That 2016 volley from outside the box against Liverpool was by a clear margin the most spectacular goal ever scored by the Vardy family – but not anymore. Rebekah has blown her husband clean out the water, with the only slight caveat being that her £3m wonder strike in London’s High Court has gone in the wrong net.
In legal terms, and to quote Sky Sports’ Martin Tyler, I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again. So watch it. Drink it in.
It’s ……… Rebekah Vardy’s account. It always was. And now it’s also Rebekah Vardy’s bank account that’s on the hook for a seven-figure court case that was all her own idea.
For quite some time, an enthralled nation bent its brain around the legal complexities. “Ahh, but she’s not said ‘Rebekah Vardy’, she’s said ‘Rebekah Vardy’s ‘account’. Ahhh, but even if she definitely did it, did Coleen Rooney know she definitely did it? Yeah but Coleen is the defendant… she has to prove she knew…”
None of these questions mattered a jot, in the end. What it came down to was that Mrs Justice Steyn sat and listened to Rebekah Vardy giving evidence for almost two whole days, and came to the same conclusion as absolutely everybody else – that she didn’t believe a word she was saying.
It had been speculated that Vardy might win in the High Court, but it would make little difference because she had already lost in the court of public opinion. But no, she has lost in both, and in truly arresting fashion.
The judge reached conclusions that judges often do. That Ms Vardy’s “evidence was manifestly inconsistent with the contemporaneous documentary evidence”. This is a turn of phrase that tends to be shortened in the public imagination to a single word that begins with L.
Three full years of this truly mad saga has brought an accumulation of moral lessons which perhaps now make most sense to consider in chronological order.
The first one might be to not sell stories to newspapers about your friends. A subsection to this lesson might be to especially not do so if the newspaper in question is The Sun, and your friend is a proud Scouser whose life revolves around football.
The second one would be not to sue your (now former) friend for libel, when they’ve accused you of something you know you’ve done.
Having failed to heed one and two, the third would be not to consistently refuse to settle out of court, thereby allowing the costs for a row that should never really have left Instagram to rise to an estimated £3m, almost all of which you will now have to pay.
The fourth? That would probably be not to destroy crucial evidence that has been requested by the court, by “accidentally” dropping a phone into the sea off the side of a boat on a sightseeing cruise immediately after the request has been made. That sort of thing a judge is likely to find was “deliberate rather than accidental”.
And the fifth, really, is the big one. And that’s if you’ve got thousands and thousands of WhatsApp messages on your phone, which show in very clear detail the fact that you and your agent are so in cahoots with The Sun showbiz desk that you are effectively a freelance reporter for them.
And if you’ve also got messages in which you discuss exactly how you’re going to lie your way out of the thing you’re suing for; well then you definitely, definitely, shouldn’t do as Rebekah Vardy did, and accidentally share those messages with the other side’s lawyers.
One reaches for sporting analogies but one finds the cupboard almost bare. To recall now, Vardy’s two days of testimony – in which she continued to stick to a version of reality that was being simultaneously undermined in real time by her own contemporaneous WhatsApp messages – is to consider that very rare occurrence in football, where all the substitutes have been used and an injured player has no choice but to limp on to the end with a broken leg.
To keep up to speed with all the latest opinions and comment sign up to our free weekly Voices Dispatches newsletter by clicking here
All of which is not even to consider that all of this chumminess with The Sun was in no small part to build a media career which is dependent on being well-known and well-liked. She is now certainly one of those. She will be well-known possibly forever more to media law students. Well-liked, however, seems unlikely from here.
In 2006, a lower league defender called Chris Brass attempted an overhead clearance but managed only to kick the ball off his own face and into his own goal, breaking his nose in the process.
Not many thought his efforts would ever be outdone. At least his was a freakish accident. Rebekah Vardy’s three full years of ongoing madness might well be the greatest self-inflicted defeat in all vaguely sporting history. And quite possibly the costliest, too.