When two worlds collide?
The Royals are back in the Premier League … and in
a Jubilee Year!
There’s something poetic about the timing of Reading’s promotion to the land of hope and dreams. Just two minutes before the fixtures for the 2012/13 Premier League Season were announced, I turned to my wife, Anita (who is a Royals season ticket holder and a very passionate supporter) and said, “I bet it’s Stoke away to start.”
I am not a betting man but we did get Stoke at home.
There’s massive changes going on at the Mad Stad (the name affectionately given to the Madejski Stadium). Not only are we playing in the most famous league in the world but the Royals have new owners.
A new chapter of history begins and now there is even more money involved as Sky and BT have invested in excess of £3bn into the Premier League.
I have been Reading FC Chaplain for the last nine years and what an amazing journey these have been. I still pinch myself at the privilege of working and serving in such an environment.
When you hear about such enormous sums of money as well as the profile and publicity around our national game, it can raise a lot of questions and conflict – not least for me when I also work as a pastor among people who live at the opposite end of life’s spectrum. My two worlds literally do collide but there isn’t really a conflict.
My involvement as a football club chaplain has taught me a number of things, both about myself and about people.
The reality is that people are still people, whatever their status or position in life, and no matter how ‘successful’.
We all live with pressures of pain and rejection, worries and anxieties. This can be magnified in the world of sport and entertainment. I remain convinced that Christians should be involved in being good news in every area of society, including football and entertainment.
During the course of this exciting season I shall be writing a regular column for Xn about certain aspects of life at Reading FC and sharing some perspectives on the world of football.
I shall remain loyal to my commitment to confidentiality and appropriateness for the sake of the special relationships I enjoy around the club but I hope we can enjoy what promises to be an incredible roller coaster of a ride.
Come on URZ!!
This month, Reading open the season with a game at home against Stoke on August 18. Their next two fixtures are away: to Chelsea on Wednesday 22 and to Sunderland on Saturday 25.
Steve Prince is Reading FC Chaplain and the Pastor of Brookside Church