Honorary Fellow

I notice that Martina Navratilova has been dubbed an honorary fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.

Martina must belong to that blessed social stratum whose inhabitants float free of the need to do any work, and take on various ‘ambassador’ roles. She has a social credit account with the rest of us, just like ex-Arsenal and, ahem, England midfielder Ray Parlour, the Romford Pelé.

Ray has recently released his autobiography. In it, he tells the story of a visit to the Nike superstore in central London, at the invitation of his teammate, Thierry Henry, a Nike ambassador. Because it was Henry (not Parlour) they shut the shop and gave the pair free rein. Henry told the childlike Ray that he could choose anything he liked, so Ray snatched a trolley and started to fill it up, until it was overflowing with clothes and shoes and golf clubs. In his own words, ‘three grand of Nike stuff’. When he got to the till he was jovially mortified to find that, Henry, a byword for class, had modestly selected just a single pair of trainers (although there’s no reason to believe that he hadn’t scooped up armfuls of sports-casual leisurewear on his first go-round as well).

I am not sure what the qualifications for honorary fellow are, but before long, if there is any justice, Ray Parlour and Thierry Henry will be collecting theirs and putting their feet up at high table, while the older members of the collegiate body drop their teeth into their soup. And they will have royally earned it.