WAGs have changed football forever - now it's time for our girls to steal the show
SOMETHING happened in soccer at the 2006 World Cup that changed the game for me forever ... The invention of the WAG.
The English players' Wives And Girlfriends became the phenomenon of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
Ostensibly there to cheer on their athletic husbands, the world was treated to acres of newsprint and thousands of photos of Victoria Beckham, Coleen Rooney, Cheryl Tweedy (as she was then), Ellen Reeves et al, parading around Baden Baden between cocktails, spa appointments, shopping trips and dinner reservations.
Like their husbands, these very decorative players' Wives And Girlfriends spent months getting ready for the World Cup. It's reported Victoria Beckham even went to the bother of losing a further five pounds from her already slender physique.
Come the big trip, each emerged more buffed, sprayed and cosmetically enhanced than the other.
The collective look was so bling, it was like an explosion in a Swarovski factory. They gave it their all. Ms Reeves was photographed dancing on a table in a nightclub.
The boutiques in the host German town had to order in more Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana to satisfy the ladies' urges.
So, fast-forward six years, and for the first time in a decade, our Irish boys are finally off to play in a significant international tournament, no doubt to be supported by their women folk.
At last, something for us Irish women to get excited about. A reason beyond national pride to tune into the Euros.
But how will our Irish ladies compare to the infamous women who many hold to blame for the disastrous English performance in 2006?
I think they'll do a whole lot better. Firstly, our girls have substance as well as form. Yes, they look great, and they obviously like their designer trinkets, but these women have their feet set in a far more real place than their British counterparts. Hands-on mothers who still do the shopping and turn up at the school gate (I can remember Jane Given talking me through her parenting schedule ... I lost track), they know their job is to support, not star in this show.
But I'm sure I speak for the majority of the female population when I say I want these girls to stand out.
I want to see them dressed up in their finest, with full hair and make-up in place. Our Irish WAGs have plenty of style and women like Claudine Keane (who must be our uber-WAG) are celebrities in their own right.
Gathered together, they can represent our country almost as well as their superstar husbands, and I will be scanning the papers daily to see who was wearing what, and hanging out with whom.
No, we don't need the power games, the rank and order, the cliques and gangs that the English girls descended into in 2006, but it'd be great to see a bit of glam -- to show the world that while we Irish ladies may be straining at the wallet, we can still pull it off when we want to.
And then on Sunday, we want to see them, en masse, heading to the stadium to cheer on the boys in green -- a fashion tableau to rival last week's fashion parade that was the British jubilee celebrations.
The pictures will certainly make Monday's dreaded return to work far more alluring as we sit in a slump, staring idly at computer screens.
Ladies, please go and show Poznan what we Irish are capable of.
Dig out the glad rags, glue on the lashes and bounce out the blow drys. Throw your most treasured trophy handbag over your arms and work the Poznan pavements like your very own catwalk. We'll be watching.