and playing for your country you should be focused on what your doing – having wags, friends and hangers on around the team in the most important footballing competition in the world is not a good idea


  4. The first direct quote from Rio is: “we became a bit of a circus in terms of the whole Wag situation” — how is that not ‘singling out’ the women?

    As for most of them not earning silly money… surely that doesn’t apply to anyone on the England squad.

    I get what Rio is saying, and I think he’s in the wrong. Surely part of what he gets paid damn near six figures a week to do is to have the discpline and professionalism to handle the pressures of international competition (which are not in any way created by or a result of the “WAGs”…).

  5. look at it from the other side of the fence for a minute

    he’s arguing that the entourage etc didnt help what they were doing ¡ its irrelevant whether you are paid 5 quid or 500grand

    the fact that the wags were getting all the paparazzi attention and press justifies what he was saying ! – its supposed to be the most important set of games in the world and all the press were concerned about was cashley cole, clancey et al…

    do you really think that anyone with a football brain gave a shit about their girlfriends and wives?

    they do when it affects the team

    but hey – england has always been about “its the taking part that counts”

    until capello turns up – bans all that shit and we have the first time tonight in english football history that we win 4 world qualifying games on the spin…

    its not about “women” – ferdinand stands up and says – “the situation was shit and it didnt help” and everyone derides him????

    if he says – “oh please can we have our women to make us feel better- would that make you feel more empowered ?

    you’re making an argument where one doesn’t exist

    (although i’m sure there are misogynistic arseholes everywhere)

  6. This story was a welcome refresher from the presidential politicking and economic meltdown trash permeating the blogosphere and media as of late.

    Back to football…

    Who knows? Maybe it is the wags that make the Brits lose every time — I mean, it is their fault that they’re, well, the wags of the footballers, right?

    And if ‘blaming other people for shit’s that’s actually my responsibility’ was a competition sport, I think America would win. I mean, we’re the reason that the global economy sunk, and we still blame it on the banks, as if it were their fault that the people on the receiving end of loans weren’t paying it back! I’m, quite frankly, surprised that no one has come out and said the common man is largely responsible for the economic woes here (not sure what the situation is abroad, but I’d imagine it is largely the same).

    (Yes, this comment is supposed to be ironic)

  7. cheers, LS, I try to keep things fresh. it would be far too easy to spend every day writing diatribes against the patriarchal military-industrial complex 😀

    my feeling vis a vis the ‘global financial meltdown’ ™ is that while civilians got over their heads with borrowing it was with the express encouragement of an economic system that thrived on playing high stakes poker with their imaginary money. yer ordinary, mortgage-loving suburbanite was unwittingly complicit but the self-appointed ‘masters of the universe’ are the ones who deserve to be forced to stand mid-stream as the shit rolls downhill

  8. Zooey: your summation is better than my summation. Possibly better is: I don’t think the banks should be let off the hook, and neither should the folks in government, for they both didn’t do anything but encourage complete irresponsibility. A certain bank (the name escapes me at the moment) went bankrupt in the late 1980s, and I recall that that bank was bailed out by the government in a similar way to the way they were bailed out a couple weeks ago. This made the banks think, “Hey, even if we go bankrupt, the G-men will still bail us out! Let’s go play some russian roulette with a clip loading pistol!” and, of course they started loaning to people that weren’t in any position to pay said loans back. Couple that with the government encouraging the banks to give out mortgages to poor people (“How can the poor stand living without owning a home! Let them see the light that is home ownership!” say the government officials), and you have… the destruction we’re in. It doesn’t help that the people who are receiving these loans trust the banks too much and depended on the bankers’ knowledge, not their own, to determine whether or not they should even be taking these mortgages and loans in the first place.

  9. with regards to the football it’s not the players who made the whole WAG circus is it? it’s the bloody media and the pathetic public’s incessant appetite for what some bimbo who’s managed to land a footballer is wearing that day.

    keeping distractions (of which women are just one of many) away from high performing athletes is not a new thing, it has been the way with fighters for as long as there have been pro fights and makes absolute sense.

    no-one’s blaming the women themselves, it’s the management teams responsibility to make sure the players have no distractions and focus only on their jobs.

  10. I think actually Ade is probably right about the intention of the statement, its just that Rio harpooned his own point with the unnecessary sexist addendum. It wasn’t really the crux of it. But he should know better, for £94,000 per week.

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