Written by Graham Perry

Graham Perry M.A. Cantab FCIArb Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer

2 February 2024





Ms Chair senses this is going to be a problem that needs her attention. But how to handle?  Speak to the player or his agent? Players have “hangers-on” – maybe a quiet word with No 5’s closest friends? Or even the Italian Club from which he was signed as they will have knowledge about No 5’s character and weaknesses, and his ability to combine work and play. And Ms Chair did strike up a rapport with her opposite number at the Club from which No 5 was signed. Ms Chair puts on her thinking cap. She knows she has a problem.”

Ms Chair is thoughtful. The next steps are crucial. She has to get it right. A mistake by her has serious consequences – No 5 might over-react and become contentious rather than co-operative. With every possible solution there is a problem.

Ms Chair could sound out No 5’s agent but she does not know him well enough. And the agent might see a second big pay day through a quick transfer back to the original selling Italian Club – a bad outcome for FTFC and Ms Chair.

She rules out a phonecall to her opposite number at the No 5s previous Club because she simply does not know him well enough. It is true that she did get on well with him during the negotiations but the chairman in Italy may see a cut -price buyback which would leave Ms Chair with egg all over her face. 

Ms Chair had been aware that No 5 did have an apparent religious streak coursing through his veins. He had joined the local Catholic Church and, despite some Saturday Evening kick offs, still made it to Church on the Sunday morning. She began to think. Was there a rapport with the local Priest? It so happened that Ms Chair had dedicated a Home Match towards the end of the previous season to local religious communities. She had called it Faiths in Football. That match had been played on a Sunday with a late Kick Off and attendance by the key religious ministers had occurred.

Ms Chair began to think. An idea was coming into view. FTFC had acquired a good standing with the local Priest, Rabbi, Imman and Vicar. She had not overlooked the small group of identifiable Atheists either whom Ms Chair had invited to that late Kick-Off match and the Atheists – pleased to be noticed by the Club – had supported the Club’s Faith Initiative.

This had been a smart move by Ms Chair because the staff – players, administrators, groundsmen – constituted a rainbow of faiths. The religious appeal was across the board and reflected the make-up of Felixstowe.

There was another group that Ms Chair had been cultivating – ‘the Women for FTFC’. They were not a religious faith but they were an identifiable group within the Town and were in the process of organising a team with focused recruitment from local schools. Ms Chair was all about Community.

So Ms Chair picks up the phone and speaks to the local Catholic Priest. In the Roman Catholic Church, a priest is given the title of Monsignor if he has attained a high level of distinction within the church and has been recognized for his work by the Pope. It so happens that the local Priest, Monsignor Hapgood, has received such recognition from Pope Francis for his long service to the Community of Felixstowe. The Monsignor is quite taken aback by Ms Chair’s phone call. He is even more surprised so by the proposal that Ms Chair asks him to consider.




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