Radio reverend hoping for divine Saints success

Meet Reverend Stewart Bloor, The New Saints FC club chaplain and radio commentator hoping the Welsh champions make heavenly progress against B36 Tórshavn.

The Reverend Stewart Bloor, club chaplain and commentator for The New Saints
The Reverend Stewart Bloor, club chaplain and commentator for The New Saints ©UEFA.com

He is the fishing-enthusiast club chaplain who last week made his UEFA Champions League debut as a commentator on The New Saints FC's radio station.

"I'm very passionate about this club," explained Reverend Stewart Bloor, speaking to UEFA.com after Michael Wilde gave the Saints a 2-1 first-leg win at first qualifying round opponents B36 Tórshavn. The last-minute goal, which brought an ecstatic reaction from the man behind the microphone, now leaves the Welsh side favourites to progress in Tuesday's decider.

"It was a good game," said Bloor, fresh from his pilgrimage to the Faroe Islands. "We've got a great chance, but while we have to keep our feet on the ground, I am quietly confident." The Welsh Premier League champions have not progressed through a round in the competition since 2010/11, but the club chaplain has every faith in the current flock of players, and in the club that has welcomed him with open arms.

"I was a fan, I paid my admission and sat in the same seat behind the goal," explained Bloor. "I connected with another fan through social media and one day last year they suggested that I should respond to an advertisement that the club had put out for their radio station. I put my name forward, went along for the first match, and ended up doing the entire commentary myself! After five games I thought to myself, 'I'm living the dream here,' as everyone at the club just made me feel so welcome."

Bloor was later appointed club chaplain, and is affectionately known as 'the Rev' by the players and management. "I'm here if people need to talk," he said. "I have earned people's trust during the time I've been involved at the club and I've had a number of chats with different people about different things. There is no set routine to my role, but I'm here if anyone needs me."

A popular character in the country's football circles through his work on air – and known as the Angling Rev due to his other passion for fishing – he is a disciple of the game in Wales and the league itself. "I think it's fantastic, good, honest football," he said. "It's affordable, fans of different clubs can mingle with each other during games, and there is a real connection between supporters and players which you just don't get at a higher level. It's also very family-orientated, which is great."

The New Saints now boast an excellent chance of pipping B36 to a spot in the second qualifying round, and 'the Rev' will once again be describing the action in Tuesday's game. Whatever happens, though, Reverend Bloor will long remember being present for their triumph in the Faroe Islands. "It was just incredible to be there watching my team, the team I support, playing in the UEFA Champions League."