David Barrie, 46, Baptist minister and chaplain for St Johnstone FC

This is maybe my sixth or seventh season as the chaplain here. Before that I had been at Stirling Albion for a decade so I’ve been doing this for a while now.

I’m there mainly to be an ear or a sounding board. It’s more than a social worker as there’s a pastoral element to it as well. And I’m there for all the club’s staff and their families, not just the players and the coaches. Maintaining confidences and trust is key.

On a Friday I train with the players. I take part in the warm-up and then often join in with the under-20s. I try to keep up with them, although I end up being the ball boy half the time. I’m getting old now so it’s still a great feeling when I can nutmeg one of the young lads. After that I’ll have lunch with the players and we’ll have a bit of a chat.

I usually get referred to as The Rev or Padre. One of the players even calls me Pope. There’s a bit of banter too and I’m sometimes the butt of their jokes but you just have to go along with that.

I’m a Christian so that will always be a part of what I do. Many players have no faith or a nominal faith. Sometimes, though, in a quieter dressing room you might get a player suddenly asking, “So, Rev, what are you preaching about on Sunday?” and I then have a right to answer that.

I’d never go into a group and say, “Let me tell you about Jesus, guys”. When a player is injured I don’t go up and offer to pray for them. There are times when a player might ask me to do that. But it’s not about me preaching. I leave that to Sunday at church.

Whenever a new player signs I’m over right away to introduce myself. If they’ve not had a chaplain at their previous club, they sometimes don’t know how to react. Some even stop swearing when you’re in their company! But with time most of them realise you’re just there to help them if they need it.

For the first half-season or so I didn’t go near the players at all. I didn’t want the club to think I was only there because I was in awe of them. So at the start I devoted more time to talking with the staff and that was great. It got my face known and people became more comfortable with me. And at the start of the second season I had the freedom to go around the place.

After month after month of seeing you around, people might come up to you and ask, “Rev, could I meet up with you after training in a private place? I want to chat about something that’s going on with my family”. And then you help them through those situations.

I went on a two-day mental health training course at Hampden. That was exhausting but insightful. It also taught me how to redirect people to get proper professional help if they need it. So if there are health issues you make sure they get proper medical support. If it’s gambling there are people who specialise in that as well.

I’ve already got a full-time job so don’t get paid for being chaplain. This is just my service to the club. But it’s a lot of fun, too.

Visit perthstjohnstonefc.co.uk/club-chaplain