Friday, February 22, 2008

The Brawling Rooneys Return

Thank god for the Brits…and their gossip.
From the Daily Mail comes more information about my favorite British "should be made into a sitcom" family

The Rooneys are a formidable lot. The men all look like Wayne, simply with varying belly sizes and crew cuts. Most seem to be amateur boxers.

The nicest thing the Mail heard about them this week, in Liverpool, was that they were "good, solid, Irish Catholics, the salt of the earth, and dead good with their fists". Eek!

The last time she extended common courtesy to her husband's relatives, inviting them to her 21st birthday party, Coleen was rewarded with one cousin baring her boobs to photographers.

The time before that - her 18th birthday - the £10,000 of "refreshments" behind the bar were a little too enthusiastically received, and the evening ended in a punch-up.

How high can the poor girl's standards be, given that she is marrying a man who once paid for sex with a granny, and - as worryingly, perhaps - thought it was perfectly normal to propose in a petrol station?

This week there has been much huffing about the very public snub, and endless family conflabs about whether the cousins should boycott the post-wedding party that Coleen has said she will be throwing for them as compensation.

Yet hilariously, Coleen's efforts to airbrush her soon-to-be in-laws from her new glossy life have served only to throw the spotlight on them. Our curiosity is whetted.

Never mind whether Posh will be maid of honour, or if Wayne will wear a floral waistcoat, when it comes to this wedding, it's the groom's family we really want to know about.

Who are all these Rooney "rellies", as they are so quaintly called in Croxteth, and can they really be so hideous that they must be banned from the pages of a publication that routinely makes goddesses out of Jade Goody and Kerry Katona?

Perhaps the old Coleen McLoughlin would have snorted loudly and slapped an ample thigh when she heard that one of her intended's cousins - a gay transvestite, no less - was offering his services as a bridesmaid.

It certainly seems that Stephen, the son of Wayne's uncle John, thought that the Coleen he knew and loved would appreciate his quirky sense of humour.

As he pointed out, while confirming that he likes to dress up in a Danny La Rue-type wig and slap on red lipstick: "I'm good mates with Coleen and she knows what I'm like.

"I came out about two years ago and both she and Wayne are cool about it."

For some reason he felt compelled to tell the world: "I've worn knickers and bras when I've been with boyfriends."

Then added: "If Coleen wants me as a bridesmaid then she won't be let down. I've been hitting the shops."

Heavens! Stephen is 23, often paints his nails scarlet, likes to show off his tongue stud and works in Kentucky Fried Chicken, though presumably not all at the same time.

Still, Stephen seems positively harmless when you compare him to his younger sister Natalie.

It was Natalie, 18, who famously fell out of her dress in front of the massed ranks of celebrity snappers at Coleen's "tasteful" 21st birthday party.

Following the pattern of holding every family do in a more upmarket venue than the last, Coleen - ever anxious to buff up her image - had pulled out all the stops for her 21st.

Indeed, friends have said that she saw the party as a precursor for her wedding - a chance to banish the awful memories of previous chavtastic events and practise how to throw a proper regal party, as befitting the King and Queen of Hello!

But she hadn't reckoned on the lovely Natalie being determined to grasp her ten minutes in the limelight with that dramatic self-exposure.

And it didn't end there. Pursued by the red-tops, and actively encouraged to think of herself as some sort of fledgling celeb, Natalie gushed to the Press about her famous cousin, his fiancé, their family - but mostly about her own breasts.

Just weeks later, she underwent a boob job, upping herself from a 34C to a much more mediafriendly 34FF.

And she couldn't resist telling how even Wayne had given his seal of approval.

She said: "My mum has told Wayne about it and he just laughed. I can't wait to get it done and I'll be getting them out all over the place."

She went on to threaten to flash even more if she got an invite to their wedding, joking: "If Coleen doesn't like my new boobs, I'll squeeze her head between them.

"My aim is to look like Jordan. I've met her and she looks fantastic."

Oh dear. These blatant shrieks for attention were terribly embarrassing for all concerned.

But Coleen was furious. She had already warned Wayne that he had to keep his wayward family under control at public events.

There had been much gnashing of teeth in the McLoughlin home after the first(very) public hint that all was not well between the families.

Coleen's 18th had ended in either a "little upset" or a mass brawl between the Rooneys and the McLoughlins, depending on whose version of events you believe.

One report said there was then a stand-up row between the young couple's mothers over who was to blame when things got out of hand.

"You've ruined my daughter's night," Coleen's mum is said to have screamed.

"Your ******* family started this," retorted Mrs Rooney.

Whatever, the police were called, and the PR advisers who were already starting to work with Coleen realised that they might have a struggle on their hands. And since then, they have.

Take the tale of Uncle Eugene, who found himself branded a "neighbour from hell" by the family next door, and plastered over the papers.

Back in 2005, Liverpool mum Julie Worsley, 36, told of her "nightmare" at the hands of Eugene, a keen boxer and keep-fit addict.

Julie was convinced he wanted to drive her from her home, "to buy our house and turn it into a gym for him and his mates".

His supposed method of driving her and her four children out?

Playing loud music, shouting abuse, and displaying some of those infamous Rooney fist flurries.

"He and his mates are always shouting abuse through the walls into our living room.

"I went round once to complain and they all started telling me I should leave my husband and go in there with them for some 'fun'.

"Wayne Rooney has been round there himself singing karaoke from 1am to 11.30 the next morning."

Then there is John Morrey - Wayne's favourite uncle, and the brother of his mother, Jeanette - who was fined £4,000 for illegally showing Sky Sports matches at his pub.

In normal circumstances, such an indiscretion would hardly have warranted coverage, but when he appeared before Liverpool Magistrates Court last year, the Press were on the case, so potent is the Rooney connection.

But it is not just the extended family that have been found wanting in the public decorum stakes.

Last year, Wayne's brother Graham came in for some serious stick in the red-tops when he was caught on camera singing distasteful songs about the serial killer Harold Shipman.

Graham presumably didn't engage his brain before allowing himself to be filmed singing with a guitar in his Liverpool bedroom, while a friend egged him on.

The ditty, to the tune of Winter Wonderland, went something like: "One Harold Shipman/There's only one Harold Shipman/Scousers say thanks, cos he only kills Mancs/ Walking in a Shipman Wonderland."

The Rooneys, however, were "grittier" types.

Wayne senior was a keen boxer and his brother, Graham, had the potential to be an amateur international had he not given it up for football.

Their uncle, Richie Rooney, runs the Croxteth Amateur Boxing Club.

"They are a very tough family," says a long-standing family friend.

"You can say what you like about them, but they don't have any pretensions. With them, what you see is what you get.

"They don't take kindly to being crossed and don't go in for all the glitzy, showbiz world.

"They still see Wayne as being one of them, but Coleen is wrapped up in a glamorous world they are not a part of."

The couple grew up in Croxteth, a rundown working class suburb just east of Liverpool city centre.

Rooney and his family were regulars at the tough Western Approaches pub, which has framed memorabilia signed by him on the walls.

It's all a million miles away from Hello! magazine, and that is where the trouble lies.

Because it's definitely in this glossy world that the couple's future lies.

Wayne may have the multi-millionpound feet, but Coleen is the one with aspirations, and the drive to make it happen.

She has already amassed a £5million fortune of her own, through canny self-promotions in everything from clothing to perfume to publishing. And brand Coleen sells.

The trouble is that the more it has to sell, the more upmarket it has to appear, and there is simply no room for the sort of tackiness that characterised Coleen's early days in showbiz.

When was the last time she was photographed in one of those hideous tracksuit/Ugg boot combos?

Her image today is sweet, cool and decidedly collected. Yet, is she trying to move just that little bit too far away from her roots?

There is something a little poignant about one of Coleen's latest interviews, in which she confirms that she finds it easier these days to make new friends from within the celebrity world.

"There's nothing wrong with having celebrity friends," she gushed.

"Trust is a big thing when you're meeting new friends. You don't know whether they're just being friends with you because of who you are.

"I think that's why you see a lot of relationships between celebrities - because they can trust each other."

It's true that other celebs are unlikely to embarrass you by whipping out their boobs at your cameraladen party, but attempting to completely wipe Wayne's relatives from the picture might be taking things a little too far.

What Coleen might not have grasped is that once that ring goes on her finger, they are her "rellies", too.

And no amount of airbrushing is going to change that.

If they didn't exist someone would have had to invent them. God I LOVE THE ROONEYS

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