Wagatha Christie trial has exposed the embarrassing, greedy, not-so-Beautiful Game
Every English football fan should feel let down by the sordid revelations of the Wagatha Christie libel trial.
Before each season and ahead of every international tournament, we convince ourselves our heroes are pulling in the same direction; focused on the challenges to come.
We invest our hope in those players for club and country, but Premier League footballers are precariously perched on their pedestals, built and maintained by the hands of PRs and agents, who control everything.
So, the last eight days at the High Court has been an eye opener. Even when the players are in it together, those close to them may not be.
With no press handlers to smooth out the wrinkles, Rebekah Vardy’s defamation claim against Coleen Rooney has lifted the lid and laid bare a grim reality: everything and everyone in football can be sold out for profile, influence and a few quid, regardless of the impact.
Rebekah, 40, the wife of Jamie Vardy, the Leicester City and former England striker, sued Coleen, 36, the wife of Wayne Rooney, the legendary former Manchester United and England captain, for libel.
The dispute is over a social media post in which Coleen claimed a sting operation identified her rival WAG as the source of leaks from her private Instagram account.
Coleen’s sleuthing led to the case being dubbed ‘Wagatha Christie’. But the £3million trial, which has now concluded with a judgement to be handed down next month, cast a net far beyond Coleen’s Insta, painting an unedifying picture of shameless self-promotion at any cost.
Rebekah Vardy (left) and her husband, Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, leaving court
Coleen and Wayne Rooney emerge from the Royal Courts of Justice earlier this week
For starters, we learned that England’s dismal Euro 2016 campaign, which saw the Three Lions humiliated, dumped out of the competition by minnows Iceland, was allegedly disrupted by Rebekah’s extensive media activities.
It caused unrest in the camp and according to Wayne Rooney, who was the team captain, it farcically led him to officially request his strike partner, Jamie Vardy, tell his wife to ‘calm down’.
We also discovered that Danny Drinkwater, with whom Jamie achieved what most people thought to be impossible – winning the Premier League title with Leicester in 2016 – was offered up to influential journalists without a second thought following his arrest for drink-driving after crashing his Range Rover in 2019, and information was also shared on the then Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez.
How did it come to this?
Vardy and Wayne Rooney were England team mates, but it is alleged there was concern that Rebekah’s media activities were disrupting the team camp during the Euro 2016 tournament
Danny Drinkwater (right) was with Vardy at Leicester when they won the Premier League title, but Rebekah was alleged to have tried to leak information about his drink-drive car crash
Vardy also played with Riyad Mahrez (right) at Leicester – and Rebekah was accused of leaking a story about Mahrez missing training
The drama that culminated in London’s High Court this week can be traced to the spring of 2016. It was then that the wives and girlfriends – the WAGs – of England hopefuls began gearing up for the tournament in France.
What is ‘Wagatha Christie’? And what is this all about?
‘Wagatha Christie’ was the nickname given to Coleen after she accused Rebekah of giving ‘false’ stories to the Sun newspaper.
Hoping to find the Instagram account among her followers responsible for sharing these private stories, Coleen said she had changed the privacy settings of her posts so it was visible to just one person’s account – Rebekah’s.
Coleen’s apparent sleuthing skills quickly led to her being nicknamed ‘Wagatha Christie’ – a play on the term WAG for footballers’ ‘wives and girlfriends’ and a nod to crime writer Agatha Christie.
In a tweet on October 9, 2019, Coleen tweeted: ‘I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. It’s ………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.’
Rebekah has denied the allegations and is suing Coleen for libel.
The hard yards put in by the glamorous partners of aspiring England players were breathlessly celebrated in society pages – and on Instagram: the workouts, personal trainers, home gyms, short breaks, accessories, fake tan top ups, the diets and the juicing were all documented in painstaking detail.
Euro 2016 was to be the return of the WAGs and, for those who wanted it, the event could be the perfect opportunity to build their profile, to establish their brand, and wrap it all up in French chic. They would be ready.
Curiously, given what we know now, Rebekah Vardy insisted she was not one of them.
‘My main concern is to be there to support Jamie, as his wife… It’s to be there to support him, not to join a fashion parade,’ Rebekah was quoted in the Evening Standard prior to the tournament.
But the evidence at the High Court appeared to tell a very different story and Rebekah maxed out her exposure to the point at which even the placid England boss, Roy Hodgson, had his patience tested to the limit.
The WAG tradition had been established 10 years earlier at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
‘The originals’ stormed the pretty German spa town of Baden Baden, and included in their ranks a 20-year-old Coleen.
Led by the self-styled queen, Victoria Beckham, the 2006 WAGs went on a spectacular one-month bender, designer shopping by day and partying hard by night.
‘They were lipstick ladettes who swore like dockers, partied like rock stars and dressed as if they were on their way to a strippers’ convention in Las Vegas,’ observed Daily Mail columnist, Jan Moir.
Rebekah attended England’s matches at Euro 2016, but the team was knocked out by Iceland
The court heard Rebekah sat behind Coleen to ‘maximise media attention’ and it led to ‘a commotion’ with members of Rebekah’s party and ended up causing security concerns
Vardy came on as a half-time substitute against Wales and scored the equalizing goal
Rebekah and Coleen celebrating England’s win against Wales at Stade Bollaert-Delelis
Unfortunately, the WAGs made more impact off the field than England managed on it, and Sven-Goran Eriksson’s team were knocked out of the tournament, losing in the quarter finals to Portugal on penalties.
The sideshow was described as a ‘circus’ by England defender Rio Ferdinand, never to be repeated.
By the time of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, England’s authoritarian coach, Fabio Capello, had put a stop to that kind of caper. But Capello went too far, and as England’s Golden Generation failed again, it was claimed the players had been bored and isolated at their remote South African residence.
So, in 2016, the WAGS were back, but with limits imposed by Hodgson.
They were banned from the £900-a-night Auberge du Jeu de Paume hotel in the grounds of Chateau de Chantilly, where the England squad was based.
Les rendezvous between players and partners were sanctioned only after matches, with stars chauffeured to the luxury villas that billeted their loved ones, some of whom were dotted across the French countryside.
Rebekah was right, 2016 was not a fashion parade. England shirts with your beau’s name emblazoned across the back were de rigueur, rather than Louis Vuitton and Gucci.
And the WAGery was no longer just a land war waged in bars and boutiques in front of trigger-happy paparazzi, it was also a virtual campaign, which required a different set of tactics.
It all got off to the perfect start for the former party-planner Rebekah, when she wed Jamie at a lavish ceremony at the exclusive Peckforton Castle in Cheshire, the month before the tournament began.
The star-studded guest list included One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson, rapper Tinchy Stryder and Kasabian frontman Serge Pizzorno strutting their stuff.
Not only that, the couple were dubbed the ‘new Posh and Becks’ as the party was splashed across Hello! Magazine.
Some thought it was an unnecessary distraction for Vardy, who was one of England’s big hopes after a spectacular season with Leicester. But it clocked up the likes on social media all the same.
Girlfriends of England football team pictured in Baden Baden during the World Cup in 2006 – their behaviour there led to the coining of the term WAG and embarrassed the England team
Cheryl Tweedy, Victoria Beckham and her son Brooklyn at the England vs Ecuador game
However, Coleen, already a veteran of major tournaments and operating at peak WAG, left everyone trailing in her wake. She had amassed 1.24million Twitter followers and 320,000 Instagram fans by the time the tournament began.
So, Rebekah, we were told, targeted Coleen from England’s second match of the competition, a 2-1 win over Wales in the northern city of Lens. It looked like a ‘man-marking’ exercise that would have graced any football team.
‘The seat that Rebekah was sat in during the game on 16 June 2016 was not her allocated seat,’ FA family liaison officer, Harpreet Robertson, explained in a written statement to the court.
It appeared that Rebekah ‘wanted to be sat in the seats that were right in the eye line of anyone looking at, or photographing, Coleen,’ added Robertson.
Rebekah denied the claim, saying Ms Robertson ‘took an immediate dislike to her’.
‘I find it quite interesting,’ Rebekah told the court. ‘I think it’s nonsense, absolute nonsense.’
Partners were banned from the England Team Hotel, Auberge du Jeu de Paume at Euro 2016
Whatever the reason she sat where she did, images from the game, in which her husband Jamie scored the equalizer, before Daniel Sturridge netted the winning goal in injury time, consistently captured both Rebekah and Coleen in their celebrations.
‘Her behaviour during the game suggested to me that her focus was little or nothing to do with the football match,’ Robertson recalled. ‘I remember that Rebekah was constantly on her phone, often taking selfies and generally showing very little interest in the match itself.’
The shenanigans over the seat swap prompted ‘security concerns’, according to the FA officer, and ended in an altercation with Rebekah’s guests that ‘almost reduced me to tears’, said Robertson.
‘I asked them to move but they refused and were incredibly rude and abusive to me, remarking words to the effect of “we can sit where we like, f*** off”.’
But does any of that matter? It does if it starts to impact on the team.
Sports psychologists try to minimise the distractions for elite athletes at major tournaments. In other sports, there have long been plans in place to explore distractions with competitors ahead of competition and family are briefed on what to say and do, when the games commence, to give the athlete the best possible chance of success.
There was nothing like that in place in the England setup at Euro 2016. And Rebekah’s high profile at the tournament was starting to look like a distraction within the England camp, the court heard.
Former FA family liaison officer, Harpreet Robertson (pictured in a court sketch), told how Rebekah ditched her allocated seats so she could sit behind Coleen for the Wales game
Rebekah had received attention when she tweeted from Marseille, where England played Russia on June 11.
English fans clashed with French police the day before the game and then fights broke out with Russian supporters after the match, which finished 1-1 when Russia scored a 91st-minute leveller.
‘In the carnage with England fans,’ tweeted Rebekah, clutching a pint of lager.
But later Rebekah took aim at the French authorities, which no doubt troubled the England management: ‘Teargassed for no reason, caged and treated like animals! Shocking.’
Meanwhile, Rebekah was documenting her adventures in a column for The Sun and in various TV interviews, while FaceTiming her new husband so frequently, according to evidence given in court, that the other players felt she was there with them at the Auberge du Jeu de Paume.
With his team needing a win against Iceland in England’s first (and only) knockout match, England boss Hodgson and his assistant, Gary Neville, who is now Sky pundit, decided they had to act and it is claimed they asked Wayne Rooney, as the team captain, to intervene.
Wayne gave a devastating performance in the witness box at the High Court. Calmly, almost reluctantly, he documented the events that followed.
He disclosed that the England players agreed before the tournament that they didn’t want any ‘distractions’.
‘We didn’t want any newspaper columns,’ he added.
Some of Rebekah’s social media posts showcased the lavish lifestyle she was able to afford as a footballer’s wife, including images showing her posing outside a private jet
Meanwhile Rebekah was particularly active on social media, sharing 42 Instagram posts during the month-long tournament
With Rebekah and Jamie sat in front of him in court, Rooney described how Hodgson and Neville had asked him to broach the delicate subject with his team-mate, and to ask him to tell his wife to ‘calm down’.
It seems remarkable that it fell to a player to undertake such delicate negotiations. But over a Red Bull and coffee the chat went ahead at the team hotel.
‘They asked me, as captain, would I be able to speak to Mr Vardy on issues regarding his wife and I think we all knew that it was an awkward subject,’ Rooney recalled in evidence. ‘I’d need to speak to Mr Vardy and ask him to speak to his wife and ask his wife to calm down.’
Trouble flared in Marseille where England fans had a confrontation with police and violence broke out between English and Russian supporters following a 1-1 draw
Confrontations between English and Russian fans led to multiple arrests and serious injuries
In a series of tweets and social media posts shared at the start of the Euro 2016 tournament, Rebekah repeatedly slammed French police and the security at the contest
In a further tweet posted the following day, Rebekah insisted she hadn’t seen ‘any fans being violent’ from where she was attending
Rebekah’s lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC asked Rooney: ‘Ask his wife to calm down – she wasn’t dancing on tables?’
Rooney said: ‘No, I wasn’t aware of that. It was a lot of negativity amongst a lot of media coverage, which as a group of players and as the manager of England he didn’t want that to happen, so he asked would I be able to speak to Jamie and I went and done so.’
The claim was quickly dismissed outside the court by Jamie, who issued a statement accusing Rooney of ‘talking nonsense’ before leaving the hearing early with his wife, who was feeling unwell.
The Leicester player’s representatives said: ‘Wayne is talking nonsense. He must be confused because he never spoke to me about issues concerning Becky’s media work at Euro 2016. There was nothing to speak about, I know this because I discuss everything with Becky.’
However, Coleen’s barrister David Sherborne rebuked Jamie in his closing argument for complaining about the allegations outside the Royal Courts of Justice – but not giving evidence under oath.
During the tournament itself, a similar story had leaked out of the England camp. The Times reported that ‘the captain and other senior players have spoken to Jamie Vardy about the prominence of his new wife, Rebekah, in the media’.
Wayne Rooney said in evidence that then England coach Roy Hodgson (right) asked him to speak with Vardy and plead that his wife ‘calm down’ her media activities at Euro 2016
An artist’s impression of Wayne Rooney giving evidence at the Royal Courts of Justice
England emerged from Group B at Euro 2016, following a 0-0 draw with Slovakia, but the story prompted questions to Rooney at a press conference on the eve of England’s round of 16 match against Iceland.
Hodgson jumped in: ‘I will answer for Wayne. There are no problems between Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy. They are good friends and this is a salacious story that has been spun.’
Hodgson had reason to be sensitive about any suggestion of a rift among his strikers.
Mrs Vardy may have overshadowed Mrs Rooney in the media, but the opposite was true of their husbands on the pitch.
Prior to the tournament there had been a clamour to unleash the barnstorming talents of Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane at Euro 2016.
Kane had scored 25 times for Tottenham Hotspur and Vardy 24 for Leicester during the season – 49 Premier League goals between them. Many felt it was time to play them together and drop the ageing Rooney into midfield, or even side-line him for the good of the team.
The view was enhanced when England won a friendly in March against Germany in Berlin, 3-2, with both Kane and Vardy on the scoresheet. But Hodgson was not prepared to go that far and in France he largely played Kane up front and a rejuvenated Rooney in midfield, with Vardy limited to one start and two substitute appearances.
Rooney and Vardy played together eight times but never assisted a goal for one another
In court, the two men appeared to acknowledge one another with a nod across the room, but otherwise avoided eye contact or any interaction. They both looked like they were doing their duty, and would rather be anywhere but there.
In contrast to Hodgson’s assertion in 2016, Rooney said Vardy had been a team-mate but ‘not someone I have ever particularly been friends with on a social level’.
There is little to suggest they were close off the pitch or, in fact, on it. The pair appeared in a photocall, with Kane, on the golf course at Euro 2016. But in eight appearances together for England they never assisted one another in scoring.
Euro 2016, of course, ended badly for England, losing 2-1 to Iceland in what Gary Lineker described as ‘the worst defeat in our history’, adding that the victors ‘have more volcanoes than professional footballers’.
By the time of the next major tournament, the World Cup in Russia in 2018, it seems there was even less appetite for a full-on WAG-athon.
New boss Gareth Southgate had won the trust of players and their families and, well, most of them just wanted to win the World Cup.
But Rebekah arrived with her WAG credentials burnished and gleaming. She took centre stage in the stands, going from reality TV contestant to being hailed ‘Queen WAG’ by the press – with branding experts claiming she was a ‘natural fit’ to take the crown from Coleen.
In the space of two years, Rebekah had caught up with Coleen. It was a triumph.
Apparently keen to maximise her opportunity, she set up publicity shots outside a restaurant in St Petersburg, where she had invited other WAGs to dine, according to the FA liaison officer, Robertson.
But the game had changed. In contrast to the 2006 tournament, some players’ partners were actually put out to discover they would – or had been – ‘papped’.
Not only that, but the forthcoming Robertson claimed Rebekah had only invited young women to the meal.
She wrote in her statement: ‘I recall being informed by a member of the touring party that Rebekah was contractually obliged to get a certain or minimum number of photographs from a celebrity / public relations perspective during the tournament.
‘For example, I recall her setting up photos of her boarding a private plane to Russia.
In an Instagram post shared by Vardy during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, some of the WAGs stand side by side showing off personalised England shirts with their partner’s name on
Megan Davison (left), partner of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford; and Harry Maguire being consoled by his girlfriend Fern Hawkins following England’s defeat in the tournament (right)
Wives and girlfriends of England players posed for photographs outside the Sunday Ginza restaurant in St Petersburg; it was claimed in court Rebekah organised photo opportunities
Rebekah pictured after the 2018 World Cup semi-final defeat with her husband Jamie
‘Regarding the World Cup WAG photo I recall being told by a member of the touring party that Rebekah had not asked some of the older ladies present at the hotel to attend the dinner she had arranged.’
Paparazzi picture ‘set up’ at restaurant
Messages between Rebekah Vardy and Caroline Watt during a day-out in St Petersburg on June 26, in 2018, were handed over to Coleen’s legal team as part of their High Court battle.
At 14:37pm, Rebekah messaged her agent: ‘We may have to walk to restaurant from hotel now… so might be a good pic of us walking down it’s about 10/15 mins away’
Ms Watt replied: ‘Ok will let them know thanks’
At 16.12pm, Rebekah messaged: ‘On the way down in the restaurant car… He’s doing two runs.’
Five minutes later, Ms Watt replied: ‘Ok. Hopefully he catches you all! Don’t forget to take a group shot.’
Rebekah then said: ‘If he’s here he is hiding in bushes or behind trees lol’
Half an hour later, however, Rebekah messaged that she was worried the other women will think she has tipped off the photographer after they spot him outside the restaurant.
‘F*** I made everyone go outside for a pic and the pap was there… Looks like I tipped him off now,’ Vardy says.
She said her fellow WAGs wanted her to put her own picture of them on her own Instagram.
‘Girls have asked me to put it on insta so quick get them out… they want me to put it up before the pap puts his in! I’ve bought about 10 mins,’ she wrote.
Posting a picture of the group on one of the WAGs’ Instagram accounts would render the paparazzi shot less valuable, as it would be freely available to media outlets.
And some of those who were included would rather not have been.
Robertson added: ‘Other ladies featured in the photograph also expressed annoyance and dissatisfaction to me at being set up to be in the photograph orchestrated by Rebekah.
‘One of the players in the squad told me directly that he was also angry at this set-up as they did not court public attention with their private lives.
‘Similarly, Harry Maguire’s then girlfriend, Fern [Hawkins], later expressed her upset to me that she had taken part and commented that she was embarrassed, wasn’t prepared and hadn’t expected to be put in that position.’
Rebekah denied she had encouraged the women to pose for a group photo, knowing that a press photographer had been tipped off and was waiting to capture the shot.
However, when asked for details by Rooney’s barrister, she blamed heavy drinking for failing to remember the details of a paparazzi shot.
The group of WAGs in the snap included Marcus Rashford’s girlfriend Lucia Loi, Kyle Walker’s partner Annie Kilner and Maguire’s fiancee Hawkins.
Rebekah said her publicist, Caroline Watt, had arranged for a photographer to take pictures of her as she left her hotel but denied giving the photographer the location of either the hotel or the restaurant where the WAGs were having dinner.
The court heard Rebekah texted Watt about travel arrangements from the hotel to the restaurant. There were exchanges about last-minute changes in travel arrangements on the night.
The following night, the girls were on the town again, donning their summer frocks and designer handbags for a swanky meal at Sunday Ginza in Saint Petersburg.
Social media posts showed the women laughing – and pouting – as they sipped on chilled glasses of white wine and bottles of champagne against the backdrop of a luxury marina before moving onto hookah pipes as the celebrations continued.
A bottle of Cristal rose champagne would set you back around 8,353 rubles (£100) at the eatery.
Meanwhile, there were further disputes over the seating arrangements in the stadium and Rebekah clashed again with Robertson.
Rebekah with her agent, Caroline Watt, who had been due to give evidence in the trial but was recently found to be ‘not fit’ to take part, also withdrawing her written evidence
Wayne Rooney and his wife Coleen pictured sat together in a court sketch this week
The FA officer complained in her statement that Rebekah had labelled her seat allocation for the semi-final against Croatia, which England lost 2-1 in extra time, as ‘unacceptable’ despite being in a category one area and the best seats being dished out on a rotation to ‘keep things fair’.
But it was not just international football that offered the opportunity to gain profile and influence.
The case revealed the level of salacious gossip circulating in football’s inner circle, which, it was claimed, Rebekah was happy to share.
The court was told Rebekah and her publicist worked to improve her media coverage and plotted to leak several stories to the Sun.
Watt once ‘boasted’ that a Sun journalist ‘always writes nice stories’ about Rebekah and ‘does whatever I ask her’, it was claimed.
The leaking even extended to Jamie Vardy’s team-mates at Leicester. Rebekah told her publicist to leak stories about Drinkwater and was questioned over leaks about Mahrez.
Jamie Vardy knew both men well. He appeared alongside Drinkwater in a Foxes shirt on 154 occasions and Mahrez 148 times.
In addition, Vardy’s success was in part attributable to the contributions of both. Of the 25 Premier League goals Vardy scored to fire Leicester to the most remarkable title win in Premier League history, 10 of them were assisted by one of the pair.
Mahrez, pictured here with wife Taylor Ward, was said to have left his team-mates ‘fuming’
It was alleged that Rebekah’s messages led to Sky Sports reporter Rob Dorsett tweeting the story that Mahrez had missed training at Leicester and was angling for a move away
Mahrez did eventually move to Manchester City for a fee of £60m in summer 2018
Not that it stopped Rebekah sharing information about unrest in the Leicester camp.
In February 2018, Mahrez asked for a transfer but when a move to Manchester City fell through he stopped attending training.
In a WhatsApp message to Watt, Rebekah wrote: ‘Mahrez not turned up for training again. The lads are fuming.’
Watt suggested she contact TV reporter Rob Dorsett, who was one of the journalists covering the story for Sky Sports News.
Vardy replied that she didn’t want the story to ‘come back on me’.
Dorsett subsequently tweeted: ‘I’m told Riyad Mahrez failed to report for #lcfc training this morning. He has now missed two training sessions and a game, so is technically in breach of contract and on strike. Sources say he is depressed after failing to get his move to #mcfc.’
Under cross examination from Coleen’s barrister, she said: ‘It was pretty much unheard of for a player to go on strike and not turn up for training.’
She said the story of the turmoil in the dressing room ‘absolutely 100 per cent did not come from me’.
In the messages, Watt then suggested that she could ‘tell someone’ about Mahrez’s no-show and Rebekah replied ‘do it’.
But she admitted that ‘in a fleeting moment’ it appeared from Watt’s response that she was ‘prepared to do her dirty work’ for her.
She insisted the information didn’t come from husband Jamie. She said: ‘the gossip was already out there.’
She told the High Court that she was ‘just gossiping’ when messaging her agent.
‘It was speculation of just bits of information that I had heard and overheard, and also read in the press before,’ she said. And she added: ‘Yes, it doesn’t look good there, I was gossiping about things that we already in the public domain. I was just gossiping.’
Her husband ‘never discussed whether the lads were fuming’,’ she said, but she admitted that the message exchange with her agent ‘doesn’t read very well’.
Mahrez eventually returned to the fold for Leicester but secured the transfer he wanted, moving to Manchester City for £60m in the summer of 2018.
Rebekah admitted to sharing a tip about Danny Drinkwater – who, like Mahrez, was her husband Jamie’s colleague at Leicester
Coleen’s lawyer, David Sherborne, read texts exchanged by Rebekah and Ms Watt in which they discussed a story about Drinkwater
In May 2019, Drinkwater was banned from driving for 20 months and ordered to carry out 70 hours’ community service after admitting drink-driving.
He had two women passengers in the car and caused £50,000 of damage to the vehicle.
By this stage, Drinkwater had left Leicester, joining Chelsea in 2017 for £35m and has this season been on loan at Reading. However, during five years at the King Power Stadium, a strong bond had formed between the players, forged in a failed promotion attempt from the Championship, before finally making it to the Premier League, surviving relegation and then winning the title.
In the title-winning season, journalist Jonathan Northcroft describes a strong dressing room in his book, Fearless. ‘Drinky’ and ‘Vards’ were key members of the team.
He and Vardy were active participants in team bonding, such as the ‘flying socks’ game, which were randomly aimed at unsuspecting victims in the changing room, and ‘a full-blown extravaganza’ in Copenhagen.
The squad were required to dress as their favourite super hero on the trip to Denmark, organised by goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. Drinkwater went as a Mutant Ninja Turtle, while Vardy was a White Power Ranger
Drinkwater is quoted as saying ‘we all get along together’, but even so, when he became newsworthy, after he crashed his car, it seems the former Manchester United youth player was just a story as far as Rebekah was concerned.
Rebekah admitted in court she told a reporter at the Sun about Drinkwater’s arrest and that he had spent a night in the cells.
‘Danny Drinkwater arrested… Crashed his car drunk with 2 girls in it … both in hospital one with broken ribs,’ a message to Watt read, according to court documents.
Rebekah also said: ‘I want paying for this.’
Later, it emerged the story had already come out.
‘Holy F*** … I’m fuming I didn’t give it to you earlier,’ Rebekah sent in a message to Watt.
‘Me too,’ Watt replied. ‘That would have been a fortune.’
Rebekah told the court that was correct but added Watt also included ‘laughing face’ emojis.
‘I realise how badly they read and again I apologise,’ she says. ‘But again, these are private conversations between two people… that knew each other’s sense of humour.’
Mr Sherborne asked if this was a joke or serious, and said Rebekah ‘can’t have it both ways’.
Rebekah said in relation to her message exchange with Watt about the Drinkwater story that ‘it was something that wrongly I got involved with’.
She said she apologised and that the ‘messages were not good’, adding it was about something that ‘affected me very badly in the past’. She told the court she was ‘deeply affected’ by drink-driving as her ex-husband ‘killed two people’.
After a bruising trial Rebekah and Coleen’s barristers had the final say in court on Thursday.
For Coleen, Mr Sherborne said: ‘Mrs Vardy was a highly unreliable witness. Her evidence should be treated with the utmost caution. Its accuracy simply cannot be trusted.’
The barrister claimed he had proved that Rebekah had ‘regularly and frequently’ leaked information to the Sun about his client and others in her sphere. He said: ‘Just because she [Vardy] was not the one who pulled the trigger on occasion, it does not mean she was not responsible.’
And he highlighted WhatsApp messages Vardy exchanged with Watt regarding Drinkwater, claiming they were an example of ‘where she is trading money for private information’.
But Rebekah’s lawyer denied his client was at the centre of an ‘incredible’ conspiracy theory to plot the leaking of Coleen’s private information
In written submissions, Hugh Tomlinson QC said the ‘ever more elaborate theories’ that came from the ‘powerful imaginations’ of Coleen’s barrister and her legal team should be dismissed.
He said Rebekah had ‘obviously made mistakes’ but insisted she had been telling the truth.
Mr Tomlinson said: ‘Mrs Vardy’s case is and always has been that she did not leak the information nor did she authorise anyone else to leak.
‘She does not know to this day what happened. She does not know where this information came from.’
He said that Rebekah accepts that it is ‘possible’ that Ms Watt was ‘the source’ of the leaks.
Rebekah and Coleen will discover the verdict on the case within a month
Mrs Justice Steyn is expected to give her verdict on who said what to whom within a month.
But for football, the case underlines how the environment that surrounds the national team is crucial to its success.
Psychologists in elite sport focus on minimising distractions for players and athletes. Friends and family are now recognised as a potential source of support, but also distraction, by leaders in the field.
A situation where the activities of family members are allegedly the focus of showdown meetings between key players, as well the subject of public discussion at a press conference on the eve of a critical match, can only undermine a team’s chances of winning.
It seems it is not just the players that have to be managed if England are to win a major tournament again, it’s the WAGs too.