One-time WAG Nicola Smith has warned Manchester's millionaire footballers to be wary of organised groups of predatory women chasing money and fast-paced lifestyles. She spoke out as Wayne Rooney
, who has been at the centre of a sex scandal, faced the music on two fronts, returning to training with boss Sir Alex Ferguson and continuing to try to patch up his marriage with celebrity wife Coleen. Nicola, 42, who was once engaged to United and England striker Teddy Sheringham, has, in the wake of the Rooney furore, brought forward the launch of a new company My Agent Smith aimed at helping young players cope with the perils of fame. It is open knowledge that there are girls who are taken to areas where footballers hang out. The sole reason they are there is to make money and seek fame and publicity, she said. Charity worker Nicola, who dated Sheringham for eight years, added: Players with high incomes are easy targets for organised groups of girls chasing the money and fast paced lifestyle. It is far, far worse now but it was bad in the 90s when I was with Ted. I remember on one classic occasion I was out with Ted and this girl waited until I had gone off dancing and approached him at the bar. She kissed him on the cheek and put a bit of paper with her phone number on in his pocket. When I got back he told me what had happened. He said he couldn't believe it and he looked shocked. His way of dealing with it was always to be polite but not to give the girl any encouragement . and that's what I will be advising clients with the new business. I'm not commenting on the Wayne Rooney
issue but it is in the news and that's why we have brought forward the launch. To be fair, here in Manchester, most footballers laugh off the attention. Most are good, down to earth lads who are happily married and have no intention of straying. However, some younger players are impressionable and do not have all the life skills to deal with attention in the right way. It is these players that fall foul and end up in situations like we see in the media. Direction They have not been advised on their social environment. Players need to use their free time better. They get bored and we'll be able to point them in the right direction. She met Sheringham after he'd been playing for Spurs and she went to White Hart Lane with her younger sister Mandy, who was dating Pat van den Hauwe. Sheringham asked to meet her and they began an eight-year relationship that ended because, in her words, They didn't know how to deal with all the attention. Nicola, who also works with the Manchester-based Five Stars Children's charity appeal, has launched the agency with her associates providing expertise available covering tax issues, media, law and wealth management. She added: Basically, we are aiming to help steer footballers and other sport stars, as well as celebrities, away from the potential pitfalls they may encounter.