Peter Amos


In more than 20 years as a club chaplain, Peter Amos has only once agreed to pray with a player immediately before a game. He was reluctant to do so, but the player was persistent. Eventually, Amos agreed.

“He went on and had the worst game you can imagine,” Amos said.

A retired Baptist minister, Amos makes no secret of the fact that he “wants people to come to faith,” but his approach in soccer is discreet. Religion is not, and cannot be, front and center.

“I try not to be in your face about it,” he said.

He sees his chaplaincy as an “industrial” one: He is there to serve people regardless of their creed.

Amos has found, though, that soccer is a more accepting place for faith now than it was when he took the position at Barnsley in 1996. He had initially been unsure of whether he would want the role; he had to be asked three times to take it.

“I did not want to start something I could not do justice to,” he said.

The environment he found then, he said, was significantly more “laddish” than it is today. “We maybe had one guy who was a nominal Catholic,” he said. “Now I find that players talk about it much more openly. That part of players’ lives is acknowledged. There is not the same embarrassment. There is a greater respect of the need for support, whether that is psychologically or spiritually.”

Amos sees his work “more as an industrial chaplaincy,” offering support to staff members at all levels of the club for whatever personal issues they face. But at one point he held regular Bible study and prayer meetings.

“We had about 14 who attended regularly,” he said. “People came from other teams in the area, like Doncaster Rovers and the two Sheffield clubs, as well as Barnsley.”