The time is 11pm on a Saturday night, and outside a swanky London club
favoured by footballers, a group of some of the most skilful and
cold-blooded players in the country is currently gathering.
Admittedly, as Fabulous watches them queue in teetering stilettos and skimpy
outfits, they don’t exactly look like a force to be reckoned with. But you
underestimate them at your peril. This is one team who’ll do anything to
achieve their goal.
These are the Wagabees – the wannabe WAGs who’ll stop at nothing in their
ruthless pursuit of the ultimate prize: a footballer to call their own. When
it comes to playing dirty, forget bad tackles and diving, some of these
girls think nothing of spiking a rival’s drink to take her out of the game,
or using sexual favours to buy their way into a VIP area.
With a recent survey of 13 to 19-year-old girls finding that more than 50 per
cent would rather be a footballer’s wife than a charity campaigner or an MP,
there are going to be more and more women chasing players to achieve their
WAG dreams. And, judging by the crowd tonight, things are getting nastier
and more competitive than ever.
Outside the club, French-manicured talons tap impatiently on
Swarovski-encrusted mobile phones as the covens of mini-skirted girls wait
for updates from friends inside about exactly which footballers are out on
But the slicker operators, like Lucy Jackson, 22, a beauty therapist from
Essex, leave nothing to chance. With military precision, she’s already done
the necessary reconnaissance and knows exactly which of her targets lie
“I’m a member of a private WAG Wannabe Group on Facebook,” she explains. “Club
and bar owners post details saying when players will be in and we plan our
nights out accordingly. Having sexy, scantily-clad women around the venue is
good for business, so everyone’s a winner.”
Like any professional team, the Wagabees have their regulation kit. Hair
extensions and a Lycra micro-mini that exposes as much fake-tanned flesh as
possible are pretty much standard issue. As we check out the crowd hovering
around the dance floor, it seems that fake boobs are an optional, and
Tonight, the girls are hunting in packs of three or more and, while some head
straight to the bar, others take their mission more seriously and remain
“Sometimes you only get one opportunity to get into the VIP area,” one
confides. “I don’t want to blow my chances because I’m too drunk.”
Not that they’re all averse to making sure others are too drunk, as Lucy
explains: “Four months ago, I was out at a London nightclub with some
friends. We spotted a ‘rival’ group of girls immediately. One girl in little
more than her underwear was trying to flirt with Ashley Cole. I wasn’t
“There was a bottle of vodka on the table and so every single time her back
was turned, I poured another couple of shots into her glass. An hour or so
later she was slumped in a corner, slurring. Needless to say, she didn’t get
anywhere with Ashley.” Lucy didn’t either.
Tonight, the club’s packed by midnight. “You have to have your wits about
you,” Lucy says. “Girls are always making snide comments, trying to destroy
each other’s confidence, but they’re very careful to keep all this out of
the footballers’ sight.”
She’s not wrong. The toilets are full of women who 30 seconds ago were smiling
angelically on the dance floor, but who are now spitting venom.
“That bitch is getting too close,” rants one girl to her friends. “We’ve got
to get rid of her. I’ll slap her if I have to.”
Back on the dance floor, all eyes are on the VIP section, which is closely
guarded by burly bouncers.
These men might not be rich or attractive, but the power they wield means
they’re frequently objects of some Wagabees’ affections. “I’ve tried joining
the Wannabe WAG Facebook group, but it’s an elite group and they haven’t
accepted me, so I do anything I can to get what I want,” says Amy*, 24, a
secretary from Kent. “I use bouncers and barmen who can get me closer to the
players. I’ve often had to pull them in order to get into the VIP room.”
While we may be out in London, similar scenes are happening in nightclubs
across the country. Because from Glasgow to Portsmouth, wherever there’s a
football team, there are Wagabees aplenty.
Katy*, 22, is one of them. During the week she lives with her parents in a
wealthy suburb of Manchester, working as a temp. But at weekends, she has
“I dedicate my life to trying to pull a footballer,” she says.
With ‘ordinary’ girls like Coleen McLoughlin and Alex Curran marrying
footballing heroes Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard respectively, it gives
the wannabes of this world – mostly girls next door like Katy and co – hope.
Feminist sociologist Dr Maddy Coy, from London Metropolitan University,
believes there’s been a shift in society, which has propelled this desire
for fast fame and fortune. “Young women these days seem to value their
bodies more than their brains,” she says. “We see images of scantily-clad
women everywhere – in music videos, in adverts – and it becomes normal. As a
result, women value themselves as an object, something that looks good and
will make a good accessory for someone like a footballer.”
And the fact that the objects of their attention are local makes them all the
“While you’re very unlikely to get within a mile of any Hollywood star, you
could potentially bump into a Premiership player in a bar you can actually
get in to,” explains sports journalist Alison Kervin, who has written a
series of novels about WAGs.
But make no mistake, these girls are out for money and fame. “One of my
friends got the number of a footballer after pulling him in a Manchester
nightclub,” says Katy. “She sent him a naked picture of herself,
then they started ‘sexting’ and she had him trapped.”
“He paid her £5,000 not to tell anyone what he’d been up to – she bought a car
with the money. Of course I’d like a footballer as a boyfriend but, either
way, there’s money to be made from just being with them.”
Katy makes it sound simple but, as any wise Wagabee knows, you don’t just have
to snare one man, you have to get his friends on side and be prepared to be,
“I thought I’d hit the jackpot a few weeks ago,” Katy says, explaining that a
dark-haired, Armani-clad man had beckoned her over to his table. “My friends
recognised him as a second-division footballer, so I was really excited. But
as I walked over, the two male friends he was sat with shook their heads.
They’d rejected me. It was so humiliating.”
“When it comes to choosing a girl, it’s a joint decision,” Katy adds. “The
whole group has to approve, as they’ll probably be sharing her anyway.
That’s just the way things work.”
Because the stakes are so high in this particular game, the depths to which
some girls will sink know no bounds.
It’s something Lucy’s also aware of – and she’s not ashamed to exploit it. “A
couple of years ago I went out with a player in one of the Premiership’s
junior teams,” she says. “We’ve kept in touch and I’ll occasionally text him
pictures of me in my lingerie. I know he’ll share them with other players. I
look at it as leaving my calling card – maybe one of them will ask for my
Back in the London club, it’s 3am. Excitement levels reach fever pitch when a
man dressed as Spiderman is somehow wheeled into the VIP room on a table.
“I bet that’s a player,” one girl gasps, as the Wagabees speculate that he’s
using the outfit to escape the paparazzi outside. But as he disappears into
the night, still unidentified, it’s clear none of the girls are going to
score with him tonight.
But is all this actually worth it? Is life as a footballer’s wife or
girlfriend as glam as it’s made out to be? After John Terry and Peter Crouch
had their dirty dalliances made public, Toni Terry and Abbey Clancy would
probably be the first ones to tell you that being a WAG isn’t all hearts and
“Living with a footballer can actually be really hard,” says Lizzie Cundy, 38,
who’s married to former Chelsea player Jason Cundy. “It’s all about them. If
they get injured or they’re not playing, you have to deal with that.”
Not to mention the fact that you’ll be elbowed aside by wannabes trying to get
what you’ve got.
“I’ve lost count of the number of times women have shoved their numbers in my
husband’s pocket or jumped in my seat the minute I went to the loo,” says
Alison Kervin agrees. “It can be a lonely life. Often, you have to move to
different cities or countries, leaving friends and family behind. Yes, you
get the car, the house and the clothes, but often not much else.”
But this doesn’t deter Amy and her ilk. “As long as I had a ring on my finger,
I’d take him to the cleaners. And if we weren’t married, I’d turn a blind
eye until we were.”
But, despite her best efforts, she’s going home tonight without even a phone
number. She’s disappointed, but she’ll be back again next week. “I’m sure
I’ll pull a footballer soon enough,” she says. “It’s a waiting game, but I’m
willing to play for as long as it takes.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING: HANNAH BARR
PHOTOGRAPHY: ALICIA CLARKE, XPOSURE, WENN, BIG PICTURES, SOLARPIX, EAMON AND
JAMES CLARKE *NAME HAS BEEN CHANGED