Since 2006 Reverend Malc Allen has been part of the team here at Cheltenham Town, offering invaluable support to both players and staff in his role as Club Chaplain.
In his own words, Malc talks us through his role with the club and the work he does at the club alongside his position as Vicar at St Michael’s Church in nearby Bishop’s Cleeve. Take a look:
In the competitive world of football, it’s not always easy for players and staff to open up about what’s going on in real life beyond matchdays and the training ground. When it’s hard to be vulnerable about one’s family life, or mental health, or injury worry, or career, it’s good to have someone who listens without judging, who doesn’t pick the team, and is completely confidential.
That’s where I come in as Club Chaplain to CTFC. I’m Rev. Malc Allen, and it’s been my joy and privilege to be doing this since 2006. So I’ve seen a lot of joy and a lot of pain over those years!
Away from the club I am Vicar at St Michael’s Church, Bishop’s Cleeve. Before that I was Vicar in West Cheltenham (Rowanfield and Hester’s Way).
My own personal passions beyond football are trail running and races (and yes I like hills!), keeping fit at my son’s exercise classes, and the great outdoors.
I am part of Sports Chaplaincy UK which supports chaplaincy across sport. Chaplaincy in professional English football has grown significantly in recent years with Chaplains at 2/3rds of the 92 clubs playing in the Premier and Football League.
My role is to be a supporting friend and be available for confidential pastoral or spiritual care for players and non-playing staff.
Although motivated by my Christian faith, my role is to be available to everyone irrespective of their faith or beliefs. I’m not here to impose my beliefs on others. Nor can I promise divine intervention on results!
My usual routine is to visit the training ground on Thursdays, and to be at home games as often as I can.
I love chatting to players and staff over lunch, making a fool of myself by occasionally trying keepy uppy, talking sport, encouraging the injured, and watching Gavin Crowe and his sports therapy team work their magic on players.
Beyond talking with people one to one over issues of anxiety, family troubles, bereavement, relationships, hopes and dreams, etc., it’s been a real privilege to have taken funerals connected with club, and the wedding of Dan Holman.
On a recent visit to our church’s link in Rwanda I saw first-hand how football is such a gift to the world! I took new footballs to give away in the poorest areas where we are working. I could have cried when I saw children’s faces light up when given a proper football to replace the lump of banana leaves they’d been using. And I joined in one time and those children were seriously skilled!
I couldn’t do what I do without the backing & support that our Chairman (past and present), our Directors, and of course our Manager, Michael.