They were once glamazons with long, tanned hair who came down the stadium stairs in their high heels.
But the current generation of WAGs are much more low-key, preparing to keep the focus on the pitch rather than on themselves.
Indeed, very few of this year’s “wives and girlfriends” have a public profile – some do not even have public accounts on social media – and instead spend their time pursuing their careers and raising families at home. out of sight of the public.
The change was noted by football fans and cultural commentators, who wondered if yesterday’s delightfully attention-seeking WAGs – the Cheryls, Coleen and Victoria – were gone for good.
Speaking to FEMAIL, popular culture commentator Nick Ede explained that today’s plus-ones tend to be “straightforward, encouraging, academic and subtle,” prefer to stay out of the spotlight and do career in everything from physiotherapy to real estate development and law.
It comes as the former The Saturdays star and wife of former England footballer Frankie Bridge spoke out against the term, calling it “insulting and derogatory”.
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Pop culture expert Nick Ede told FEMAIL that the WAG no longer exists. On the picture ; Cheryl, Coleen Rooney and Victoria Beckham cheering on their partners at the 2006 World Cup
The WAGs of England, the current Euro stars, show their support for their partners at the start of the tournament in June. (Pictured, left to right: Kieran Trippier’s wife, Charlotte; Jordan Pickford’s fiancee, Megan Davison; Harry Maguire’s fiancee, Fern Hawkins; Kyle Walker’s wife, Annie Kilner, and baby friend of Luke Shaw, Anouska Santos)
Speaking on ITV’s Loose Women this morning, Frankie said: “I found it really frustrating because, let’s be honest, it means wives and girlfriends. So technically it’s not offensive, but they don’t refer to Wayne as a “HAB” and it’s used as a derogatory term.
‘That’s why I don’t like it and it bothered me, because I worked for years in the public eye, they know I have my own career and even though I didn’t , why am I now this thing just because I’m married to someone who plays this sport? ‘
Frankie and Wayne met in 2011 and welcomed their first son Parker in October 2013, getting married the following year at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire before Frankie gave birth to a second son, Carter in 2015.
In 2012, Frankie, 32, was forced to quit The Saturdays when she was hospitalized with depression, which the star has struggled with since she was 15.
Former Saturday singer Frankie Bridge, married to retired England footballer Wayne Bridge, spoke out this morning against the term WAG, calling it “insulting and derogatory”
After being admitted to a psychiatric ward in 2011, she told the BBC’s Morning Live last year that the experience made her realize that her support partner Wayne, 40, was “a caretaker”.
Frankie later added: “You are damned if you do, damned if you don’t as someone married to a player, people don’t like if a player’s wife or girlfriend is out. television to make money, people don’t like that – say she lives on the back of him or whatever.
Unlike the much-loved WAGs of yesteryear, such as Coleen Rooney, Victoria Beckham and Cheryl, who have garnered as much attention as their footballing counterparts, Nick believes the new era of women supporting their partners offers a “refreshing” change.
“Gone are the days of fake it all when WAGS was splashed across the tabloids with fake tans, high heels and hair extensions,” Nick said. “When Cheryl, Coleen and Posh ruled the stands, it was more in the makeup department and less in the clothing department.
Nick agreed that unlike past WAGs that made headlines, this year’s women include a lot more private women like Katie Kane. Pictured watching her husband play in the Euro opener in England
Jordan Pickford’s wife Megan Davison is pictured in the stands before watching her husband play his first Euro match on June 13
“Now the new breed of Wags has emerged and it is refreshing to see that they are sober, encouraging, academic and subtle. “
Meanwhile, Wag Wars author Sam Kimberley believes the wives and girlfriends of the England national team are moving away from the clichés that come with being a WAG and instead sailing to their own. career path out of the public eye.
“Today’s WAGS are very different from the traditional shots of girls strutting around with big hair, fake tans and dizzying stilettos,” she told The Telegraph.
“These aren’t trophies – they’re a new generation of graduates and businesswomen with their own careers and a much more understated sense of style. ”
Nick agreed that in stark contrast to past WAG headlines, this year’s wives include a lot more private women such as Katie Kane, who backs her husband Harry with sweet Instagram posts of her kids in English shirts with their faces out of sight.
Gorgeous Mia McClenaghan isn’t just a pretty face, she just finished her law degree from Royal Holloway University
Fern Hawkins has been dating Leicester defender Harry Maguire for nine years, with the couple recently getting engaged. Beauty Sheffield is a first-class physiotherapy graduate
Raheem Sterling and his fiancee Paige Milian (seen on a sunny vacation earlier this year) have started a new company called Milian Property Group Ltd and she says they plan to add to their real estate portfolio
‘It is this subtle approach that brings about a refreshing change and fits perfectly into a new era of WAG, ”he said.
‘Attention should be on the pitch and not on the stands and WAGs now appreciate their anonymity and the fact that they don’t need to get on track to draw attention to themselves or their partners ” , did he declare.
“WAGs like Harry Maguire’s fiancé Fern Hawkins have real jobs; she is a physiotherapist and Mia McClenaghan, the girlfriend of Reese James, who studied law at the University of London, actively defended him when he was faced with racial slurs.
‘Fiancée of Raheem Sterling, Paige Milian is an ambitious young woman, working in sports management and, as a real estate developer, managing the properties she owns.
“Before the big games, it’s great to see wags evolved and the name WAG starting to lose its previous connotations – it takes on a much more sophisticated and somewhat sane meaning in 2021.”