Like father, like son – is that the moral of Nicky Blair’s career as a football agent?

Let's just hope any Middle East invasions turn out better than the old man's

Share

Anyone awaiting the clinching evidence with which to counter John Major’s critique of Monday, when he bemoaned the collapse of social mobility under New Labour, did not have to wait very long. One short day after the former PM dwelt wistfully on the renewed centrality to career prospects of a public school education, heartwarming proof emerged that no one need attend Eton or Winchester to get on in this world after all.

By eeriest happenstance, this elegant rebuttal to Sir John came, indirectly, from the very creator of New Labour at whom he was having a pop. Nicky Blair, the 27-year-old second son of Mr Tony, went to a state school, Brompton Oratory, in a hotbed of urban deprivation (Fulham), and he is doing fine. Indeed, his career path since may strike you as an indecently perfect vignette of the altruistic Blairite age itself.

Having slipped the shackles of a non-public school education, Nicky first read history at Oxford, and then spent two years teaching it in a West Midlands comprehensive. He thought better of that, however, and became a football agent. On Monday it was reported that, after a slow start in maybe the noblest trade known to humanity (after journalism, estate agency, payday lending, nightclub bouncing and crystal meth production), he struck pay dirt.

In June, Nicky was involved in brokering the transfer of a Mexican, Hector Herrera, to FC Porto for £6.7m, which at the standard 10 per cent suggests that his Magnitude Limited pocketed £670,000. Apparently, he hopes to sell another young Mexican on his books to a major European club in the summer for £10m. He is also said to be ambitious to expand his endeavours – and here the proximity of the apple’s landing zone to its mother tree comes to mind – to the Middle East. This may depend, of course, on the peace his father has miraculously sprinkled over the region sustaining a while longer.

Several aspects of this tale stimulate the lachrymals until my teardrops drench the keyboard. The escape from grinding poverty, needless to say, is one: during Nicky’s formative years, the family had to live in state-subsidised housing, bang next door to nightmare neighbours. As that Brixton boy made good John Major appreciates, this takes a bit of gumption.

But what has me virtually paralysed with emotion is the reflection that he need not work at all. Since Mr T prefaced Nicky’s career move by departing public service for private and pro bono consultancies, he has done quite well. The details of Papa Blair’s endeavours, from advising such leaders of mineral-rich developing nations as the adorable Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, are obscured within a staggeringly complex web of companies. His office says he makes no personal profit from such work, which helps fund pro bono work. So we can’t even vaguely guess how much he has made these past six years, although we do know that he and Cherie not long ago bought Nicky a £1.35m Georgian townhouse in central London. Given such parental indulgence, it may be assumed that if the lad preferred to idle away his life as a boulevardier, the senior Blairs would give him an allowance to ensure the electricity wasn’t cut off, and that he could take the odd private jet to Ibiza for his hols. He could, in other words, be a parasite. Instead, Nicky decided to become a football agent.

As an expression of filial piety, this is inordinately touching. While his father hops from one Central Asian and African country to the next to help them with “good governance” and to flog their natural wealth (albeit apparently not for a healthy cut), Nicky does exactly the same in Latin America. To an agent, after all, a footballer is a commodity to be brokered, like Kazakhstan’s gas and the bauxite of Guinea Bissau. This is both entirely legal and utterly blameless, and hardly makes him a second Mark Thatcher. Besides, we are all huge fans of the unfettered free-market capitalism of which football agency might be seen as the apotheosis – especially so, after the global financial triumph of 2008.

Nicky is by no means the only offspring to pay their sire the great compliment of following his career path. First-born Euan hopes to become a Labour MP, while daughter Kathryn is a barrister. Who knows what little Leo might do when he reaches man’s estate now that all three of his father’s three careers are already covered by his siblings. But if I had a Georgian town house to spare, I’d lump it on investment banking,

Anyway, his teachers at Brompton Oratory and his Oxford dons will join me in doffing the sombrero to Nicky on the Mexican deal, and offering best wishes that any future Middle East invasion works out better than the old man’s. As for Sir John Major, he will be feeling foolish on discovering that social mobility does indeed thrive in Britain. The trick for all state-school pupils is to make sure you have for your dad an ex-premier on excellent terms with everyone from Alex Ferguson to Silvio Berlusconi.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own