Palace Vs Sunderland
Palace vs Sunderland today. It was at this exact fixture in October 2013. Palace vs Sunderland, home at Selhurst Park. My son, Child B, was 4 (and a half) and I thought it would be a great idea to take him to his first game as the special guest of a premier league manager, in this case, Ollie, then manager of Crystal Palace, Ian Holloway.
I had not seen Child B for 13 weeks at that time, as each weekend the mother of Child B, a member of British Family law, would obstruct visitation, insisting on a 6 figure payment before allowing the son to see his father.
After 13 weeks of being frustrated with cancellation emails arriving mostly on the Thursday before the proposed weekend visit, the opportunity for Child B to attend his first football game arrived.
For any kid the chance to be introduced to the wonderful game in this way, with the manager of the team in a home stadium, watching from the managers box with his dad, was, I thought something so clearly fine that even a member of British Family law driven by a focused monetary agenda would put aside the famously low ethics associated with British Family law and consider, even if just for this one occasion, the child’s best interests.
I was enthusiastically optimistic right up until 5 on Friday. A traditional time for Family lawyers to send bad news. (Timing is important in Family law correspondence. So many parents planning weekends with their kids, who they miss, making them especially vulnerable to a re-negotiation at the last minute on a Friday. ) So Child B’s mother declined, on the basis that she felt he was too young to go to a football game and Child B never got to visit Selhurst park with me. Clearly implicit and made in Without Prejudice correspondence in writing on previous occasions, although not this particular one, was the understanding that if I paid a specific 6 figure asking price, visitation would be unlimited.
Palace won that day. Ollie was thrilled. I was his ‘good luck charm.’ It was the saddest game I ever attended. I thought how much Child B would have enjoyed the Eagle they fly across the pitch before the game starts, Palace of course being called ‘The Eagles.’
Today its big Sam in the Eagles managers box I sat in, facing Sunderland. The outcome though very different. Palace losing 4 – 0.
Child B may well have never got to see a football game in the missing 4 years since. I wouldn’t know. But I do know British Family law. Child B lost. So did I.