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The Trinity Forum 2012 provided many memorable moments, inside and outside the conference hall. Readers will forgive this writer for honing in on a particular personal highlight, which took place thousands of miles from the conference venue in Seoul.
On Sunday February 12, my beloved West Bromwich Albion FC – alias the Baggies – travelled a few miles up the A41 to take on our bitterest rivals, Wolverhampton Wanderers. It’s a match I would normally have attended, despite the risk of, at best, flying Bovril, and at worst, serious physical injury (note to non-football fans: these two clubs really do not like each other). So it was probably for the best that I found myself in the lively district of Itaewon in Seoul, searching for a bar in which I could watch the sporting event of the year.
That search proved fruitless – it seems Korean TV does not know a surefire ratings winner when it sees one. My last throw of the dice was at the Wolfhound pub, where the staff could not have been more apologetic when telling me that no, the Baggies had not knocked Winter Sonata from the schedules.
However, Korean ingenuity knows no bounds, and 15 minutes later, the Wolfhound staff had managed to find an internet feed streaming the big match, and promptly put it on the big screens dotted around the pub. My joy turned to undiluted ecstasy two minutes later, when our boys took a deserved 2-1 lead. Half an hour later it was 5-1, and I genuinely thought my Korean friends had been showing a game played by two 12-year-olds on Playstation, rather than the usually hard-fought Black Country derby.
I knew the result was correct on returning to the Hyatt and bumping into our old friend Dan Cappell, Senior Vice President Commercial at Abu Dhabi Airports Company. Dan grew up in Wolverhampton and is a devoted Wolves fan – like some other deluded souls in the industry (step forward Andrew Webster and Alex Cook) – and we had made a bet on the result the previous night. Now Dan might be a Wolves fan, but he is a man of dignity and honour, and after dealing me several playful but repeated punches to the head and abdomen, he handed over 50 pounds for donation to The Smile Train.
I will match that donation and am therefore happy to report that Wolves’ fans tears have helped create a few smiles – not only my own, but those of needy children whose lives can be transformed by just a few pounds.
Thanks Dan and I hope we can do it all again next year.