Belfast Telegraph

No covering-up bald truth about top soccer stars

By Lindy McDowell

Further proof this week that football is indeed a game of two halves ... Ryan Giggs and team mate Wayne Rooney have both been involved in very different types of cover-up.

Rooney has gone for a hair transplant to hide the bald truth.

Giggs, infamously, has tried to pull a super-injunction over his.

Who comes out looking sillier?

Giggs - by far.

Once the old re-rooting of the bonce would have been a matter of considerable ridicule, but Rooney has handled his hairline extension with some humour and what the politicians would call commendable transparency.

A rug is no longer a matter of contempt. But being seen to attempt to sweep stuff under one is.

After Giggs was outed as the super-injuncter in the Imogen Thomas affair, it was inevitable that his private life would come under further scrutiny.

Not least, it now turns out, by the woman with whom he is alleged to have had an affair for eight years - contemporaneously (as the courts would say) with his fling with Imogen.

In this latest instance the woman betrayed (her word) is Giggs' brother's wife. Which takes Giggs' previous reputation as a "family man" to a whole new level.

In an odd interview at the weekend the sister-in-law is quoted extensively baring her soul - and claims about the alleged affair - via a friend.

"She told a friend ... she said to a friend ... she described to her pal ... " is peppered throughout the long and extremely detailed tabloid account. There are pages and pages of this stuff.

The friend must have been a stenographer. And not surprisingly, we are told that Imogen Thomas now feels "vindicated".

Oh, and experts in the field point out that not just Giggsy's reputation, but the whole area of "reputation management" has taken a real hammering.

Until this nonsense of super-injunctions took hold, the concept of reputation management would have seemed as laughable to most of us as a Charlton comb-over.

In fact, you could say the super-injunction has become the legal equivalent of the old up-and-over hair sweep.

It doesn't actually cover the truth. It just draws attention to it. And it's not just happening on the pitches.

According to the TUV's Jim Allister (who has single-handedly taken on the role of the opposition up at Stormont these days) there are four super-injunctions in Northern Ireland.

As lawyer Jim puts it: "The mystery and secrecy surrounding injunctive relief is generally not healthy, nor does it sit comfortably with the transparency expectations of a modern society."

It doesn't actually sit terribly well with human nature either. The automatic reflex of most of us, when told that something is being kept from us, is to start hoking for the truth.

Wayne Rooney has emerged from a hair graft involving Follicular Unit Extraction (or FUE - which sounds like something the UUP might link up with) looking a "little bruised."

Ryan Giggs - shorn of his cover-up - just looks bad.

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