Thank heavens!

The next time Chelsea are in need of some divine inspiration, we know one priest Stateside who will be praying for us. Father Ryan Koster has devoted his life to his faith, but his passion for the Blues also burns brightly in America’s heartland.

Last weekend was a double celebration. Not only did his beloved Blues beat Manchester United, but the school where he teaches theology and acts as the chaplain in St Joesph, Missouri won the State Championship. He had a hand in the title triumph, the first in their 57-year history, as he is assistant coach. But how does a priest in the Mid-West become a Chelsea fan?

‘On my one trip to England in 2007 I bought a hat that read ‘United on it,’ Ryan explains. ‘But when I went to the London Eye, the security guard disapproved and took it off me and rolled it up.

‘Then that night I went to a pub and there was a match on. It was full of Chelsea fans who were losing their minds because they were so excited, and I was drawn to their passion. It was instant love.

‘I really got into the Blues in 2012. My friend was ordained as a priest on the same day we won the Champions League, so every year I wish him a happy anniversary - but I’m talking about our victory! When I lived in Columbus, Ohio I would get up at 6am on Sundays and drive to the bar where the Chelsea supporters met so I could eat breakfast and drink Guinness with them.’

Watching the boys from the Bridge paid off in spectacular fashion for Father Ryan last weekend.

‘From when I started watching Chelsea I thought about the formation they employed. The tactics they use is always at the back of my head and it gives me ideas I normally wouldn’t have in my everyday coaching,’ he said.

Despite only having about 80 males to choose from, Bishop LeBlond High School won the Missouri State Class 1 Championship. In their five match post-season run they scored 25 times and didn’t concede a single goal - the player who scored the three goals in the semi-final and final is another Chelsea fan, too.

Congratulations to Father Ryan and Bishop LeBlond High School. Hopefully Chelsea will have an equally ‘heavenly’ finish to our season!

By Stephen Rea