In his weekly Limerick Leader column, the Secret Junior Footballer tells us how great his wife is.
Allow me to paint you a little picture about how Sunday mornings unfold in sleepy houses and apartments around Limerick on a weekly basis.
In our league, about 800 players in the local league get up bright and early, as long as they’ve managed to stay away from the Icon on Saturday night.
An eager Secret Junior Footballer, like all the other junior footballers across the county, wakes from a nervous sleep, looks across at his beautiful wife and gently steps out of his warm bed. He sticks the kettle on, forces down some carbs, grabs his carefully prepared gearbag and tiptoes out of the house for his match.
He finishes up around 12.30, maybe even slips away for a pint or two and arrives home around 2pm to magically find the dinner on the table. The house is clean and the kids are washed and dressed. He might be lucky enough to get back out again for the 4.05 on Sky Sports and usually, he’ll spend the rest of the night texting the boys about how rubbish they played that morning. What a great life it is and one that we all take for granted a little bit, but there is another side of the story…
If there’s 800 of us, there’s 800 WAGs whose weekends take a slightly different path. There’s no Louis Vuitton, Louboutins and Cristal for Mrs Secret Junior Footballer on a Saturday night so she goes to bed before Match of the Day and wakes up on Sunday morning to the unmistakable sound of the house being turned upside down because I can’t find my football boots.
She shuts her eyes tightly and prays for sleep while I’m slamming presses and spilling the milk. She’s almost back in the land of nod when I shake her awake to find out what time dinner will be because I might go for a pint after the match. She grits her teeth and warns me not to wake the children but I’m already crashing down the stairs and out the door in a cloud of diesel smoke. She’ll get up with the kids around 10, just as I’m winding myself up for 90 minutes of awful first touches.
Between her first and second coffees she has the dinner on and has cleaned up the mess I made before I left and peace descends on the house. It’s not all work though and usually her pals, the other Sunday morning football widows, call over to talk about how stupid their husbands are and how they could have married Fergal from down the road who’s loaded. One of them usually takes the lead and the rest follow with a chorus of ‘I don’t know who they think they are, it’s not Manchester United they’re playing with at all’. Mind you, the way United are playing lately…
The topics of conversation generally float between the finer points of Cheryl v Mel B and Penny’s v TK Maxx. Then they pick out colour schemes and take selfies and give out about their other friends’ holiday photos on Facebook that, for all their bootcamps, make them look two stone heavier.
All their phones beep at the same time to let them know that the match is over and we’re gone to celebrate/drown our sorrows so they roll their collective eyes and start giving out again. All the while we’re holding up the bar talking about how much we’re looking forward to the Sunday dinner and sure we’ll get the mother in law over to look after the small ones and take the WAGs out that night for a few drinks.
We’ll have to do something though because one of us is bringing home 16 smelly jerseys to be washed, one will have to explain why he was sent off for no reason for the third time this season and another one of us is coming home with a black eye and a dead leg that’ll keep him on the couch for the day, demanding cups of tea. They’re a strange breed, these WAGs. They put up with a lot, endless training gear stinking up the laundry baskets and husbands and boyfriends missing the big nights out because ‘they have a match’.
But have you ever seen a flock of them together during the annual club dinner dance, necking jagerbombs, singing the club song and abusing taxi drivers?
They’re an arsonist’s delight with all the hairspray and perfume. But we love them really. Once they don’t burn the dinner.