RADICAL reverend Chris Howson is backing new Sunderland boss Gus Poyet to work miracles at the Stadium of Light.
The Sunderland Minster priest, who is renowned for his controversial campaigning stunts, was ordained by the Bishop of Uruguay and is married to a Uruguayan woman, the same country which Poyet hails from.
Divine intervention is certainly needed, with the Black Cats rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table with just one point from their first seven matches. Reverend Howson, who serves as Sunderland University chaplain as well as being part of the Minster team, said: “I’ve had many visits to Uruguay, and the people there are passionate and hardworking folk. I’m sure Poyet will bring these qualities with him along with his experience at Leeds and Brighton.
“Uruguayans have a passion for football that is akin to the energy and commitment that Sunderland supporters have, and the new head coach and local folk will be well matched.”
Rev Howson added he will be calling on his congregation to pray for Sunderland’s top flight survival.
“We hope and pray that he will be able to turn our recent problems around, but now the whole city needs to get behind him and the team,” he added.
“The Minster welcomes him to the city, and we pray for him and the team as they settle in together over the coming weeks.”
Rev Howson has brought his own fair share of passion and hard work to the city since joining the Minster team.
His work has so far included a Lenten protest against tax-avoiding companies, staging a die-in in protest at troubles in Syria, setting up a yurt in the Minster and performing a “symbolic exorcism” at an arms fair in London.
He has also been part of a campaign to prevent the closure of nine libraries by Sunderland City Council.
Poyet’s first game will be the team’s trip to Swansea City on Saturday, October 19.