LONDON — Coleen Rooney has largely lived in the shadow of her far more famous husband, Wayne, a soccer star who played for one of the world’s biggest clubs, Manchester United, and anchored England’s national team for a decade.
Though Ms. Rooney is not an infrequent presence in the British tabloids, she revealed a different side of herself on Wednesday: a detective who ran her own sting operation to expose the person who had betrayed details about her family life to one of those tabloids.
Her investigation, as detailed in a post on her Instagram account, came with another twist: Her betrayer appeared to be Rebekah Vardy, the wife of Jamie Vardy, a Premier League star and former forward for the English national team.
“For a few years now someone who I trusted to follow me on my personal Instagram account has constantly been informing The SUN newspaper of my private posts and stories,” wrote Ms. Rooney, who recently moved back to Britain from the United States with her husband after he left an American club, D.C. United, to join Derby County in the second tier of English soccer.
Ms. Vardy responded in kind, with a post on Twitter. She denied speaking to journalists about Ms. Rooney, hinted that she had been hacked, and, finally, expressed regret that this had happened “especially when I’m heavily pregnant.”
Ms. Rooney, having realized that something was amiss as details about her private life that could only have come from someone close to her were being splashed in the tabloids, came up with a plan to unmask the spy.
She would restrict access to the Instagram Stories section of her private account — separate from her public Instagram account — for every account but that of Ms. Vardy, her prime suspect in the case, and then post several false stories to see what happened.
Among the stories that appeared over the past few months that Ms. Rooney now says were inventions:
She and her husband so desperately wanted their fifth child to be a girl that they traveled to Mexico for a $10,000 “gender selection treatment.” (“Coleen loves her boys more than anything, but she’s never been shy about admitting she would also love a daughter,” the article said, citing only “a source.” “That would really complete the set for her and Wayne.”)
She was planning to revive her television career. The Sun’s article said that she had been forced to turn down a chance to appear on “Strictly Come Dancing” — the British equivalent of “Dancing With the Stars” — and, again citing an unnamed source, said that plans were in place for her to get her own show on Channel 4 or ITV.
The Rooneys’ new house near Manchester, estimated to be worth $25 million, had flooded. The Sun quoted its source as saying, “The house is Wayne and Coleen’s dream, so to see it being damaged has been horrible for them.”
On Wednesday, The Sun added a note to each of those articles online saying that Ms. Rooney “said that she made this story up in an effort to find out who was leaking to the press.”
The disclaimers link to The Sun’s own coverage of the dispute, which asserts that Ms. Rooney had been offered an opportunity to comment on each story before publication, and had declined. “Like all reputable media organizations, we don’t comment on sources,” an anonymous representative of the paper is quoted as saying.
The Sun did not respond to a request for further comment.
“It’s been tough keeping it to myself and not making any comment at all,” Ms. Rooney wrote on Instagram, “especially when the stories have been leaked, however, I had to. Now I know for certain which account / individual it’s come from.”
She acknowledged that followers of her stories may have been slightly mystified by the absence of new posts, but she was quickly praised for her detective work, with several expressing admiration for her approach.
And, coming a day after numerous British news outlets cited anonymous sources portraying the German government and the European Union in a bad light as the Brexit negotiations took another turn for the worse, some observers suggested that Ms. Rooney might be the one to find out who was talking. (Many political commentators regard that as a potentially less challenging mystery.)
Another poster on Twitter, mindful of the cloak-and-dagger nature of the drama, imagined Ms. Rooney as the central player in a John le Carré novel.
The dispute is already reviving the topic of “WAG” culture — the shorthand given to the circus atmosphere that used to surround the wives and girlfriends of the players on the English national team.
England performed poorly at the 2006 World Cup, and the presence of the wives and girlfriends at their base in the spa town of Baden-Baden was then frequently described by fans and observers as having been so over the top that it contributed to the team’s exit.
An article in the magazine Four Four Two said, “You might remember the headlines”: Sixty pairs of sunglasses for one spouse, bottles of Veuve Clicquot drunk through straws, and a $75,000, hourlong shopping trip.
Ellis Cashmore, an honorary professor of sociology at Aston University in Birmingham, England, said in an email that the situation was almost Shakespearean, taking into account the various elements — “ love, tragedy, deception and, of course, power” — and involving soccer, by far the most popular sport in Europe.
“The story is both trite and profound,” he wrote. “This one invokes some larger questions about the role of the media, the preparedness of audiences to consume this as genuine news, the boundaries between public and private lives of the famous, and the power of media to influence the cultural topography.”
“Oh, and soccer.”
On Wednesday, Ms. Vardy insisted that she would never tattle. “I’m not being funny but I don’t need the money, what would I gain from selling stories on you,” she wrote. “I’m disgusted that I’m even having to deny this.”
Her letter closed with a broken-heart emoji.
College football winners and losers led by Wisconsin, Oregon in Week 8
There are worse things than losing to Illinois. You could lose to Kansas, for example.
This isn’t to say anything positive about No. 6 Wisconsin’s 24-23 upset at Illinois, which maims the Badgers’ hopes of reaching the College Football Playoff, puts a dent in the perception of the Big Ten and removes every ounce of excitement surrounding that matchup with No. 4 Ohio State to end October.
That the Badgers are going to plunge in the next Amway Coaches Poll, issued on Sunday, is a justified reaction to what just occurred: they lost to Illinois. Wisconsin was a 30.5-point favorite. Illinois hadn’t beaten a ranked Big Ten team since 2007, a 28-game stretch that stood as the second-longest such streak in the Bowl Subdivision. (Behind Kansas, of course.)
Since opening the season with a win at home against Akron, which remains winless, Illinois had dropped games at Memorial Stadium to Eastern Michigan, Nebraska and Michigan. Meanwhile, Wisconsin had pitched four shutouts in the year’s first six games, the first time the program had done so since 1930, and had allowed just 29 points, the fewest by any team through six games since Florida State gave up 29 points in 1993.
The Badgers hadn’t trailed all season — and didn’t trail Illinois until kicker James McCourt made a 39-yard field goal as time expired. (From the perspective of timing, if the game-winning attempt came with zeroes on the clock, did Wisconsin technically lead for the entire game? If so, the Badgers still haven’t trailed through seven games despite holding a loss.)
DESERVED LOSS: No. 6 Wisconsin didn’t play well and Illinois beat them
SCARY SCENE: Oklahoma’s Sooner Schooner crashes on field
BAD MOVE: Clemson player ejected after throwing punch at Louisville player
The loss has the secondary effect of hurting the reputation of the Big Ten, which before this weekend could tout overall depth — there were six Big Ten teams in this week’s Amway Coaches Poll — along with three teams still in contention for the national semifinals, with the Badgers joined by the Buckeyes and Penn State. Not that it would matter in the end: Ohio State won’t be held out of the pflayoff because Wisconsin lost to Illinois.
As of Saturday afternoon, the Badgers’ only path demands not one but two wins against Ohio State, one in October and the other for the conference championship in early December, along with the predictable sort of chaos that ensues across the Power Five during the year’s second half. It sounds doable, sort of, except that the team that lost to Illinois would have no chance against the Buckeyes.
Here are the rest of Saturday’s winners and losers in college football:
The 35-31 win at No. 23 Washington keeps the No. 12 Ducks very much alive in the playoff hunt: Oregon is now 6-1 overall and 4-0 in Pac-12 play, with the one loss coming on a neutral site against No. 11 Auburn. While he struggled against pressure, Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert completed 24 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns, giving him 21 touchdowns against one interception on the season, and showed why he’s viewed as one of top NFL prospects in the country.
STILL ALIVE: Oregon in playoff mix after road defeat of Washington
Bronco Mendenhall and the Cavaliers bounced back against Duke and made a case for returning to the Top 25. After dropping consecutive games to Notre Dame and Miami (Fla.), Virginia led 17-0 at halftime and 41-7 at the end of the third quarter in a 48-14 win. It helps to force turnovers: Duke turned it over five times while Virginia had five scoring drives of 40 or fewer yards. It still counts.
The Cavaliers’ Commonwealth Cup rival pulled of a 43-41 win against North Carolina in six overtimes, the longest game since the FBS enacted new overtime rules designed to shorten games that go into extra frames. Beginning this season, teams will begin attempting two-point conversions beginning in the fifth overtime. Exciting! Virginia Tech won on backup quarterback Quincy Patterson’s short scoring run in the sixth to move to a surprisingly positive 5-2 after losing early to Boston College and Duke. Painfully, UNC is 3-4 with the four losses coming by a combined 12 points: 24-18 to Wake Forest, 34-31 to Appalachian State, 21-20 to Clemson and 43-41 to the Hokies.
Matt Rhule is moving to the front of the line for some end-of-year coaching accolades. Even after losing senior linebacker Clay Johnston, the heart of an improved defense and an All-America candidate, Baylor pulled off a 45-27 win at Oklahoma State to move to 7-0 heading into winnable games against West Virginia and TCU. After winning just one game in his 2017 debut, Rhule has the Bears in contention for a New Year’s Six bowl.
Since losing by a nose to Baylor on Sept. 28, Iowa State has rolled off three convincing Big 12 wins in a row against TCU, West Virginia and, on Saturday, Texas Tech. In doing so, the Cyclones have painted themselves as perhaps the second-best team in the conference, trailing only Oklahoma. (We’ll find out for sure when the Cyclones meet Texas.) The three-game streak, capped by Saturday’s 34-24 win at the Red Raiders, also helps to erase the sour taste of narrow losses to the Bears and rival Iowa.
Here’s a fun one: Miami lost 28-21 in overtime to Georgia Tech, which earlier this season lost to The Citadel and hadn’t come within 16 points of each of its first three opponents in ACC play. The Yellow Jackets aren’t very good, you see, even if the team’s struggles were expected under first-year coach Geoff Collins. The Hurricanes’ new coach, Manny Diaz, now heads into the home stretch at 3-4 with five games left. Of that group, four come on the road: Pittsburgh, Florida State, Florida International and Duke.
“This is a rebuild,” Diaz said after the loss, which is laughable. The Hurricanes won 10 games just two years ago and were 49-29 across the previous six seasons — not great, but not rebuild-worthy numbers — while the program had inked top-25 recruiting classes in three of the past four years. To call this a rebuild is a desperate and transparent attempt at spinning a season that has spiraled out of control.
Meanwhile, in the MAC … Toledo has careened off the tracks in back-to-back losses to Bowling Green and Ball State, quickly transforming the Rockets from conference favorite to one of the more mystifying teams in the FBS. The loss to Bowling Green came as a heavy favorite. Saturday’s loss at Ball State might’ve been worse: Toledo gave up 374 yards rushing on 7.5 yards per carry, allowed 12.1 yards per pass attempt and had just 309 yards of offense in a 52-14 loss.
Missouri lost 21-14 to Vanderbilt, which one week ago lost 34-10 at home to UNLV. College football is not supposed to make sense — and it rarely does — but this is particularly strange, given that Missouri had made a quiet case for the Top 25 while the Commodores were supposedly circling the drain under embattled coach Derek Mason.
Mustangs take off for 41-6 win with playoffs in mind – Sports – New Jersey Herald
SPARTA — With its state playoff hopes hanging in the balance, the Sussex Tech football team knows it can’t afford to take any opponent lightly during the final weeks of the season.
The Mustangs entered with a lopsided 5-0 record against Group 5 Bergen Tech since their program was reinstituted in 2008, but they could not afford to ease up with an opportunity for a power-point grab.
Instead, Sussex Tech went out and flattened the Knights, 41-6, behind its dynamic three-headed rushing attack of Brendan Hall, Bo Maroney and Austin Durham.
“You go back a couple of years ago, and the reason we even made the playoffs was a win over Bergen Tech and picking up those points,” Sussex Tech head coach Brian Stellingwerf said. “As much as we take this as a week-to-week basis, this was a real important one from a points standpoint.”
It was a much-needed result for the Mustangs, who entered the game outside the state tournament picture in 18th in the North, Group 2 United Power Rankings despite a 5-1 record.
Sussex Tech knows it can only control what’s in front of it, so it went out and took care of business in dominating fashion on Saturday. A season ago, a 6-3 record wasn’t enough to make states and the Mustangs are desperate to prove they belong this season.
“Last year we came up short in those couple of games, so this year we can make it,” Hall said. “We can get in there, and they’re a Group 5 so we get a couple of power points from beating them. We all just want to make a stand and show what we’ve been working toward the last four years.”
Now, another chance for a key win comes against Immaculate Conception (4-1) next weekend.
“It feels good because it makes the team practice harder too,” Maroney said. “We have good practices knowing that we have to get the win and there’s no excuse. Next week we’re going to focus up in practice and hope for the best.”
Behind their stout offensive line, the Mustangs rushing trio worked patiently to knife through the Bergen Tech defense early on. It took all of 14 offensive plays — all rushes — for the Mustangs to build a 28-0 cushion early in the second quarter.
Sussex Tech’s backs made light work of the Knights defense. Hall led the way with 108 yards and two scores on eight carries, Durham ran four times for 66 yards and a score and Maroney finished with 65 yards and a touchdown on four rushes.
“We have three different guys, we can spread it out and all of us do something different, but also similar,” Hall said. “Bo just runs harder, Austin’s so fast, so we’re all mixed together and it’s good for us.”
On the second play of the game, Maroney cut to his left, saw an opening and sprinted 44 yards untouched into the end zone to make it 7-0.
After three plays netted the Knights minus-8 yards, the Mustangs quickly chewed up a short field. On the fourth play, Hall stumbled through a hole but gathered his footing and stormed 33 yards into the end zone.
And on the next series, it was Durham’s turn.
A hand-off from Mustangs quarterback Aiden Smith went to Hall, but Durham came surging across from the right, grabbed the misdirection sweep and took off for a 44-yard score to make it 21-0 Sussex Tech at the 2:11 mark of the first.
Hall broke away for a 65-yard touchdown in the next series to make it 28-0.
“You definitely saw a complete effort from all three backs today,” Stellingwerf said. “You go into halftime and each of those guys are talking about blocking for each other, they’re not even talking about their bigger runs.
“It’s a different atmosphere with the way that these guys play together. Each one of them pulling for each other and it’s such a big difference you see us come out on offense.”
The Mustangs first-team defense did its job as well, coming away with three takeways, including a fumble recovery and interception by Sean Hall.
The other turnover resulted in a wild touchdown to give the Mustangs a 35-0 lead before halftime. Mustangs senior linebacker Joe Martinez leapt to intercept a wobbly pass by Evan Nicholas in front of two Bergen Tech players and pitched the ball off to Ryan Kinkead for an 80-yard sprint to the end zone.
“Our defense, we’re something special,” Maroney said. “We always move around pre-snap and we got a stud linebacker Joey Martinez. The kid is selfless as you saw, he got a pick and tossed to our buddy Ryan so he could get the touchdown. He’s just an animal.”
The Mustangs had 225 yards on 15 carries in the opening half, while Bergen Tech could only muster 23 yards on 18 rushing attempts in the opening 24 minutes.
The Knights lone touchdown did not come until there was less than a minute to play and Sussex Tech’s first-team squad was off the field.
“Our defense has been flying around all year,” Hall said. “We fly to the ball, all hats to the ball, and we just keep coming every game.”
A year removed from a postseason snub, the Mustangs have been working hard to erase that disappointment.
And since its lone loss to Morris Catholic in Week 4, Sussex Tech has driven forward, beating three opponents by a combined score of 120-20. And now the Mustangs move on to another important matchup next week.
“When you look at what happened last year, that’s always fresh in our minds,” Stellingwerf said. “Winning out was something that was said right from that Morris Catholic loss; each week getting that win and picking up as many points as we can and staying focused on that. On Monday, these guys will come back in and we’ll get back to work.”
Sussex Tech 41, Bergen Tech 6
ST — Bo Maroney 44 run (Bo Maroney kick)
ST — Brendan Hall 33 run (Maroney kick)
ST — Austin Durham 44 run (Maroney kick)
ST — Hall 65 run (Maroney kick)
ST — Ryan Kinkead 80 interception return (Maroney kick)
ST — Ryan Marshall 2 run (attempt failed)
BT — Francis Gargiulo 20 run (kick failed)
Records: Bergen Tech 3-4, Sussex Tech 6-1
Astros Take 3-1 Lead vs. Yankees in Game 6: Live Updates
2nd Inning: Openers Give Way to Parade of Relievers
The Yankees clawed back a run and chased Brad Peacock out of the game as Gary Sanchez struck a single up the middle with a runner in scoring position, no less.
Peacock recorded five outs, but he started to lose command when his pitch count rose. (Relatively speaking, of course. He only threw 27 total, but he is not a starter.) With two outs, Didi Gregorius doubled to right field. Peacock statistically has greater success against right-handed batters, who only hit .197 against him in the regular season. He clearly began to tire and walked Gio Urshela, so A.J. Hinch made the first of what should be many pitching changes in this game, asking Josh James to face Brett Gardner. James got out of the jam when he caught Gardner looking a dubious strike three call. The pitch looked outside and maybe high.
The Yankees turned to the former Astros lefty J.A. Happ in the bottom of the second, and he had a nice, quiet inning. It was just what the Yankees needed. Martin Maldonado, Houston’s catcher, squared up one ball and hit a sharp line drive down the third base line, but Urshela caught it.
This game is going to get more fascinating as it progresses with all the matchups and decisions. James is still in for Houston.
1st Inning: Gurriel Blast Puts the Astros Ahead
Yuli Gurriel hit a three-run home run off opener Chad Green to give the Astros a 3-0 lead. Green struck out George Springer to start the inning, but he labored after that, giving up a double to Jose Altuve and then one out later he walked Alex Bregman. Gurriel connected on the first pitch — with Altuve breaking for third base — and lined it over the wall in left field as the crowd erupted. The Astros were borrowing from the script the Yankees provided in Game 5, when they scored four runs in the first inning on home runs by D.J. LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks.
For the Astros, Brad Peacock picked up where he left off last night, setting down the Yankees in order on 7 pitches (he needed 8 to get through the 8th inning of Game 5 on Friday). Astros Manager A.J. Hinch said before the game that he liked the idea of using Peacock because of his measured demeanor. Hinch acknowledged that the game could end up being chaotic with all the pitching changes and matchups.
“And who better to kick off the chaos of a bullpen day than a calm Brad Peacock,” he said. Chad Green
1. D.J. LeMahieu, 1B
2. Aaron Judge, RF
3. Gleyber Torres, 2B
4. Aaron Hicks, CF
5. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
6. Didi Gregorius, SS
7. Gary Sanchez, C
8. Gio Urshela, 3B
9. Brett Gardner, LF
Chad Green, P
1. George Springer, CF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Michael Brantley, LF
4. Alex Bregman, 3B
5. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
6. Carlos Correa, SS
7. Yordan Alvarez, DH
8. Martin Maldonado, C
9. Josh Reddick, RF
Brad Peacock, P
Encarnacion, who is mired in a 1-for-19 slump in his last five games, is back in the lineup as the designated hitter instead of Giancarlo Stanton. Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said the long flight was a factor for Stanton, who is recovering from a quad injury, and added that he thought Encarnacion would do well.
Astros Manager A.J. Hinch said he was opening with Peacock because he felt Peacock matched up well with the top of the Yankees’ order. Peacock pitched the eighth inning of Game 5 Friday, and got Gardner, LeMahieu and Judge in order on eight pitches.
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