A lone voice dared challenge corrupt football culture. Her name? Rebekah Vardy

By Abigail Pennson, our reasonable, plain-speaking middle-class columnist slightly to the right of Hitler

ONCE in a generation comes a hero. Someone prepared to stand up and say, no matter what the personal consequences, ‘no more.’ 

An incorruptible who, despite every seduction of money and fame whispered by serpents, resists. Who puts principles first. Who places faith in honesty and probity in public life.

That hero made her stand this week. Her name? Rebekah Vardy. And her battle for freedom of speech is for us all.

What is Vardy’s alleged crime? Lifting the lid on the cesspit that is modern celebrity football. Exposing the misdeeds of the depraved child millionaires who have turned England into a cross between a racetrack and a brothel.

Footballers live outside the law. Do you remember when Kevin de Brunye rammed a bus full of pensioners into the river Irwell, for a bet? Or when Granit Xhaka burned down a primary school by drunkenly lighting his farts?

Or, most damningly, when Morten Gamst Pederson was unmasked as a serial killer with more than 50 victims? And confessed he did it as a lucky pre-match ritual?

No, you don’t. Because those stories were hushed up by a media establishment desperate to preserve the Premier League’s worldwide pull. In cahoots, or course, with arch-Remainer Gary Lineker, who paid off the judges and the police in return for kickbacks.

Somebody needed to expose their crimes. And, bravely, like an embedded reporter in a Humvee invading Iraq, Vardy stepped up.

Week by week she built her dossier. Refusing all offers of payment, guided only by her unwavering moral compass, she brought those walls of silence tumbling down.

And what happened? Predictably, football’s attack dogs were unleashed. She is being sued to within an inch of her life and due to a series of bizarre mishaps – a phone in the North Sea, a lost password, an ill agent – is unable to defend herself.

But she will be remembered. Journalists everywhere owe Rebekah Vardy their very livelihoods for her relentless crusade for free speech and untrammeled truth.

Let’s raise a glass to her. Rebekah, who suffers for our sins. A contemporary Christ in a £1,565 Mugler blazer. The redeemer of us all.

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Let's move to a city heaving with Hoorays and the homeless! This week: Oxford

What’s it about?

Lucky enough to be blessed not only with one of the oldest and best universities in the world but also a brand new John Lewis, Oxford really is a cut above.

Packed with stunning architecture and students unimpressed with it because they grew up in 15th century manor houses and have no doubt they’re better than you. Also has one of the worst homelessness problems in the UK, so step over sleeping bags and pretend not to have change as you stare up at those dreaming spires feeling guilty.

Any good points?

Not many cities can rival Oxford’s stunning architecture and fascinating history, not to mention parking prices hitting a world-beating £6 an hour. But that at least means the city’s awash with empty spaces: gone are the days of looping up and down St Giles for an afternoon looking for somewhere to f**king park.

Driving in Oxford also gives you the opportunity to battle gridlock on Botley Road and to experience its unfathomable one-way system; every visitor to the city drives down a restricted road, or a tiny stretch of restricted road in the middle of an otherwise unrestricted road, and receives a fine in the post as a lovely souvenir.

Sidestep this with the Park & Ride, which charges you both to park and to ride. Or join the students risking their lives on bikes or electric scooters. As a bonus, these also make it terrifying to be a pedestrian.

Wonderful landscape?

Between the university parks, Christ Church Meadow and the Botanic Gardens, Oxford has a wealth of stunning places to consult the Park & Ride return schedule.

Forget the Radcliffe Camera and the Bridge of Sighs; for real sightseeing, go to Headington to marvel at the lifesize shark embedded headfirst in the roof of a house.

Fans of fighting swans and falling into rivers should go to the Cherwell and have a punt at punting. Though it’s less relaxing than you’d imagine to have a boozy picnic on the back of a wobbly boat armed with nothing but a surprisingly unmanageable pole.

There’s also the Martyrs Memorial, and just around the corner in Broad Street the actual spot where bishops were burned alive: very Instagrammable. Time it right and see throngs of students dressed like penguins pouring out of the Sheldonian Theatre after some weirdly-named ceremony. Just think, you’re glimpsing the future of privileged, incompetent English politics.

Hang out at…

Enjoy Latin hymns and early mornings? Who doesn’t? Fight through the crowds for a place at the foot of Magdalen Tower at 6am on May 1st to be serenaded by young choirboys and grown men singing falsetto.

Make it past the police and join the other May Day tradition of flinging yourself off the bridge and into the river, hoping to miss a shopping trolley

Otherwise renowned for having the worst nightlife in the country, the club scene is overrun with students but the kebab vans are excellent: stay away from Parkend and head straight out to Ahmed’s on the High Street for award-winning cheese and chips.

Where to buy?

Central Oxford is blessed not only with listed buildings and chain cafes but house prices to rival London. Though it’s also teeming with unaffordable suburbs: whether Summertown to the north or Headington to the east, they’re each full of M&S Foodhalls and private schools.

From the streets:

Helen Archer, aged 19: “Personally, I don’t see why people call Oxford University elitist. It’s full of grounded, normal former public school pupils who struggle to pay their battels because they’ve blown their trust fund on coke. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to call into the Bod before my tute and then get into my subfusc for Formal.”