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Footballers are humans too!

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It’s been almost a year since the sad death of Gary speed (Wales manager and ex-Premier League player). It was reported that Gary had suffered from depression.


I heard an interview by a friend of mine on Radio 5 Live leading up to the anniversary of Gary speed’s death. Matt baker, the pastoral support director for english Football, sports Chaplaincy UK, was asked by Peter Allen on the Radio 5 Live Drive programme as to why people who earned such a lot of money might need help with emotional matters.
The question itself betrayed a commonly held view that if we have money and fame, everything else in our lives should take care of itself.
Footballers (and any other celebrities for that matter) have the same human needs as everyone else.
When you add into the mix of their lives the pressure of needing to perform and living in the spotlight, along with big questions over people you can really trust, there’s a recipe for potential emotional difficulties.
We are all made with emotional needs for such things as encouragement and affirmation to name but two and in the world of football it can be difficult to hear and receive these (when they are offered).
Added to this, every football stadium becomes a cauldron of expectation and so when players make mistakes or perform below par, fickle fans can soon grow critical of individual players. And then there are horrible scenes such as happened to Chris Kirkland, the sheffield Wednesday player recently. He was punched in the face and taunted by a Leeds fan after Leeds scored an equalising goal.

Chaplaincy exists in part to be available to help with some of the emotional and occasional traumatic life experiences people have.
We all need people we can trust and have confidence in to help us on occasion, even if it’s a trustworthy ear to listen to how we are feeling. It’s generally harder for men to understand and express their feelings and so it takes much longer to build trusting relationships.
Premier League football has been frustrating for the lack of games because of international football but now we are back in business with fixtures coming thick and fast.
the Royals season resumed with a narrow defeat at Liverpool and, despite the lack of a Premier League victory to date, the boys remain in good heart.
It’s tough to make the step up a level and, after a season of winning lots of games in the Championship, we are adjusting to a league where every game is like a cup final.
I recently went along to watch my team play their Thames Valley Churches Football League game recently. I was impressed by the quality of the football on display. No prizes for guessing ‘my team’ as I am pastor and team leader at this church!
I commend all involved in this league – why not get along to one of the TVCFL games sometime soon?
I am sure you will enjoy the experience as we as show support for all the work and effort being put in by the teams involved.
Come on URZ!!

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