After a difficult Christmas the Royals have enjoyed a good sequence of results and a recent series of games when we were scoring an amazing number of goals.
The difficult thing about football is that success very quickly raises expectations and so all us fans who were at the Sheffield Wednesday game expected another goal-fest. The sending off of Alex Pearce and ensuing penalty jolted us back into reality and a home defeat followed.
The January transfer window came and went with no activity due to uncertainties off the pitch but the great news has been holding on to key players despite interest from other clubs. Despite a significant list of injuries and speculation about ownership of the club, we remain competitive in and around the play-off zone.
It was great hearing the chairman, Sir John Madejski, tell everyone that he is back in control at the club and that it was him who rebuffed offers for some of our players. I recently saw an article in one of the national newspapers that listed 10 chairmen you wouldn’t want running your club and so it was great to hear Brian McDermott talking about what a great person Sir John had been to work for.
Ultimately the person overseeing the life of a football club or any other organisation determines the culture that people experience as they engage with it.
Establishing and sustaining a healthy culture with positive values creates an environment that can bring success.
I have now been the chaplain at Reading FC for 10 years and we have enjoyed most of our best success in this period – no link, I am sure!
I am convinced this success has come directly out of the positive and healthy culture there is around the club and my hope is that this will continue under any future new ownership. As the pastoral prayer team meets weekly to pray at the Madejski, we are continually praying for the whole environment to continue to be positive and healthy.
Finally, I have been busy with quite a number of committals in the garden of remembrance recently. Every time I lead a committal I remind families and friends that every one of us will come to this place when our lives end and ask if are we ready to meet our maker.
The world of the football club chaplain spans such a wide range of experiences and emotions, both on and off the pitch.
Come on URZ!!
Steve Prince is Reading FC Chaplain and Pastor of Brookside Church