Monday 24 September 2018

Who are you trying to kid?

The final whistle has sounded for this year's football season, so now a few of its stars (more famous of late for their scoring off the pitch), can take time out for some rest and relaxation and, while they're at it, try and rebuild their cracked reputations.

After all, it's not just public opinion at stake, there are lucrative sponsorship and merchandising deals to be considered. Some famous faces are known for their wild ways, and are indeed celebrated for it -- hey, the world would be a dull place without a few playboys. But the ones who trade on, and even market themselves as doting fiancés, husbands or fathers risk the wrath of the public, PR agents and sponsors, when they are caught playing offside.

It's the psychological version of injury-recovery; summer is the perfect time to start repairing emotional damage, and give their other halves a chance to remind potentially covetous women that this man is taken, (and look great in a barely there bikini while they do it).

You would imagine that it is pretty easy for anyone earning six figures a week to holiday somewhere away from prying eyes and paparazzi lenses. If they really wanted to, that is. Which is why we haven't had sight nor sound of Ryan and Stacey Giggs since the post-super injunction sordid allegations broke.

Clearly, John Terry wasn't quite so fussed about complete privacy on his recent family sojourn to Abu Dhabi. Terry has had some pretty damning press over the past 18 months, so, call me cynical, but is it a coincidence that we've been bombarded with yet more "unstaged" photographs of him in various romantic clinches with his long-suffering wife Toni?


No sooner had allegations of infidelity broke last year, than they were snapped snogging like teenagers behind a bike shed while on holiday in Dubai. And this year, it may be a different location, but the show they are putting on is the same.

In one of the photos he's practically wearing her like a nicely tanned sporran, while she clings to him, legs wrapped around his waist in the tiniest of expensive swimsuits, hair slicked back and just the right amount of waterproof mascara. And this was supposed to be a family holiday? Let me tell you, my parents are very happily married, but they didn't need to recreate From Here to Eternity when we were on family holidays by the seaside.

In every photo we were treated to Toni modelling a different designer swimsuit or bikini, with that perfected leg-at-a-cocked-angle catwalk stance, as she gazed into her husband's eyes and they kissed under a waterfall and strolled in the surf. It didn't look like the ordinary family holiday it was alleged to be to me. In fact, it was only short of a clapperboard.

Meanwhile, over in Sardinia, there was another great poolside performance courtesy of Peter Crouch and Abbey Clancy for anyone who cared to see, on their "can't you see how in love we are" pre-wedding holiday. Because there's nothing like a public display of affection and a nicely toned backside in an expensive bikini to prove your relationship is okay.

Surely after a rocky patch in any relationship, some time out to discuss the future and try to rebuild the trust is essential. But not in the celebrity world; time and sponsorship wait for no man. And let's not forget that photos like these remind the public that there will soon be wedding snaps (no doubt sold to a glossy magazine) of Peter and Abbey for us to enjoy. Hooray!


Think about it, Wayne and Colleen and before them, Tiger and Elin, were photographed apparently completely unawares, having a loved-up time on holidays after alleged infidelity reports.

We had the kissing in the surf, the giddy piggy backs on the ski slopes, the rubbing of suncream into perfectly tanned skin (except in Wayne Rooney's case), all photographed from suspiciously close quarters.

I think we all know the difference between those intrusive, grainy pap shots and a photoshoot.

In recent months we've seen Ronan Keating holding the hand of his reconciled wife Yvonne as she had a tattoo done. But couldn't they have gone into a back room if they had wanted privacy? Presumably, they could, but then the world may not have known that they are back together and so much more in love than ever that she is marking it by having something indelible scratched onto her flat stomach. We've seen them strolling around Australia and last week at the Roscommon Races like honeymooners, and doing more gazing than Patrick Moore could manage.

So for whose benefit are these smiles and smooches, fancy bikinis and toned tummies? Who are they trying to convince? The answer is everybody, and that probably includes themselves. They are showing the world that things are okay, reminding potential sponsors or TV execs that they are still the marketable commodity they once were, and doing it all with glossy hair and megawatt smiles.

No doubt once Stacey Giggs agrees to stand by her man, we will see their lovely bikini bodies in myriad designer swimming costumes, walking along the beach hand in hand in St Tropez or Marbella. Because when they're ready to show the world how in love they are, you won't be able to miss it; even if you wanted to.

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