Tucked in the Chinatown area of Bangkok is a Buddhist temple that has turned overnight into a venerated site for Leicester City’s fans, at least the ones in Thailand.
Some months ago the chief monk at the temple predicted that the team, which was a 5,000-1 outsider at the start of the season, would win the English Premier League title.
The prediction came true on Monday night, and by yesterday morning fans were flocking to the Golden Buddha temple, hoping to get their hands on Leicester City banners blessed by the monk, Phra Prommangkalachan, who is revered by the club’s Thai owners.
But no banners were for sale, the monk’s assistant, Korpsin Uiamsa-ard, told the throngs of disappointed fans.
“I never believed in blessings until now,” said Ling Prakorpvoon, 51, who came from Chonburi for the blessed banner. “He (the monk) is incredible. Leicester never won and now this miracle.”
Premier League football is popular among Thais, but many are fans of better-known teams such as Manchester United or Chelsea.
“I am a follower of the monk and I think he is magical and holy,” said Songwit Suwannaram. “I so badly want the Leicester banner now because this just happened.”
In fact, only a few such banners exist, said Korpsin, wearing Leicester City’s blue strip. he said the banners will not be sold but will be given to people chosen by Prommangkalachan.
The monk came into prominence when Thailand’s King Power duty free company, owned by billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, bought Leicester City six years ago. Vichai is a devotee of Prommangkalachan and asked him to bless the team.
The monk himself Thailand’s Spring News cable TV channel that when he traveled to England the first time to give the blessings he realised there were “no blessings related to football”.
However, he said: “I found blessings for war, which is similar to football games… It seemed the most fitting for the situation, so I used this.”