Bangkok - The Buddhist monk who has blessed Leicester City's players and
stadium said he prayed deep into the night as the Foxes pulled off one
of the biggest ever sporting shocks by winning the English Premier
Phra Prommangkalachan, who has travelled to the Midlands club several
times with its billionaire Thai owner, said he was praying during
second-placed Tottenham Hotspur's 2-2 draw at Chelsea, which gave
Leicester the title.
"I prayed for them from 02:00 till 04:00 (local time during the
Chelsea-Spurs match)... but the victory does not come from me, it's from
the team and the goodness of the owner," he told AFP.
The Foxes, virtual unknowns in Thailand until they were bought by
duty-free magnate Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in 2010, have seen their
popularity skyrocket during the title run-in.
Several hundred supporters in the deeply superstitious country, many
wearing lucky amulets and other talismans, have flocked to screenings of
recent matches at the vast downtown headquarters of Vichai's King Power
Another party is expected in Bangkok for Saturday's visit of Everton
to the King Power Stadium, where Leicester will hoist the trophy.
At the King Power complex in Bangkok on Tuesday, staff spoke of their
joy at the Thai link to a win in the Premier League which is followed
fanatically in the kingdom.
"I am very pleased for my boss (Vichai)... Leicester's success will
make Thailand famous around the world," Songkran Sae-Li, 38, a security
guard told AFP.
The majority of people in Thailand, which is six hours ahead of
British time, were asleep as Spurs threw away a two-goal lead in
dramatic style to hand Leicester the title. But workers were later keen
to wax lyrical on the famous title victory.
Anan Sutchaliao, a Leicester fan and motorcycle taxi driver, hailed
Chelsea's "miracle" comeback from two goals down to a seemingly rampant
"Thank you Chelsea for making Leicester champions," he said.
The club has seen its Thai fanbase - known as the "Siamese Foxes" -
grow from a smattering of die-hards to everyone's favourite second
English Premier League giants Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea traditionally draw a strong following.
But in a country where success can bring a quick switch in loyalties, Leicester can expect to see a surge numbers.
Shirts have already sold out and Leicester's owners are keen to tap
into a large domestic pool of potential fans with public relations
events and a Foxes' branded national academy.
"I feel happy for Leicester... the team is small and it's the first
time that they are the champions," added Twin Wichaidith, who has
supported the team for five months.
"This will make Thais watch football more and the team will have more fans," he added.
Photographs lifted from social media of Leicester's players wildly
celebrating victory were emblazoned across the a Thai fans' Facebook
Comments on the page, which has more than 500 000 followers, praised Vichai's ownership.
But some in the devoutly religious country attributed the win to the supernatural powers of Buddhism.
"There goes the team that just won the league, the team that got
sacred water sprinkled from a Thai temple," Huge Boripat wrote in Thai.