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Saturday, April 25, 2009

A QPR Player Failing...Two Years Since a Fan Forum...Ex-QPR's Gavin Peacock Post-Football Career Profiled...QPR Compared: Why Other Clubs Succeeded

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[Among the articles posted today:
- "Owners should be happy for the football men to run their clubs" and
- Fan Power Succeeds at Exeter- Flashback "Cristal and Caviar at QPR"

See also:(Posted Yesterday): How QPR Should Operate: Looking at how others succeeded and QPR have not: Dave McIntyre "Watch and Learn"

- Tomorrow Marks Two years Since QPR's Last Fan Forum
[From the December 13, 2007 minutes of the Fan/Club Consultative Committee Meeting of December 2007 (published on QPR's Official Site):
3a - Are the club planning on holding a Fans' forum in the future?
[Q{R's Managing Director] Alejandro Agag:
- in response, Agag said: "Yes. Sure, we can do that."
- agreed and suggested that a minimum of 2 Fans' Forums should be held per season.- the suggested timeline for these to take place were February/March and September/October
- A third Fans' Forum could be held during the season in "extraordinary" cases if necessary
- Stressed that the Fans' Forums should be for football talk and team matters and not to discuss finances or the ABC loan...."

Lincolnshire Echo - Chris Arthur blows chance of Lincoln City move
- Lincoln City boss Peter Jackson admits Chris Arthur has blown his chances of a summer switch to Sincil Bank after casting doubts over the winger's attitude.
- The Imps chief was disappointed with the speedy wideman, who has been on trial at the club pending his release from Championship club, QPR this summer.
- Jackson identified the winger as a possible target after being impressed by his performance against the Imps while playing for Kettering in the FA Cup earlier this season.
- Having shone for the reserves at the start of the month, Jackson gave the player a one-week trial.
- But the Imps chief was unimpressed by his commitment during training and revealed how he sent the left-sided player home early.
- "There was a winger called Chris Arthur, who played against us for Kettering in the FA Cup earlier in the season" said Jackson.
- "He did well and, having watched him, I gave him the chance to show us what he could do.
- "Chris then joined us for a week's training, but I sent him back early because he simply didn't have the desire and passion that I need." Lincolnshire Echo

The Times/Tom Dart - April 25, 2009 - Gavin Peacock Profiled
Pew to a thrill: Peacock has been seeking a more intimate understanding of - the word of God in Canada after a long and successful playing career
A block from Main Street, the Canmore Mountain Baptist Church lives in a hall attached to an Anglican chapel. Colourful tapestries, tropical plants and walls of sunbeam yellow contrast warmly with the snow outside. A flock of about 30 have gathered for Pastor Trevor Sato’s Sunday evening service. Wearing a blue checked shirt with rolled-up sleeves, he gives a practical sermon on reading the Bible, then grabs a guitar to strum a couple of hymns, his sons on keyboard and bass.
- Early on Sato throws the service open to the floor. A young woman at the back of the room breaks down, tearfully explaining that her husband has suffered a bad fall and she is struggling to care for him and their young family. Quickly, half a dozen worshippers surround her, support her. One kneels in front, Bible in hand, and reads out Psalm 146. “The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.” His voice is calm, clear and certain. This is Gavin Peacoc k; this is his new life.
- You will remember Peacock as one of the most astute English attacking midfield players of the 1990s in his time with Newcastle United, Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers. He retired in 2002 to become that rare species, a pundit of eloquence and insight. Last summer, after covering Euro 2008 for the BBC, he did an extraordinary thing. He gave up his comfortable life in Kent and his male-fantasy job and emigrated to Canada with his wife, two children and two dogs to study divinity in preparation for a life in the church.

Home is now a chalet in Canmore, a prosperous little place in the Rockies, an hour’s drive west of Calgary and 15 minutes from Banff. Coyote and elk roam the icy golf course that backs on to the rear of the swish modern property the PeaC***s bought as a holiday retreat in 2007. Pine trees peek out from the snow swaddling the mountains that surround the town and make the 4x4s that hurry along the Trans-Canada Highway seem as mighty as dots of dust.
- Canmore is a physical waypoint on Peacoc k’s spiritual journey. A couple of times a week he drives to Calgary’s western fringe for classes at Ambrose University College, an evangelical seminary where he is at the end of the first year of a three-year masters degree in divinity. Last summer he pondered whether Spain’s 4-5-1 formation was more cunning than Germany’s 4-2-3-1. At the moment he is studying Incomplete Synonymous Hebrew Parallelism and the Syntactic Display of Greek Text.

Among his lessons are two Hebrew and two Greek classes a week, deconstructing Bible passages in their ancient form for a more intimate understanding of the word of God. Peacoc k also spent a year in Cambridge on an Old and New Testament foundation course.

Sport borrows terms and concepts easily and lazily from religion, but some parallels flow naturally: the community, the glory and the suffering, the places of worship; the saviours. After all, Peacoc k’s former Match of the Day team-mate, Alan Shearer, recently rose from the studio sofa to become Newcastle’s latest Geordie Messiah. Peacoc k understands how sport can be essential yet trivial, spiritual and secular, because his life has entwined religion and football since his teenage years.

Now 41, he became a Christian aged 19. “I walked into a youth group as a young professional footballer with money in his pocket, a nice car, promising career,” he says. “The world would say I’ve got everything. And these young people were just sitting around talking about Christ as if they knew him personally. I thought, ‘There’s something real here and something missing in my life.’

“Up until then football was my God. Suddenly, everything fell into its proper place. I realised who Jesus was and what He had done on the cross by dying for my sin.”

Peacoc k still plays — for Canmore United, the local amateur team, who train indoors each week during the long winters and treat him like one of the lads. He discusses football with enthusiasm but he talks about God with zeal. “When you score a goal you never feel more alive,” he says. “But that’s just a momentary high, it’s not reality. It’s not the truth, it’s just a glimpse of something. In the big picture my reality is my walk with God and it’s eternal and everlasting.”

Two and a half years ago the walk became a sprint. “I was at a bit of a plateau spiritually and I was drifting, I didn’t feel I was moving on in my Christian life,” Peacoc k says. “I just didn’t have that fire, that real urge and desire. And really it was a case of out of the blue, I felt a weight of conviction and I just knew I was to pursue this trajectory in life.

“I remember sitting in my study reading the Bible and suddenly the words were leaping off the page and coming alive. Just this weight of conviction, like, ‘Yeah, I want to do this but also I’ve got to do this.’ ”

The immediacy of the memory pushes him into the present tense. “Now I’m wanting to read scripture and wanting to pray and wanting to proclaim the word of God, and now I’m thinking I’ve got to give up the media and pursue this full time,” he says. “There’s a fire in me that was flickering before, but now it’s stoked.”

The plan is to return to Britain after the course, become a pastor and possibly do short-term missionary work in the Third World. “It was right to break away from it all, I get time to come away, throw myself into studies, reflect on things and go back in,” he says. “I see myself being attached to a church as a pastor, preaching and teaching, with a freedom one or two days a week to spend time going out into the country preaching Christianity through sport.

“I feel that I could go into an inner-city area and speak to kids or adults belonging to a football club and feel connected. And say, ‘Your hope is in football, but there’s something that can give us hope and joy beyond that.’ I want to say to young kids, in a country that says success is fame and having ambition and money and cars and beautiful women and sex, ‘That’s not it, you hit the ceiling and there’s something else instead.’ ”

When Sato leaves on sabbatical this summer, Peacoc k will take charge for three months and preach his evangelical, conservative Christian vision. His intensity may jolt those who remember him as the genial guy with the pencil-thin beard and sharp shirts sharing banter with Lee Dixon and Adrian Chiles on the Match of the Day 2 sofa.

“Are we radically living for Christ or are we living in a lukewarm, plastic kind of Christianity?” he asks when we speak at his house after the service. “I don’t think people are radical enough, I don’t think they really are on fire and have it in their hearts.

We’re preaching a man-centred, therapeutic gospel now. It’s a make-you-feel-good gospel and it’s a small gospel. I see a lack of respect for the authority of scripture. We need to see who He really is and we need to live in response to that.”

Outside, the light fades and unseen in the distance skiers and hikers make their way down from the mountains. Tomorrow the sun will burn off the morning fog and wash the Bow Valley with a brilliant clear blue. “People worship the beauty, but they don’t worship the creator of the beauty,” Peacoc k says. “It’s not to be found in the mountains themselves but in the creator of those rivers, valleys and wildlife. They’re just an echo, a display.”

Highlights from a match flicker distractingly on the living-room television. Arsenal destroy Newcastle and, in despair, the club turn to Shearer. Can he save them? Do you believe? “What we’re searching for in football, this coming together on Saturdays — it’s just a shadow of something else that’s in us,” Peacoc k says.

“Fans join together and experience it just for a moment with the player who’s scored or with the team’s victory. We want to partake in something of beauty, of glory, to take us out and up. Our souls were made for the majesty of Christ,” he says, not watching the screen. Voice calm, clear and certain, eyes ablaze.

Oh come all ye faithful: five famous sporting Christian converts

Jason Robinson

The former England rugby union star discovered Christianity with the help of a team-mate when his previous life in rugby league was spiralling out of control because of drinking and personal crises.

Corey Pavin

The golfer and United States captain for the 2010 Ryder Cup switched from Judaism to Christianity shortly before the 1991 US Open and credited God when he won the tournament four years later.

Linvoy Primus

The Portsmouth defender converted to Christianity aged 27 and credits his faith with improving his performances on the pitch. He is also a Christian charity worker, whose autobiography is called Transformed.

George Foreman

Had a near-death, out-of-body experience in his dressing-room after losing a bout in 1977, gave up boxing for a decade and became the ordained minister of a church in Texas.

Jonathan Edwards

The British former Olympic triple-jump champion became devout after attending a Christian youth camp and presented Songs of Praise but dramatically lost his faith after retiring from athletics - The Times

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