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Footballers' wives shake off the season; As the football season draws to a close Kate Mansey speaks exclusively to footballers' wives and partners about their goals for the holiday period.

Byline: Kate Mansey

IT is nearing the end of the football season - and it is not just the players who are looking forward to relaxing after a gruelling chase for trophies. Footballers' wives, girlfriends and sisters gathered at an exclusive fashion show this week to see Kerry Fowler's new collection of underwear.

It was a night of champagne, cocktails, chocolate, diamonds and lingerie that was strictly ladies only, despite a young Hollyoaks actor who could not keep away.

Many have been looking after the children and holding down careers of their own while their husbands were out on the pitch.

And for some, the holiday period will be a time for romance as weddings are planned at home and away A glittering cast was present at the show held at Liverpool's Boodle & Dunthorne jewellers, which had an elite guest list.

As well as Kerry, wife of former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler, the wives, partners and family of current stars Jamie Carragher, Djimi Traore and Richie Partridge, and Tranmere striker Eugene Dadi were among the guests.

French defender Traore's Danish girlfriend Melene Holst, 22, arrived to unwind before sitting journalism exams in the next few days.

The player had a good season but Melene said: 'I am a career woman and I have my own ambitions to fulfill.'

Sarah Dunn, who plays Mandy in Hollyoaks, arrived with her mother, her best friend, and her colleague Guy Burnet The players' other halves took in the new collection as they tried the jewellery on and caught up with friends.

But it is not all glamour and glitz as many of the woman are raising young children, forging ahead with their own careers, and planning wedding ceremonies for the summer.

Others are off to Portugal to start another, albeit unofficial sporting season - golf.

The play-offs and Champions League final are just one of many things still on these women's minds as they combine domestic tasks with living the high life and dealing with the glare of the spotlight.

Kerry Fowler is like many modern business women.

She is bringing up two young children and has launched a family business with her sister.

She just happens to be a footballer's wife as well.

Their new bespoke lingerie range was shown off at the elite fashion show. According to Kerry, who grew up in Liverpool as the youngest of five children, her family is a huge support.

She said: 'When I was growing up I was such a show-off. I was always dressing up and playing around.

'I'm more the creative one and my sister takes care of all the business stuff - the accounts and things like that which I'm just not interested in.

'It's great working with her. We're really close. In fact, I'm close to all my family and Robbie gets on really well with them.'

Over the summer the couple will be holidaying at their home in Portugal, but that doesn't mean that the sport stops for Robbie.

She said: 'Throughout the season I'm a football widow, and when we're on holiday I'm a golf widow. He's football mad and golf mad. He doesn't stop.'

But Kerry and Robbie are still madly in love She said: 'We have areally good laugh together. He's always playing tricks on me.

'He rings up the lingerie shop, puts on a funny accent and asks if we have any raunchy knickers in a size 28.

'I get all flustered and fall for it every time.

'We just mess around. There's a really funny picture of us messing around with fake teeth and fake glasses on.'

The children sit at home with their mother to watch most of Robbie's matches for Manchester City.

Kerry said: 'It's a bit noisy for the children at the matches so we watch them on television.

'When they see their daddy on television I have to explain it to them. I just tell him what he does.

'But now whenever my youngest sees a footballer on the television he says ' Daddy, daddy', and I have to say 'No, that's not daddy.'

Michael Owen's sister, Lesley, has double the anxiety every season as the 21-year-old is also engaged to rising Liverpool FC star Richie Partridge.

She said: 'I get really really nervous when I see him play. You feel it all in your stomach' It is pretty nerve-wracking - but after the season is finished over here there's still a couple of weeks for Michael in Madrid.

'I'll be going out there to see him, I love it.

'I suppose it is a bit of a relief when the season is finished but you just think ' What next'? After a while it gets boring and you're waiting for it to start again.'

But Lesley has not always been on the sidelines. As a little girl, she was the only female footballer at her school, but nowadays she prefers to watch.

The Liverpool girl has been engaged for a year but has no plans to become a footballer's wife in the near future.

'I'm too young to get married yet,' she said.

Nicola Hart is the mother of Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher's two children, a two-year-old boy and one-year-old girl.

The young player has been the star of the season and has been just as successful in his love life.

In six weeks' time Nicola, 25, will be a footballer's wife when the couple marry at an exclusive ceremony with close friends and family in Weston Park Shropshire. But they have been together since they were teenagers growing up in Bootle.

She said: 'It's not always as glamorous as people think. Well, it is and it isn't. It is a good life.

'To me he's just the boy I fell in love with. I've known him all my life. To me he's just the kid from the next street.

'I mean, I get embarrassed by all the attention. It sounds weird but it's just a job at the end of the day. You've just got to accept his job.'

She added: 'I keep saying that I'm going to start up exercising or do some sport myself but with the children I never get the time.

'I have lost the weight quickly after having the babies but I think it does help to be younger when you have children when it comes to getting back in shape. I haven't been to a gym or anything - I never have the time.'

Former Emmerdale star Sheree Murphy was a celebrity before her marriage to LFC's Australian star Harry Kewell.

But the pressures of children and her own career forced her to take stock of what was important to her. She said: 'I loved working on Emmerdale. But when I had the children I just found that I couldn't do it all.

'I left the house at 6am when it was dark and the children were asleep and I got back at 9pm and the children were in bed. I never saw them. I just cried all day.

'I loved my job but I didn't see anyone.

'In the end I said ' That's enough', and when they are a little bit older I can think of going back to work. I still do little bits and pieces so I keep busy.'

Sheree added: 'Being a footballer's wife really isn't like it is portrayed on the television.

'I don't go out and have my nails done and go to lunch every day.'

Sheree stayed away from the champagne as she had to be up early to take her son Taylor, four, and daughter Ruby, two, out the next day.

She said: 'We've got a home in Portugal so Harry will be out playing golf this summer so that should be a nice break for us

CAPTION(S):

From left Djibril Cisse's fiancee Jude Littler, Jamie Carragher's fiancee Nicola Hart, Robbie Fowler's wife Kerry and Harry Kewell's wife Sheree Murphy at the function held at Boodle and Dunthorne; Djimi Traore's girlfriend Melene Holst, left , and Eugene Dadi's fiancee Joana Varela Da Veiga at the function at Boodle and Dunthorne; Liverpool stars Jamie Carragher, left , in action, with Djimi Traore, centre , and ex-Liverpool hero Robbie Fowler, playing for Manchester City, right picture; Harry Kewell
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 14, 2005
Words:1371
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