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Fleetwood Town driver is a preacher and prayer leader

Reays coach driver Graham Emerson, 37, from Penrith, who is the coach driver for Fleetwood Town FC and the team is desperately trying to avoid Sunday games so that he can be their driver as Graham can't drive on Sundays because he's also a preacher, 5 February 2014  LOUISE PORTER 50059059F006.JPG

Reays coach driver Graham Emerson, 37, from Penrith, who is the coach driver for Fleetwood Town FC and the team is desperately trying to avoid Sunday games so that he can be their driver as Graham can't drive on Sundays because he's also a preacher, 5 February 2014 LOUISE PORTER 50059059F006.JPG

Fleetwood Town’s bus driver is praying the side gain automatic promotion – for a trip to Wembley in the play-offs would mean him missing the occasion.

The Cod Army are currently siting in sixth place in League Two, which would see them bag a slot in the play-offs if things stay as they are.

But bus driver Graham Emerson, 37, is a pastor at the Church in the Barn in Penrith and cannot work Sundays, which is when the play-off final at Wembley would be played.

Mr Emerson, who works for Wigton-based Reays, drives team members to all their away games, which are usually on Saturdays.

Sundays he spends preaching and leading prayers in his church.

“Church is my first priority so I wouldn’t go with them on a Sunday,” said Graham. “There was another game that was scheduled on a Sunday which I didn’t go on.

“If they got to Wembley then I would love to go, but unfortunately I can’t.

“I don’t like missing games.

“I would miss it with a little bit of a heavy heart but God comes first. I will pray for them privately though.”

Fleetwood’s players have such an affection for their driver that on the previous Sunday game he missed they sent Graham a message saying the journey wouldn’t be the same without him.

Mr Emerson, of Clifton, near Penrith, said he has developed a good relationship with the team.

“I get on really well with the lads and the manager. They are really nice and I get on with the goalkeepers Scott Davies and David Lucas particularly well.” he added. “They were brought up with the church so I talk to them about faith, as I do with a number of the players. Some of them have said I should be their chaplain.

“I have always liked football and used to go and watch Carlisle United when I was younger, so it’s a privilege to watch the games and drive for them.

“It’s always a good atmosphere on the way back if they’ve won – not so much if they’ve lost.”

Andy Horn, the Reay’s operations manager, said: “Graham is a popular figure with passengers, including all the Fleetwood Town players.”

A Fleetwood Town spokesman said: “Graham is a popular part of the team.

“We do, of course, understand his other important commitments outside his work, but if we get to Wembley we’re sure he will manage time to get to a TV in time for kick-off!”

 

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