Phra Prommangkalachan, the Chief monk at the Wat Traimitr Withayaram Temple in Bangkok, has revealed that he had prayed through the night for Leicester City Football Club’s astonishing English Premier League (EPL) triumph.
“I prayed for them from 2 a.m. till 4 a.m. (Bangkok time),” he told The Associated Press.
Notably, the time that Phra was reportedly praying coincided with the exact entire duration of the game that Tottenham Hotspur (Leicester City’s only rival for the trophy) were playing in a must-win encounter against Chelsea Football Club!
Leicester City had played their match the day before, and the Tottenham-Chelsea game was marred by an unusually greater degree of player violence – perhaps in part owing to the neighbouring rivalry between the two teams. At half time, Tottenham Hotspur was leading by a comfortable cushion of two goals, but only to see their goal advantage inexplicably fall apart during the second half.
However, Phra, 64, was quick to add that Leicester City’s victory did not come from him, but “from the team and the goodness of the owner”.
At the start of the EPL season, in spite of the 5,000-1 betting odds that Leicester City would win the EPL, Phra predicted that the team would win it.
The prediction came to pass in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, and hours later, fans were flocking to Phra’s temple, hoping to get their hands on Leicester City banners blessed by Phra.
But no banners were for sale, the monk’s assistant, Korpsin Uiamsa-ard, told the throngs of disappointed fans.
In fact, only a few such banners exist, said Korpsin, who showed The Associated Press one of them — a rectangular yellow silk cloth with blue tassels and the club’s fox emblem emblazoned on it. The fox is surrounded by Buddhist religious symbols.
Korpsin added the banners will not be sold but will be given to people chosen by Phra.
“At the start of the year, if I had forced someone to take the Leicester team banner, no one would have touched it. Who would’ve thought?” he said.
The temple also plans to give gold amulets, blessed by Phra, to each of the club’s players. The unblessed amulets are sold in the temple’s shop for about SGD$1,700. Korpsin said two bigger amulets are reserved for club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and the team coach Claudio Ranieri, probably valued at about SGD$5,000.
In an interview with Thailand’s Spring News cable TV channel in March, Phra said that when he travelled to England the first time to provide blessings to the football team, he realised there were “no meditations or blessings related to football.”
“I scoured through all my books and manual, for anything that could be used to bless a football team. But there was no football in ancient times,” he said. However, “I found blessings for war, which is similar to football games … It seemed the most fitting for the situation, so I used this.”
Although Leicester City’s recent triumph is no less than astounding and the stuff of fairy tales, it seems that greater things await the club. According to SkySports, Phra’s most recent prediction is that Leicester City will shine in the European Champions League.