Crystal Palace football chaplain Chris Roe hails miraculous season for Eagles
A football club and shopping centre are not the first places you associate with the church, but they are the basis for Reverend Chris Roe's work.
A Palace fan since 1968, Rev Roe’s parish certainly extends beyond SE25.
The pastor is also the chaplain at the Whitgift Centre and Croydon Council, which includes speaking to shoppers who want to drop in to his office and organising one on one meetings with Council staff.
He first had the idea of setting up a chaplaincy in the town centre a couple of months before the 2011 riots and pressed ahead with the idea after seeing the damage it did to the town.
He is now hoping Westfield and Hammerson build a new chaplaincy office when they redevelop the shopping centre.
Roe, a father of two, is currently studying a masters in Sports Chaplaincy which he is due to complete next year.
The 55-year-old has seen some interesting characters at Selhurst Park from Ian Holloway to Neil Warnock.
In fact one of Roe’s favourite stories comes from Warnock’s tenure at Palace.
The Eagles were playing Scunthorpe at home when a player asked Roe if he could set up a pre match prayer meeting.
Roe got permission from Warnock and the meeting went ahead but Palace went on to lose the game 4-0.
The chaplain said after going away and thinking about what had jinxed the team, Warnock phoned him and asked him to conduct prayer meetings at the training ground from now on.
There has never been a pre match meeting since.
Another aspect of Rev Roe’s work is with the youth team. He meets with the scholars every Wednesday and also goes to watch their matches and is seen as an important member of the team by Academy boss Gary Issott.
He also runs a staff drop in session at the ground if anyone wants to come and speak to him.
Roe said Palace’s rise since 2010 has been quite remarkable and praised new boss Tony Pulis with the work he has done since he came into the club.
He said: “I really liked Ian Holloway but it is miraculous really what has happened since.
“Tony deserves a huge amount of credit for the work he has done. To get us to where we are now is not only a magnificent achievement but it shows the calibre of the man.”
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