Shehneela Ahmed is in demand. She is an exceptionally hard person to pin down for an interview at the best of times, but during the summer it is particularly tricky, because for the first Football Association-approved agent female Muslim agent there is business aplenty to be conducted in the off-season period. On top of that, quite incredibly, the Rochdale-born deal breaker and history maker still works as a criminal defence solicitor.
When we do eventually manage to meet, at a cafe close to Big Ben in July, Ms Ahmed, the daughter of Pakistani immigrants, is the epitome of professionalism. Her hair is tied back neatly, her legs in a charcoal-coloured power suit are elegantly crossed, mirroring her wrists, and the spark that flickers in her eyes when she speaks about football hints at her serious passion for the beautiful game.
As a child she supported Manchester United – as many youngsters from Rochdale tend to, being just over a half-hour drive away from Old Trafford – and moved to the capital after graduating from Staffordshire University via Guildford, where Ms Ahmed completed her Law Society finals. When she registered as a football agent, in October 2013, it triggered ‘phenomenal’ interest from media across the globe.