Nicola Tappenden was a 14-year-old schoolgirl, living in Croydon, when a psychic told her she'd grow up to do something very special. She would marry a professional footballer. At the time, she had a crush on a youth team player – "I fancied the pants off him; I think I might have snogged him once" – so she confided in her mother that she thought it might be him. It wasn't. Then Tappenden left school, won a competition to become a Page 3 girl, and met the then West Ham United player Bobby Zamora. "Two of my friends had stayed at his house, so they invited me over," she says. "He got in from football, and he was like, 'Oh my God! When I left there were two Page 3 girls in my house, and now there are three!'" Tappenden and Zamora started dating but again, the relationship didn't work out. Then she met Simon Walton, a "journeyman" footballer who has had spells at nine different clubs in six years, in a branch of Nando's, and they went on a date. Fifteen … [Read more...] about Why do women want to be Wags?
Women football world cup
There will be another public vote this weekend. On Sunday night, the BBC will announce its Sports Personality of the Year with Ben Stokes the overwhelming favourite to take the prize after a summer of cricketing heroics. In the 65th year of the award, he is joined by five other athletes who each have strong claims themselves, after another impressive year for British sport. Stokes, 28, is odds-on at the bookies. The England batsman decided the Cricket World Cup final in England’s favour, entering the field with the score a precarious 71 for three and leaving it only after winning the decisive ‘Super Over’. He also had an innings for the ages during the Ashes, scoring an unbeaten 135 at Headingley to win the third Test (but sadly not the series). That it came just a year after Stokes had been cleared in court following charges of affray creates a redemption story the public may find hard to resist. Second with the bookies is the sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, whose … [Read more...] about Ben Stokes overwhelming favourite to win Sports Personality of the Year
All films now have to be inspected for Brexit resonance, and it’s pretty much inescapable here. The much-loved Brit crime caper The Italian Job is this week rereleased 50 years on. A feline young Michael Caine plays Charlie Croker, the cheeky cockney scamp who plans to pinch a fortune in gold bullion from an armoured car convoy in Turin, having fixed the traffic lights to create gridlock preventing police pursuit, and using as cover the thousands of English football fans in the city for an away fixture with Italy. (At the time we were still glowing from our 1966 World Cup victory.) But first he must get the go-ahead from ageing crimelord Mr Bridger, played by Noël Coward, who runs things from his prison cell. Charlie tells him it’s a patriotic attack on “Europe … the Common Market … Italy … the Fiat car company …” Mr Bridger is convinced by Charlie and incidentally notes that all those football fans could be counted on “to help … [Read more...] about The Italian Job review – cockneys, car chases and a 50-year cliffhanger