Friday, 29 March 2013

Pluck of the Irish

I read a story this week that warmed my heart, although it didn’t get off to a great start when a couple of Austrian fans visiting Dublin for their World Cup qualifier on March 26 were mugged the night before the game.

They were unceremoniously stripped of their wallets – which were lined with Euros and their precious match tickets – and sent on their way.

However, when the news of this injustice spread on social media sites Facebook and Twitter, a number of Ireland fans stepped in. Fan forum You Boys in Green (YBIG) started a collection for the two lads and the response was overwhelming.

The Austrians were issued replacement tickets by the FA and a special collection was taken up on their behalf before kick-off! In fact, so much money was promised, the two fans said they would give anything they received over and above what they had lost to Irish charities!

Of course, the recompense wouldn’t have been complete without taking the two Austrians for a knees-up the night before the game. I’m pretty sure they were treated to a Guinness or two by the local lads as they hit the town.

So well done to all the Ireland fans who helped out… But why am I telling you all this?

Well, because I think it’s really important to show kindness to people, especially those who have been mistreated. A lot of people would have felt sorry for the Austrian guys but wouldn’t have actually done anything about it.
There are so many people in the world who need help. Maybe your neighbour is suffering from depression and would appreciate a chat, or someone at work is moving house and needs someone to pack a few boxes for them. Easter is a great time to reflect on these things.

Perhaps your heart goes out to the homeless or victims of sex trafficking but you don’t know how to channel that concern into positive action. Sometimes a smile or a hug will do, but on other occasions you might need to put your hand in your pocket, or be prepared to invest time in a project that matches your cause.

Of course, the most important thing you can do this Easter – and, in fact, at any time of year – is to tell people about Jesus Christ. It’s important that we remember over the next few days that Jesus died to take away our sin, but let’s not keep this good news to ourselves.

The kindest thing we can do for any other human being is to assure them that God loves them deeply and has made away for us all to enjoy eternal life with Him if we simply accept Jesus’ great sacrifice for ourselves.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Happy Easter from all of us at Sorted magazine.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

A whole new ball game

Unlike Match of the Day, Match for a Day is not a TV show. If it were, Jack Bauer would be all over it, as it involves a whopping 24 hours of greatness. Set up by Ambassadors in Sport (AIS), the footballing event starts at 10am on June 7 and ends at precisely the same time on June 8.

On the day, an AIS team will play against a new fresh team every hour at The London Soccerdome, a dedicated indoor football arena. Event sponsor State Street Bank has already agreed to put in a team, as have The Salvation Army Stratford and Frinton Free Church Essex.

Special guests at the event will include former Portsmouth FC defender Linvoy Primus, who will share his personal story and information about his latest project ( as well as doing some serious talking on the pitch.

“When I was told about Match for the Day, I thought to myself, ‘That sounds cool and challenging’, and I wanted to hear more,” Linvoy tells Sorted.

“Once I heard the details, I expressed a desire to take part. The idea of playing football for 24 hours sounds crazy, but what a way to raise money for my ministry and charity.

“I've also asked a couple of ex-pros if they want to get involved – Dave Waterman, formerly of Portsmouth FC, and Trevor Benjamin, formerly of Leicester FC – and they have agreed to take part for their own personal charities.

“Since I retired from football, I'm always looking for new physical and unique challenges, and this is up there.” 

The two AIS teams will play in two-hour shifts, having just enough time to rest before they get back on the pitch. Teams will comprise eight players on half a full-sized AstroTurf pitch.

“At AIS our dreams are to see the lives of marginalised and vulnerable individuals and communities changed positively for good through football,” says organiser Stephen Read.

“The beautiful game provides a way of reaching out to people from all sorts of backgrounds in a non-threatening way. This builds a trusting environment where life-changing decisions can be made. We have sought to pioneer and develop exciting grassroots educational initiatives, focused around football, to transform people’s lives.

“These programmes include football club development, academies, soccer schools, tournaments, and work in prisons and schools as we seek to help young people, youth offenders, adults, the homeless and the marginalised.”

If you’d like to get involved, cost per team ranges from £150 per team to £350 (depending on the time slot you choose), and this includes post-match refreshments. If you want to go a step further (and avoid the hard graft) you could become a corporate sponsor. Packages range from kit sponsorship (£500) through to full event and naming rights (£4,000).

Visit or contact Stephen Read ( for more information.

Read more from Joy in the next issue of Christian men's magazine Sorted.