Club captain’s praise for professionals

Monday, January 19 – 1931
James Jackson, captain of Liverpool Football Club, preached in County Road Wesleyan Church, Liverpool, on the relationship of religion and sport, at a footballers’ service.

“I believe my ability to play football is a gift from God,” he said, “and that I shall have to render an account of how I have used my gift. God gave man a brain that he might enjoy the fruits of his intelligence.

“It is false and misleading conscience which excludes from the worship of God music, art and sport. Christ penetrates everything. The way to Him is not by one road, but by many roads.”

“I have heard it remarked,” added Mr. Jackson, “that football is a vehicle of the devil, and that professional footballers are right outside the pale. I have experience of men in the university, in the engineer’s workshop, and at sea, and I believe that the professional footballer is on a higher level than them all.”

The service was attended by members of the Liverpool and Everton football clubs, and members of many amateur teams. It was conducted by Kenneth Campbell, international goalkeeper, the lessons being read by George Stephenson, a football league referee.
(Yorkshire Evening Post, 19-01-1931)

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