Rev Jonathan Jeffery, chaplain to Portsmouth FC and vicar, St Francis, Leigh
Park, and St Clare, Warren Park talks about a fresh start
AS a young boy, I clearly remember the days leading up to the start of each football season.
I had a set of ‘ladder’ charts from Shoot magazine, which allowed you to recreate the four divisions, moving teams up and down as results unfolded each week.
Before the start of the season, I would carefully place all the teams in alphabetical order in their divisions, which always meant Arsenal and Aston Villa would sit proudly at the top of the old First Division.
There was a great sense of expectation, which surrounded the start of the season and renewed hope among fans from all the clubs, whatever results had been like the season before.
Supporters could dream that the new signings their club had made would make all the difference, or that they would bounce back from relegation.
There is a tangible sense of hope and optimism amongst supporters, especially before a ball has been kicked.
As chaplain at Portsmouth Football Club, I share the fans’ excitement, hope and optimism on the opening day of the season.
Pompey face a new campaign in League Two but it comes with great expectations.
The new manager in Paul Cook has got fans excited, as has the and several new players who have arrived over the summer.
The training ground is complete, season ticket sales have been great and the side is among the favourites for promotion.
We can rightly be thrilled by the thought of a new season kicking off at Fratton Park this Saturday.
As a parish priest in Leigh Park and Warren Park, I also firmly believe in the excitement of a new start in our daily lives.
God, who has revealed himself as love through the gift of his son Jesus Christ, offers that new start through the power of his forgiveness.
Lives are transformed and the excitement, hope and optimism of a fresh start are freely given to those who ask for them.
So football fans and others alike can take a moment before this Saturday’s big kick off to think about a clean sheet and a fresh start, not just for Pompey but for each of us.
Come 5pm on Saturday, a convincing win over Dagenham and Redbridge could see Pompey on top of that football ladder, which could be the start of a big season.
For each one of us, fans or otherwise, it could also be that start of something even bigger.
Here’s to an exciting new season Play up Pompey.