Cold Call: Jack O'Sullivan Rings Samantha Kane
BEFORE CALLING Samantha Kane, I contact Sheffield United. Can it be true that an Iraqi-born transsexual, fresh from an operation, aims to take over such a bastion of unreconstructed masculinity - a northern England football club? It's a hoax, isn't it? "Certainly not," says a gruff, macho Yorkshire voice down the phone. "Ms Kane is being considered for the post of chief executive. That's all we can say now."
Fine. Dial Samantha. She used to be Sam Hashimi, Middle-Eastern businessman. Then, last year, she underwent " surgical gender reassignment". So she looks completely different. The Saddam-Hussein- style black moustache had to go, and that was just for starters.
And she certainly sounds different. We chat about football. Her voice is high, sexy, but fragile, rather like Lady Penelope in Thunderbirds. "I used to play," she says. "When I lived in Baghdad, my parents always insisted on football. I was captain of the college team. I was a forward - I have lovely long legs, so I ran fast. My parents encouraged me because they were trying to make a man of me. However, they didn't succeed." We both laugh. Does she still play? "Oh, no," she sighs. "Not since my transformation. My body is a woman's now. I have breasts, long nails, very long hair. It's all a bit restrictive. I don't have the testosterone necessary for such a muscular game. It's also psychological. I don't want to be accused of pursuing a masculine hobby." It seems odd, then, that she wants to invest in a football club. Why Sheffield United? "I fell in love with Sheffield United 10 years ago when I was introduced to the chairman. My plan is to attract one million Sheffield United supporters in Asia and the Middle East to watch the matches on subscription television." A million! I didn't realise that Sheffield United was so popular in the Arab world. …