BEING a Pompey supporter is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
You only have to reflect on the ups and downs of the past few seasons to appreciate that.
Following the Blue Army – especially in recent years – has involved a whole spectrum of emotions from the exhilaration of tasting FA Cup final victory to the despair of entering administration – and everything in between.
The club’s budget has been squeezed, players and managers have come and gone but the club’s amazing set of supporters have kept faith.
Being chaplain to Portsmouth Football Club is an amazing privilege, working alongside all involved in the club both on and off of the pitch.
As the largest community-owned club in Europe there is a real sense that the club belongs to its fans.
It is very easy to see how everyone gets swept up in the expectation of a big club like ours.
But sport reminds us that there is no ‘divine right’ to win matches and that surprises abound – just look at the unlikely Premiership title for Leicester City!
My role is not to pray for success on the field, but to act as a spiritual safety net for players, officials, employees and all involved with the club.
Pompey means so much to so many people that it seems natural to reflect on the spiritual side of life.
Just as the club ‘builds bridges’ in the wider community, so faith can help hold many people together.
The ‘Pompey Family’ is a large one and it is a great privilege to serve it.
Pompey have had a good season, with great performances, large crowds – both home and away – and excitement right to the end, including the drama of the League Two play-offs.
However, the other great emotion of the football fan is hope.
Even after a bad run of results, the hope is that this game will turn things around, and the team will win well.
Being a Christian means believing in a God who brings new life and hope even when all seems lost.