Wakefield Trinity RLFC

Wakefield Wildcats Club Chaplain

The vision

The vision is to care for and support the staff, players and supporters of the Wakefield Wildcats Super League Rugby Club; to show the love of God in a practical, relevant and non-threatening way; and to link the club with the church through various events.

Main achievements of the year

I have sought to fulfil the vision of caring for and supporting staff, players and people who work at the grounds. I have helped to bring in a second chaplain, Gavin Budby, who now works with the academy players, bringing in new talent to the squad as well as scouting for new players. The club think Gavin is a great asset to them. He has also taken on the role of looking after the chaplains in rugby league in the Yorkshire area. This comes under hihhhihis work with Sports Chaplaincy UK.

I have being interviewed live on Sky Sports: the interview was broadcast numerous times during the day. This covered my work as a chaplain with players. I have appeared in the national magazine Rugby League World. I was interviewed by the magazine about my role and work with the players and staff. This led to Sky Sports interview.

A Christmas Carol Service was held in the club for the second time which, we felt, was very successful, with around 300 people present. Reece Lynne, a friend and player from the club, took part.

I was very close to the last coach, Brian Smith. Brian is a famous and well known coach of rugby league. He understood my job and role very well. The new coach Chris Chester is also very open to sports chaplaincy and wants me with the lads on the coach at away games as well as in the dressing room at half time. He also includes me in video tactics and analysis of other teams.

Great relationships with the players have being built up and there is lots of potential within the club. The results of the players just recently show that they are being looked after by the club well.

I continue to be a member of Sports Chaplaincy UK, an organisation which supports sports chaplains in their roles at clubs. I attend an excellent Sports Chaplaincy UK Conference annually.  Various sports organisations and Christian athletes offer advice and teaching at this event. We are always blessed and encouraged to go away and help equip the sports people with whom we work.

A school teacher who has attended the New Life Alpha Course is helping some of the players academically.

Eric Medley brings in clients regularly that I show round the club and arrange for them to meet the players and have free tickets to the games.

Barry Woodward spoke to a lot of the players and staff, including coaches of the club.   This was very well received and, arising from Barry's visit to Wildcats, he has been invited to speak to players at Bradford Bulls.

 I invited Andy Kirke, an ex-Wakefield Wildcats player, to speak at a Sunday evening meeting at church. He talked about his addiction to pornography and how Christ set him free. I have been helping Andy since his visit to get into other Super League clubs to share his story.

I also invited Darrell Tunningley into the club to speak to all the players about his drug problems and how he ended up in jail following stealing cars and armed robbery.

Main plans for the future

I plan to:

·         arrange for a carol service to be held at the club again this year, all being well bigger and better;

·         build up more relationships with the players and staff.

·         connect more with other chaplains and clubs;

·         and continue doing what I’m doing faithfully and consistently.

All aspects of the work covered by this report seek to have a positive and beneficial impact on the men and women who are direct ‘recipients’, and on many other people who may also be influenced.

Jonathan Robinson