Faith and Football Songs of Praise


Faith and Football

Aled Jones looks forward to the football World Cup in Brazil and meets the fans who are going out there to do more than just watch the matches.


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Transcript


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In a couple of weeks, the eyes of the world will be focused here,

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in Brazil, for the 2014 World Cup.

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OK, I'm not really in Brazil.

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Our Songs Of Praise budget didn't quite stretch that far,

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but I am here at Wembley Stadium, and I've got plenty

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of football for you and a group of rather enthusiastic Brazilians.

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Today, what it's like to fulfil a boyhood dream

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and play for your country in the World Cup.

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The fans who are off to Brazil to do more than just watch

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a few games of footie.

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Plus how England's favourite sport went international,

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a Brazilian Mass, and fantastic hymns from around the UK.

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CHEERING

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So what do Tottenham Hotspur, Leeds United

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and Manchester United all have in common?

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Apart from the fact they're all football teams -

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I don't support any of them, I'm an Arsenal man -

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the answer is their supporters have all used our first hymn as a chant.

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Now legend has it that its writer, Julia Ward Howe,

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didn't sit down to write a hymn.

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She simply awoke one morning with these inspiring words in her head

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and rushed to find a pen to put them down on paper.

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Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory is by no means the only hymn

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that's used as a chant by football supporters on the terraces.

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When The Saints Go Marching In

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and He's Got The Whole World In His Hands are often sung.

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Well, in 1997, Chelsea beat Middlesbrough here,

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and the defeated team supporters sang We Shall Overcome,

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a famous protest song from the American Civil Rights Movement,

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which actually started out though as a gospel song.

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And of course, there's Abide With Me.

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It's been heard here at Wembley a few times.

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It's been sung before kick-off at the FA Cup Final ever since 1927,

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when Cardiff beat Arsenal.

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It pains me to tell you that.

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In just over two weeks, the World Cup kicks off in Brazil.

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And one group of people who'll be watching with special interest

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are London's Brazilian community,

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many of whom worship here, at St Anne's Church in Whitechapel.

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I've been in this church

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since 2012 and I lead the Mass for the Brazilian community.

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There are many Brazilians here and most of them are Catholic.

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The Mass is the same.

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The only thing different is Brazilians participate more -

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they sing and they move.

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'The celebration is more lively.'

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THEY SING

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I've been here for six months only.

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In the first weeks I was here, I went to English churches

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and everything, so it was a bit hard because I couldn't speak English

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very well so when I came here, it was much easier to communicate.

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SHE SINGS

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The relationship with God is better

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when you pray in your own language

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and I do love to follow the English Mass as well

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but I prefer to come to the Portuguese one, it's better for me.

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I'm not a football fan, but when the World Cup becomes a craze,

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all the games, I like to know everything.

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I like to read every day about what's going on in the World Cup.

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I didn't pray for Brazil to win the World Cup, but I prayed for

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change in Brazil. I prayed for the change in justice for the poor.

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HE PRAYS

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While some of London's Brazilian community are praying in church,

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others are praying in the dressing room.

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Father, thank you...

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Fire United Christian football team is

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part of the Middlesex County Football League.

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They focus on more than just scoring goals.

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We always pray, we always read the Bible,

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speak to the players.

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We started a team so that we can honour the name of God.

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It's not just about winning,

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but it's also about bringing the players together.

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Most of the team are Christians, but we also have one or two

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players who are Muslims, but they don't have a problem.

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They all come, we all read the Bible together, you know.

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No religion can stop this project.

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As a Muslim, I see no problem playing with a Christian team

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because the aim of all what we are doing is being victorious

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and play football, have fun together, you know,

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share the same thing which is football.

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When we are in a circle, they are praying the Lord's Prayer

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while I'm praying in my own way of praying so I think it is acceptable.

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Amen.

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Most of the players are Brazilians.

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Most of the time, we're here speaking in Portuguese,

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praying in Portuguese.

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I try to translate most of the time because we have some players

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who are from Columbia that may not understand Portuguese,

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but they speak English.

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We try to keep everything right, we try not to swear

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and things like this in the matches because it's very hard sometimes.

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We love football. Since a little kid, I started playing football.

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We play football on the roads, on the streets, we play football...

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There is football pitches everywhere, parks,

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it's like it's in our blood.

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If it gets to the World Cup Final, England versus Brazil, I would

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support Brazil, but I think it would be a tough match.

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Footballer Marvin Andrews has played for Glasgow Rangers,

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Queen of the South and Hamilton,

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but he grew up a long way from Scotland,

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on the tropical island of Trinidad,

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where he dreamt of one day representing his country in the World Cup.

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When I was younger, watching Italian football on telly,

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looking at the crowds, the big crowds cheering the players on.

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So, I always dreamed one day that I would love to play in a stadium

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full of people shouting your name and cheering for you and stuff like that.

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So, what's it like when you walk out into a stadium like this?

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You've played in some massive stadiums in your career.

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-It gives me goosebumps at the back of my neck.

-Really?

-Yeah.

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What would you say is the greatest moment of your footballing career?

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Oh, my greatest moment for me would be definitely helping Trinidad

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and Tobago qualify for the first ever World Cup.

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It was in 1989, Trinidad and Tobago

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missed out just by one point against America at home.

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Yeah, I remember.

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Then I said to myself that I want to be part of the team that will

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help my country qualify for their first ever World Cup. 16 years

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-later, it came to pass in 2006 in Germany.

-How did you feel?

-Amazing.

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-Amazing feeling. I was actually crying.

-Really?!

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And I don't really cry.

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I had a load of friends who always told me, "Marvin,

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"Trinidad and Tobago never qualify for the World Cup, never qualify."

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I tell them, "Guys, I'm not going to stick for that.

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"I'm going to keep praying, keep training hard and one day,

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-"that dream will come to pass."

-So, which came first for you?

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-Was it the faith or football?

-I always had a faith.

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My grandmother taught me from a very young age to always believe in God.

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She taught me to pray first thing in the morning

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and last thing at night before I go to bed.

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Would you say God has been a support for you throughout your career?

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I wouldn't say actually a support.

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I think he's been the leader of my life

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if you want to put it that way, because I believe that he has

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orchestrated in me coming to Britain, coming to Scotland.

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He's helped you through it all.

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He has helped me through all my injuries that I've faced.

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Obviously I think the most noted one is the ACL, anterior cruciate ligament,

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where I damaged my left knee against Dundee playing for Rangers.

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It was a career-threatening injury.

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I came down to two specialists down in England here.

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They look at my knee and both of them give the same diagnosis that

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I have to go under the knife.

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I need to take a surgery.

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Then I went home and I prayed.

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I said, "Lord, what do you want me to do here?

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"Do you want me to pray or do you want me to go under the knife?"

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God said to me, "Marv, believe me." For a professional footballer playing

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for Glasgow Rangers coming out

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and saying, "God will heal my knee," is very strange for many people.

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Alex McLeish, the manager at that time, told me that, "Marv, yes,

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"I respect your belief, but if God will really heal you,

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"I want to see it outside on the pitch."

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We were five points behind Celtic, four games to go

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before the end of the season, fans are thinking the League is over.

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I came up and said in an interview, "The League is not over,

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"keep believing and we can still win the League."

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Alex McLeish has a dilemma, to play Marv or not to play him

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because technical staff was saying, "Marv is going to collapse," but for

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some reason, God touched his heart and he put me in the starting 11.

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Last game of the season, we're two points behind Celtic.

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Miraculously, my knee held up, Celtic lost the game, we won our game

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and we won the Championship.

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So it was a great day.

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Now then, the game of football was developed HERE in the UK

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in the 19th century.

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But it wasn't long before it spread abroad,

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and one of the first teams to play an international,

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and even reach Brazil, was based here, in West London.

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Now, the club where that team was based still exists.

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There's still plenty of sport being played here,

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only they don't play with a ball like this.

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Oh, no. They play with a ball like this.

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Many clergymen in the Victorian era had gone to public school

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and at school, they'd been taught to be Christian gentlemen.

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Now, that involved primarily the acquisition of moral values

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such as standing for truth, honesty,

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righteousness in the face of all sorts of opposition.

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Now, it was believed that these

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qualities of character could be instilled via sport.

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Now, when many of these young men became clergymen,

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they felt that football was a marvellous way of instilling

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Christian values into the young men

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in the parishes in which they were working.

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And they formed football clubs.

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A quarter of all football clubs formed in England

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in the latter part of the Victorian era were started by churches,

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and some of these became very famous.

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12 clubs that have played in the Premier League are of church origin.

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So, we have for example, Manchester City, Everton, Southampton

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and Tottenham Hotspur.

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There were once as many forms of football as there are villages

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in England and each village played according to its own rule.

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In 1863, representatives from several different football

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clubs met in London and one set of rules was agreed upon.

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That was the beginning of association football.

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Remarkably, international football started only ten years after

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the fledgling game was born.

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It was a match between Scotland and England in Partick near Glasgow

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and it was a nil-nil draw.

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But over the next few matches,

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Scotland proved to be the stronger side,

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so the best players from various English clubs gathered together,

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forming a new team to challenge the Scottish supremacy -

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the Corinthians.

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Initially, the Corinthians played their matches away, but from 1895

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until 1921, they were based here at the Queen's Tennis Club.

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One of the Corinthians, Charles Miller,

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was born in Brazil where his father was an engineer.

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When he went back to Brazil in 1894, he famously took

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in his suitcase two footballs, the FA rulebook and some football boots.

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He introduced football to the Sao Paulo Athletic Club

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and then he formed the first football league in Brazil.

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In 1910, he invited the Corinthians over to Brazil on a tour

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and the Brazilians were so impressed by the sportsmanship,

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the fair play, the Christian values and the quality of football that

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these Corinthians were playing that they named a club in their honour -

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Corinthians.

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And that club is one of the most famous in Brazil today, and actually

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won the World Club Championship against Chelsea in 2012.

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For many fans, it's about the game and winning is everything, but

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one man wants to do more than just chant for his team on the terraces.

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We started an organisation seven years ago that's all about

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mobilising football fans to community action,

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whether it's locally or World Cup trips or that kind of thing.

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To do what? How do they get involved?

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We're good at two things, really. We're good at football schools...

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and we're good at building stuff.

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So, we get fans to come on World Cup Legacy tours

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and they either build stuff or they kick a ball with kids.

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It's that simple, basically.

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Our first big project was South Africa, for the World Cup

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out there, which was a wonderful place to start.

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So, we were in a little valley called the Valley of a Thousand Hills,

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and we went three or four times and ended up building an orphanage

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and a school and some changing rooms and just getting involved

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during the World Cup. Took 150 guys out there and just went for it.

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Eight days hard work, four days off when there's a match in the city.

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So, the idea is that they go and watch the football

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-and then go and build houses.

-It's a proper World Cup tour.

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We work hard on the days between matches in the city,

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and we have a proper day off with all the passing fans coming through.

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Pub on the night watching the games on the telly. It's fantastic.

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So, we've got the World Cup in Brazil, England

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are going which is more than Wales are, but I'm not bitter.

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-Don't hold your breath.

-No, no, no, not this time.

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And what sort of work will you be doing there though?

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We've been heading out there for about three years,

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trying to find the right place to work.

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We've established a base in the host cities

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so we're building a football centre

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and refurbishing some changing rooms and doing about 12 soccer schools.

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Mainly trying to do an anti-drug education message loosely through the football work.

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One of the fans going out to Brazil is

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the chaplain of Southampton Football Club, Andy Bowerman.

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He and his friends are raising money for the Lionsraw project with

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a sponsored cycle ride,

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taking in all of England's Premier League stadiums.

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They're hoping their efforts will raise £20,000.

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So I suppose you've got to get used to spending quite a long

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-time on these bikes.

-Yeah, 1,000 miles in 11 days.

-Really?

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-21 different stadiums.

-Right.

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And none of us are very experienced at cycling, so we've been

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doing a lot of training over the last eight or nine months.

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It's a challenge but I think we're all looking forward to it.

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And you end up in Southampton,

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probably on a day very much like today.

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-Soaking wet.

-Yeah.

-Oh, horrendous.

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So, what are you raising money for?

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-Money for a building project in Curitiba in Brazil.

-Right.

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It's to build an education centre

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and a sports facility for children,

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and then a number of us are involved in building

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the project during the World Cup, so it should be an amazing experience.

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And how? I'm really jealous.

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Over 300 football fans will be joining Andy

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and his fellow cyclists in going to Brazil with Lionsraw.

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It's open for anyone.

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This is not a Christian organisation, not a Christian project.

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Most of the people involved now wouldn't consider themselves

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Christians but we hope that Christian

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values are kind of oozing out of the organisation, because it's about

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being kind to people and trying to make a difference for people.

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Lord, help us to play with fairness.

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To win with humility,

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to lose with grace.

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To accept life's challenges

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and travel on life's journeys

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with hope in our hearts.

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Amen.

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Our final hymn today is a favourite on the football terraces.

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It's sung with various different lyrics.

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"You're not singing any more, we can see you sneaking out"

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and "I will never be a blue."

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But I'm a good Welshman,

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so we're going to stick with the uplifting words written by a great,

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if not the greatest, Welsh hymn writer. William Williams Pantycelyn.

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Next week, Pam introduces hymns from congregations with special

0:33:110:33:15

reasons to remember the 70th anniversary of D-day.

0:33:150:33:18

Visiting Hampshire's naval and garrison towns,

0:33:180:33:21

she meets a veteran who fought on the beaches,

0:33:210:33:24

hears how an army chaplain was one of the heroes of D-day

0:33:240:33:26

and discovers how an epic piece of art is a memorial to the action

0:33:260:33:31

which did so much to bring about the end of World War II in Europe.

0:33:310:33:35

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