“The Hillsong Eels” – The controversial church now owns an NRL team

“The Hillsong Eels” – The controversial church now owns an NRL team
Fans, rivals and players are divided over the fact that a church now owns 100% of the Parramatta Eels
Fans, rivals and players are divided over the fact that a church now owns 100% of the Parramatta Eels

IMRAN GASHKORI | Sports Journalist | imran@betootaadvocate.com

9 December, 2014. 19:55

Today, after years of close association, The Parramatta District Rugby League Football Club has formally entered the inner sanctum of the Hillsong Church – they are now owned by them.

This is the first time a professional sporting team in has been bought by a religious organisation and is what some describe as a bold strategy towards growing both club and church memberships, as the two communities become one.

Former player and Parramatta royalty, Nathan Hindmarsh, spoke to the Betoota Advocate today about the feelings amongst fans and past-players

“Look, they haven’t done too well over the years. Not since I left”

Former player, Nathan Hindmarsh, is well known as one of the players that "God Forgot"
Former player, Nathan Hindmarsh, is well known as one of the players “that God forgot”

“A lot of people have said for years that Parramatta needs God. It’s pathetic… Sticky Ricky [Ricky Stuart] f**ked everything up in the space of twelve months. One year of bad coaching and we lost more games than ever before, we lost more fans than ever before – and worst of all, we lost a LOT of money. Hillsong are here to help with that. I’m not saying I’m happy about it, but it’s really all we have got.”

This has been long-time coming, 2009’s Grand Final confirmed the clubs spirituality as many though it was literally God that had gotten them there. Not to mention the well-known relationship between Hillsong and the actual players. Current captain, Tim Mannah, is a die-hard member of Hillsong and says he couldn’t be happier about the new ownership

“I am so freaking stoked, all my mates that I play footy with and all my mates that I sing and clap with are coming together as one! This is better than the time I got married and got to finally have sex!

Eels captain and devout "happy clapper" - Tim Mannah
Eels captain and devout “happy clapper” – Tim Mannah

The holy union between Hillsong and the Eels was wedded by former Parramatta CEO Paul Osborne, a senior member of the congregation. A resident of the Hills District, Osborne leveraged contacts within the church to organise last year’s NRL mission to Rwanda where players helped build an orphanage for genocide victims.

 

The relationship between the two communities rose to the point where Hillsong founder Brian Houston now watches games from the team enclosure, while his eldest son Billy has joined pre-match prayers in the dressing room.

Hillsong Founder, Brian Houston, son of the self-confessed child molesting pastor Frank Houston, is a die-hard Parramatta fan
Hillsong Founder, Brian Houston, son of the self-confessed child molesting pastor Frank Houston – is a die-hard Parramatta fan

An excited onlooker at yesterday’s training run at Parramatta, Billy said the Houstons were life-long Eels fanatics.

“Dad used to take me and my brother (Keith) to the home games when we were children,” Ben, a Hillsong pastor, said.

“I was at the 2001 Grand Final that Parramatta lost to Newcastle, and that was pretty disappointing.”

This multi million dollar take over is set to cause great debate in Western Sydney, with Eels fans of many different faiths this looks to scuttle the clubs plans of creating an all Halal catering menu for Parramatta stadium, which has been in the pipelines for a long time now at Eels headquaters.

The new Hillsong deal means that the stadium and leagues club are to be used for Hillsong functions and large events. This is where Hindmarsh thinks things will get sticky:

Eels Leagues Club, an iconic venue known for the depressing amounts of pokie machines on all three floors
Eels Leagues Club, an iconic venue known for the depressing amounts of “pokie machines” on all three floors

“I just hope these happy clappers know what it means to be involved with a club like Parra’ – It means hard-drinking, reckless gambling, disgustingly low standards when it comes to womanizing and lots of off-field violence.

“I’m not sure they are ready for this, but I know one thing: If they try to fuck around with the culture, they’ll be as popular as Sticky. I built a career on those ovals – and I blew most of my wealth on those pokie machines. Parramatta means a lot to people like me”

 

29 Responses to "“The Hillsong Eels” – The controversial church now owns an NRL team"

    • Poida   January 12, 2015 at 6:06 pm

      HAHAHAHHAHAAAAAAAAAA!

      Reply
    • Leanne   January 19, 2015 at 10:28 pm

      Same Anthony. I have supported them all my life but this is total bullshit, so its good bye for me too

      Reply
    • Bazaar   February 23, 2015 at 9:58 pm

      You pea heart … You are no parra man

      Reply
      • robert sumners   February 24, 2015 at 7:45 pm

        Pea Man ?? lol, how many ”PEA MEN”” as you say have stuffed up our club over the years, too many stuff up’s to post on here, now we are owned by a religious money making tax free cult, sorry ”pea man” not applicable to me

        Reply
  1. Wayne Botting   January 10, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    It is comments like Nathan’s that reaffirm my commitment to Rugby Union and especially the All Blacks. His defence of total depravity is indefensible really in todays modern Rugby League era.

    Reply
    • phil   January 11, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      would all you All Bleck supporters pleasep iss orf back where yo ucame from and take all your bludging mates iwth you. Kiwis are the biggest blight on this nation.

      Reply
      • capper   January 13, 2015 at 3:58 pm

        Phil you are clearly delusional. ..you are your own problem. ..kiwis have worked with Aussie s for many a decade now…but your words to us all are no doubt repeated to many other cross cultures….
        good luck and will look for more of your posts when you grow up…Fool!

        Reply
      • Ted   January 20, 2015 at 11:57 am

        Really sounds like one of my cuzzys might have taken your job or your bitch

        Reply
  2. Graeme Mitchell   January 10, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    I believe there is a growing groundswell against Halal being forced on the vast wider population. By all means cater for Halal. My wife and I have taken the decision that we will not purchase Halal approved products, not so much that they Halal but that a substantial fee is charged for the endorsement and we have no idea where that money goes . . . unlike the Heart Foundation TICK where proceeds go to that organization.

    500,000 Muslims in a population of 23 Million is gross marginalization of most of the 23 million.

    Tolerance and a fair go but don’t force a minority onto the vast majority.

    Reply
  3. Graeme Mitchell   January 10, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    THE ABOVE POST IS NOT MINE REPEAT, THE ABOVE POST IS NOT MINE
    I have been alerted by a friend reading this overall post about my alleged post. I have NO connection with Parramatta Leagues or Hillsong and what they do or don’t do is of no real interest to me.

    I am greatly concerned that someone, somehow has ‘got into’ my email site.

    If Hillsong has an interest in the EELS it will be interesting to see how those who
    support Halal accept the ‘Christian’ involvement.

    I am now changing my email address

    Reply
    • Sean Michaels   January 11, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      Hey Graeme. You made the mistake of referring to Halal in a way that indicates you think it is Islam, not just a part of Islam, in both posts. Coincidence of the same ignorance by both people?

      Reply
      • Poida   January 12, 2015 at 6:08 pm

        Yeah, I noticed that as well.
        I love it when bigots cry HACKED!!

        Reply
  4. Greg   January 10, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    As a past junior representive player and supporter of the mighty parramatta eels for 50 years I will not be attending any games where the food is Halal format. I understand the club needs money but totally disagree with this move. Will they stop the sale of alcohol at games and in the club as the Hillsong is a non alcohol consuming organisation.?
    If so my days at parramatta stadium are finished and this will be the feeling of most parra fans as they all enjoy a beer and pie while watching the game.

    Reply
  5. Lori Woodward   January 11, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Hillsong Rocks! I grew up in footy culture, go Manly

    Reply
  6. Brett   January 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Total crap, this is a joke as anyone who has ever meet Hindy knows he would never talk like that to a media outlet

    Reply
    • Anna   January 21, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      This is absolutely true about Nathan, I also know Tim personally and NEVER would he speak so disrespectfully about his wife Steph (a colleague of mine) & his marriage. Find something better to write about than a church that does great things and a footy club that happens to have some church members in it.

      Reply
  7. Simon Cobden   January 11, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    I have been through thick and thin with the Eels since the 70’s but this is just ridiculous. I have bought a guitar and learnt the chords to Kum-bye-ya… but if this doesn’t work I’m gone. If I wanted to be a laughing stock I would have supported Cronulla.

    Reply
  8. jack smith   January 13, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Bye bye bye bye parra bye bye.

    Reply
    • Ellen anderson   January 18, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      And that’s exactly what will happen Jesus never brought anything

      Reply
  9. peter hollingworth   January 14, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Bout time we had a bit of god consciousness in footy why does it have to be all the time grog women and violence

    Reply
    • Hodgee   January 16, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      Religion is the cause of the world’s bloodiest conflicts is central to our modern conviction that faith and politics should never mix. But the messy history of their separation suggests it was never so simple

      Reply
      • Ellen anderson   January 18, 2015 at 4:46 pm

        You are so right Jesus said give caesar what belongs to Caesar ( politics, money ) and give God what belongs to him (your life ) big difference . Based on this religion should never clash with politics but humans are determined.

        Reply
  10. Ellen anderson   January 18, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Disgusting, no church if they truly are following in Jesus’s footsteps would buy a nrl club and with church people’s money given for what cause ????, jesus reached out to rejected people of sociatily, and reached out with life , Brian Huston as lost his way , he needs to be saved and get his eyes off money and prestige and get on the right road, . Jesus walked the earth with no riches hanging off him he was humbe, he didn’t drive expensive cars, Brian huston twist scripture to get seats in the building preach salvation not riches the bible teaches we have all the riches we need in Christ Jesus I know I’m blessed every day and he’s always looking out for me , but he’s there for who ever will come .

    Reply
  11. Leanne   January 19, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    I have been a eels supporter for 40 years. This is fukin bullshit. Well i cant support the eels anymore. Go souths

    Reply
  12. robert   January 25, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    i have been an eels supporter since 1973, now a religious cult own our footy team, did brian houston’s prayers work when we lost the 2001 & 2009 grand finals? religious sects have no place in any sport. And to think how many homeless there are and they have money to throw around like that? disgusting to say the least, i am now a penrith supporter and i will not be renewing my eels membership, go Manly (first round) go Panthers!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  13. robert   January 25, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    i have been an eels supporter since 1973, now a religious cult own our footy team, did brian houston’s prayers work when we lost the 2001 & 2009 grand finals? religious sects have no place in any sport. And to think how many homeless there are and they have money to throw around like that? disgusting to say the least, i am now a penrith supporter and i will not be renewing my eels membership, go Manly (first round) go Panthers

    Reply
  14. robert   January 26, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    i’ve been an Eels supporter since 1973, and to think a religious cult now owns our footy club is a big concern for me, they will try to change our culture, which i may add has never been too big a problem. Anyway time will tell, i am now a Penrith fan, i’ve always had a soft spot for them.Go Penrith!!

    Reply
  15. Corey   April 7, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    This article just drips of negative distorted untruthful reporting. I am an eels supporter and close to hill song. Article uses innacurate names. Ben Houston’s brother is Joel not Keith. The writer of this wouldn’t know a thing about facts so let’s just print popular bs. Hindu would never give quotes to media reported here. Made up fairy tale grub story. So Hayne Mannah Paulo go to hillsong. Who cares they also have teachers, office workers, single mums, etc etc etc. The eels did get involved in helping an overseas cause helping children in Africa and campaign against sexual slavery. All good things. If they do really own or part own, which I think is bs and not fact then yes it might be pastor Brian’s pet project cos he really loves the eels but I really doubt we so unfinancial as a club that we need private ownership. Pure trash with very little facts. Most the club was involved was Benny Houston as pastoral role for the club but he’s overseas now.

    Reply

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