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The ‘beautiful export’


The UK, is the home of the 'beautiful game' of association football. From those early days in the middle of the 19th century when the 'Cambridge Rules' codified the modern game as we know it, football has been a keen pursuit for many down the centuries and continues to excite and inspire fans of teams from local village squads to large city clubs. Today, vast amounts of money and a massive following from supporters are invested in football in the UK, but what is clear is that many of the top premiership football clubs have become a global phenomenon. The infectious devotion to the beautiful game is something that is also popular among seafarers. As a chaplain I am often asked for DVDs of recent football matches on television, sadly something that we cannot offer here in Japan. Nevertheless, there are times when the fortunes of favorite teams form the heart of passionate debate on board the ships that travel our seas. This love of football became very apparent on a recent visit to the maritime vessel Yusho Haruna. The Indonesian crew are great fans of Premier league football coming as they do from a country that loves football and where the Premier League is big business. In Indonesia, Arsenal alone can boast over 1.3 million fans connected via Facebook and the 'gunners' are set to play a friendly match in Jakarta this summer. So I was delighted to enjoy the company of a small group of seafarers on board the ship who were anxious to learn what team I supported and to chat at length about the ups and downs of the Premier league. It's good to know that something as simple as a game of football can bring people together from very different parts of the world and provide a starting point for good conversation and fellowship. Talking and joking about the tale of woes for various teams provides a valuable 'way in' that builds relationships and I am quite sure that the time spent with the guys from the Yusho Haruna who laughed and joked with the Chaplain and his support for ‘Spurs’ will be remembered as much by them as it is by me.

EAST ASIA REGIONAL NEWS


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