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Wags V the class of '66

4th of May 2010

192.com conducts wag-analysis

192.com studied the Wags of 1966 and the Wags of today, analysing their contrasting lifestyles.

The people-finding experts launched the Wag-analysis as they seek to reunite people who witnessed England's 1966 victory.

The study found that the women of 1966 were more advanced than their celebrity counterparts, enjoying healthier relationships, despite dating in a time of less gender equality.

Wag-analytics also revealed the predecessor to Posh Spice, namely, Joy Beverley of the 1950's pop group the Beverley Sisters. Joy married England star Billy Wright in 1958 in the first celebrity-Wag wedding. The event was attended by 6000 well-wishers, though Billy travelled to the service by train and Joy returned to work within 24 hours.

The research identified startling World Cup facts illustrating the difference between the 1966 World Cup and the 2010 bonanza.


  • Occupations of the Wags included: trainee-hairdresser, shop assistant, fashion worker and housewife
  • The Wags met their footballing-sweethearts in modest surroundings, including a bowling alley, a high street, a Manchester ice rink and a ballroom in Leeds
  • Some of the 1966 Wags shared cars or took public transport to get to the Wembley final
  • The wives and partners of the England team weren't invited to the victory dinner
  • "World cup fever" didn't start until England's quarter final against Argentina
  • 20,000 tickets went unsold for England's opening match against Uruguay
  • Prime Minister Harold Wilson had to be reminded England were hosting a World Cup
  • The final was watched by a TV audience of 400 million
  • Nobody watched the final in the pub. Pubs shut at 3pm, opening again at 5:30pm
  • Many fans listened to the match on the radio - even during weddings


  • Occupations of current Wags include: model, fashion designer, TV presenter, talent-judge, pop-star, and a former Miss Great Britain
  • Coleen Rooney's 2008 earnings are estimated to be £8,000,000 from book deals, magazine columns and TV appearances
  • England Manager Fabio Capello has revealed he's willing to invite Wags to the World Cup, despite earlier comparing them to a virus
  • A six-star South African Hotel has reportedly taken bookings from Wags where rooms cost £5000 a night
  • The cumulative TV audience for the 2010 World Cup is predicted to be 26.3 billion
  • For the first time, Fifa will be offering live coverage for mobile phones
  • Twenty-five matches will be filmed in 3D
  • The winning team will get £18.6 million in prize money

Dr Rogan Taylor of the Football Research Unit at the University of Liverpool put the study in context, telling 192.com:

"In the 60s footballer's wives didn't see themselves as public figures. They had difficulty seeing their husbands as public figures too. They didn't see getting married to a footballer as a career".

Remembering the 1966 final, the late Lesley Ball, wife of Alan, displayed notable humility, recalling how the couple celebrated with egg and chips at a service station.

But then came the 70s, and the relationship between footballers and their partners began to change.

Sarah North met Gary Jones of Bolton Wanderers in 1975, marrying him for 26 years. She remembers when Wags started dating footballers to further their careers.

"I think it was from the mid to late 70s, when players started moving around, started getting paid more", she said.

"When I met Gary, I had my own life, and he was the one chasing me. When we got married I wouldn't change my name to his. People were surprised I didn't take the name of a footballer but I didn't need it."

"If girls today are not happy with what they've got, perhaps they're chasing somebody who has more. But if your man's getting £60,000 a week how can you compete with that? How can you be happy? If you're happy with your own life, you don't need somebody else to complete it for you".

According to Dr Rogan Taylor, the advent of Satellite TV and the development of European Cup competitions in the mid 60s gave domestic football an international audience, pouring money into the game.

Then, in 1966 George Best, scored twice against Benfica in the European Cup. As the first modern celebrity footballer, Best scored 137 times for Manchester United, but was also famed for his womanizing, marrying twice.

As the game grew, player's profiles impacted significantly on wages. According to Dr Taylor, a footballer in 1962 would earn £20 per week with bonuses of £70 to £80 a week. By 1966, Martin Peters was reportedly on £120 a week, with win bonuses of £100. The average wage in 1966 was £23.47 a week.

Increasingly, footballer's wages began to diverge from the public. In 2006, The Independent and the Professional Footballers Association calculated that the Premiership footballer earns on average, £13,000 a week. That's 24 times that of the general public. According to the Office of National Statistics, the average weekly wage in 2009 for full-time working men is £531 a week. As footballers' wages inflated, modern wag-dom blossomed.

Yet for women in 1966, the World Cup came when the country teetered between the values of 1950's domesticity to an era of greater equality. Although the 60s celebrated the confident "dolly bird" immortalized by Twiggy, "the face of 66'; and the fashions of Mary Quant, many footballers" wives were living a lifestyle of an earlier era, in which the women's place was at home.

One in three husbands in 1965 resented the idea of wives going out to work, and six percent felt a woman's place was in the home. Accordingly, footballer's wives attracted little press interest. "In the 1950's a club might tempt a player to sign for them by offering a "sweetener", for the wife, for example, a new fridge, but that was it", said Dr Taylor.

According to Dr Taylor, the 1966 footballer's wife would live near the club's football ground, because footballers were often accommodated in club-houses. Bobby Moore and Martin Peters both lived in Essex, 1 and interviewed about where his parents lived, England Manager the late Alf Ramsey shyly said: "In Dagenham I believe."

Today's Wag will live in affluent suburbs at least 50 minutes drive away from their man's home football ground. A former estate agent who specialized in helping Premiership stars relocate North, told 192.com: "Lots of Liverpool players live in Formby. Man U, Man City, Blackburn Everton and Liverpool players live in Alderly Edge, Wilmslow, Hale and Bowden. Many have investment properties in Manchester City Centre.  (sic) Middles borough, Leeds and Hull Players live in Harrogate and North Yorkshire".

Modern Wags epitomise glamour and self-advancement, and sometimes the opposite: Abigail Clancy, girlfriend of Peter Crouch has been quoted in the press as saying: "I always wanted to marry a footballer, then get pregnant, shop and have fun".

By contrast, the 1966 textbook "Family Marriage in Britain" is relatively progressive: "In the modern marriage both partners choose each other freely as persons", it states.

This suggests it's not only today's footballers that have much to learn from the class of '66.

192.com's World Cup re-unification is designed to foster a winning atmosphere for England's 2010 campaign. To get involved and share great World Cup memories go to: http://worldcup.192.com.

About 192.com

192.com is the UK's most awarded online directory, helping find people, businesses and places for millions of users every month. On 192.com, users can search over 700 million records including free directory enquiries, edited electoral roll information, local business listings, interactive mapping, aerial photography and property reports.

Get ready to roar!

We're urging missing friends who remember England's 1966 World Cup victory to get back together and roar the lads to victory in 2010. The best '66 reunion wins a meal on us watching a World Cup game. Learn more and share great World Cup moments at http://worldcup.192.com.

For more information contact the 192.com Press Office.