Belfast Telegraph

Wayne shame proves it’s the year of the rat

By Frances Burscough

If you listen very carefully, you can probably hear it ... the sound of our most revered and respected falling off their pedestals, one by one.

In the last 12 months alone they’ve been dropping like flies and, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, their private shame and humiliation soon becomes our public buffet of meat and drink.

First, Tiger took an almighty topple, distracted by a flock of birdies as he was attempting to score a hole in one. Such was the shock of his downfall and demise that within hours the story went viral. Within days, entire websites were set-up to cater for the jokes, stories and cartoons that had duly ensued from his billion-strong faltering fan base.

From www.tigerwoodsjokes.org (a genuine URL, I kid you not) there were so many that they had to be categorised alphabetically. Even his very name itself became a one-liner: “A lion wouldn’t ... but a Tiger Wood.”

Stand-up comedians and tabloid headline writers everywhere waited with bated breath as more and more mistresses came forward. And the image of the sport itself was effectively altered forever as its most successful, recognisable and popular icon gave a whole new meaning to the term Pro-Celebrity Golf.

Whoops-a-daisy! Next up was Iris, falling off her pedestal/soapbox despite a helping hand offered by her dearly-beloved Peter.

“Here’s to you Mrs Robinson” was on the tip of everyone’s tongue and the pages of all the tabloids. Meanwhile, even the song itself was dug-out by shock-jock DJs across the country and amusingly re-entered the charts as a kind of nod-and-a-wink national in-joke.

And then there was Ronan. Previously his Boyzone-next-door image had been so squeaky clean that he was always liable to slide off his slippery pedestal in his shiny shoes. And so off he duly slid, landing on his perfectly proportioned boy-band butt after falling for a dancer and being found out from sexy text messages that were intercepted by his wife.

Ouch!

Just like in his number one hit, I bet he wished he’d “said nothing at all” as lyrics and song titles became ironic headlines and punchlines overnight across the UK and Ireland.

Then it was the turn of a national radio presenter/famous family man to take a tumble. Vernon Kaye, the Radio One celebrity and Family Fortunes TV host — and one half of a media marital dream-team with the TV hostess Tess Daly — was caught out sending explicit messages to a number of sexy stunnas. Jokes and stories subsequently abounded, his wife was mortified and his homely image of a devoted husband was tarnished forever.

Then, inevitably, our attention shifted back onto the central playing field of football.

One after another, Premiership players fell like dominoes after one long and sustained sleaze-cull.

John Terry, Ashley Cole, Peter Crouch ... the headlines, one-liners and jokes flew back and forth as they were caught out “playing away from home”, “exchanging strips” “scoring own-goals” and “misinterpreting the offside rule”.

And then, this week, there was Rooney.

Possibly the most lauded of them all. And, inexplicably, nobody seemed to find it funny. There were no limericks, no jokes, no smutty innuendo-laden messages bounding back and forth across the internet. Not a dickie bird.

With him, for some reason, we just accepted it; even though he’s possibly the one most deserving of derision amongst the whole sorry lot of them.

Maybe it’s just because he’s the latest in a long litany of love-rats or that we’ve come to expect nothing better from the overpaid, over-adulated, under-achievers of soccer that our sons are expected to look up to. Or maybe it’s that he’s never ever (in my humble opinion at least) been anything other than a detestable toe-rag and we’ve assumed it all along.

So instead, for want of better words, I’ve written my own.

Sure, it’d be rude not to.

Wayne was becoming a father

But he couldn’t contain his ardour

So he took a ‘pro’ and her friend

And placed one at each end

Now he’s in a terrible lather.

Belfast Telegraph

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