The community hub launched in 2015 and is the WAGs’ answer to the parenting website Mumsnet, which connects hundr of wives and partners of professional and ex pro footballers. Recently 30 members met up for lunch at The Ivy restaurant in Manchester.
Mother-of-three Leanne believes that although they are all lucky to have enjoyed the benefits that come with high-profile football careers, awareness ne to be raised about the pitfalls of the profession, and the pressures they and their families will face.
Leanne Brown and fellow members of the LifeStyled Club – Amara Kanu the wife of former Portsmouth and Nigerian international player Nwankwo Kanu, Erin Borini the wife of former Liverpool FC player Fabio Borini, Helen Drury married to former Norwich City captain Adam, Rachel Peters the wife of Maidenhead United’s Ryan Peters and Maggie Devine-Inman the wife of former Peterborough United’s Niall Inman
(Image: Leanne Brown/LifeStyled Club/Instagram)
“There should be more education out there because so many are injured early in their career.
“Wes was just 14 when he went to boarding school (after being signed by United). It’s like being in the army and for some it can lead to depression and alcoholism.
“Yes we’ve got a lovely life and all this money but, and I’m not saying the money isn’t great, but when you’re in it you’re living in this bubble.”
She explained: “There’s a lot that doesn’t get publicised, about how people look down on it thinking ‘they’ve got it so easy.’
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“People also want to know when they arrive at a club where to eat and where to shop. And for some of the wives and girlfriends joining a club there’s a language barrier.
Leanne and Wes with their daughters
(Image: Leanne Brown/Instagram)
“I want to make wives and partners more aware that they need to be there in (professional and financial) meetings and be there when they say you don’t need to, because it’s your futures and you need to be investing carefully. After retirement there’s a limited amount of career choices.”
“Although the fans can be amazing they can also be very cruel. It must be hard to deal with to be on top one minute and hated the next for a bad kick or missing the goal.
“We are the ones that are left to pick up the pieces and bear the brunt of whatever is left at the end of their careers.
“Sometimes it’s hard being alone a lot. The lads are away a lot, especially if involved in a high profile club and England international too.”
Wes joined Manchester United when he was 14 and played for the club, alongside legends including Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo, until he was 32. He then played for Sunderland, Blackburn and most recently Indian club Kerala Blasters until his retirement last year.
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Leanne met her future husband in Manchester‘s iconic Discotheque Royale nightclub when she was 21 and he was 18, and at the time she didn’t know who he was. They have three daughters Halle, 16, Lilia, 11, and Lola, eight and the couple will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary this year.
She said: “After his retirement Wes has worked with MUTV and has been commentating.
Leaving ITVBe reality show RHOC in 2018 has enabled Leanne to channel her energies into humanitarian work and last year she went on a heartbreaking and eye-opening trip to Africa with the charity One Woman At A Time.
On Friday May 17 Leanne will host another event for the charity at The Mere hotel in Knutsford, to help young girls and women in Africa to get into education, to save them from arranged marriages, and to end the torture of female genital mutilation. Last year her Empowerment Ball raised thousands of pounds for the cause.
Leanne with Chantelle Heskey the wife of former England ace Emile
(Image: Sean Hansford)
By working with the charity she wants to inspire her daughters to see ‘beyond Cheshire’ and make them aware of how lucky they are.
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“Previously I kept myself to myself but the player liaison made a point of taking us out to dinner so we became close and I realised I was just a normal girl the same as everyone else. I had read about all these WAGs but they were lovely, down-to-earth girls just like me.”
The proud mother-of-four, who last year launched her own restaurant Parea in millonaire’s playground Alderley Edge, is now in a network of football mums with her sons Jaden, 13 and Reigan, 11 hoping to emulate their father’s success playing for Manchester City’s academy.
“If they get injured you want to run onto the pitch and just grab them up into a big hug.”
Emile Heskey and wife Chantelle with their two sons Reigan and Jaden pictured in 2013
(Image: Jon Baxter)
Emile was capped 62 times for England and had a successful career as a striker in the top flight with Liverpool, Wigan and Aston Villa, before retiring from the game in 2016. He has since worked as a commentator and played in legends of football matches and has used his experiences to act as a mentor to other footballers, advising them to invest their money wisely.
Real Housewives of Cheshire star Dawn Ward was widely praised after she reached out to support the wife and children of former Bolton Wanderers player Jlloyd Samuel, from Lymm, who died when his Range Rover collided with a van in High Legh as he made his way back from the school run last May.
Dawn, who is married to retired footballer Ashley Ward, opened the doors of her Warford Hall home to host a ladies lunch, and the late player’s wife Emma Samuel and her mother Julie Horrobin were guests of honour, as the family faced their first Christmas without Jlloyd.
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(Image: Monkey Kingdom)
Emma says she was left in ‘big financial difficulty’ following her husband’s death in May and was forced to sell the family home and her car.
She said the lunch, which raised £10,000, would help her and their children Amara, nine, Lakyle, 12, and Javarne, 14, to settle into their new home and kick-start her own business to support the family.
Emma previously told the Manchester Evening News: “I’ve been left in big financial difficulty because my husband was the breadwinner and he didn’t have life insurance. We’ve just moved house because we couldn’t stay there.
(Image: Birmingham Post and Mail)
Dawn told the M.E.N.: “At Christmas time I like to make a difference to somebody’s life.
“Emma’s whole life has been turned upside down so I felt so pleased to host this event for her.”
And the club has a public landing page lifestyledclub.com for anyone wishing to find out more.