Thailand’s Leicester Fans Keep Faith in Team’s Title Chase

Leicester City fans react as they watch the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Manchester United on TV on Sunday in Bangkok. Photo: Sakchai Lalit / Associated Press

BANGKOK — Thailand-based Leicester fans remain convinced their team will win the English Premier League title despite the anticlimax of Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Manchester United.

About 1,000 supporters attended a big-screen showing of the game at the Bangkok headquarters of Leicester’s owner King Power, but even the lucky Buddhist amulets that many wore were not enough to secure the win that would have clinched the title for the one-time 5,000-1 longshot.

Retiree Naruepatra Dhanabhumi has followed Leicester since its Thai takeover six years ago, and said he’s “100 percent sure the team is going to win in the end,” adding it was better to clinch at home anyway in Leicester’s next game against Everton on Saturday at the club’s King Power Stadium.

Celebrations could come before then. Leicester has an eight-point lead over its only rival Tottenham, which must win at Chelsea on Monday to stay in contention.

Akadet Inkome, a follower of Buddhist monk Phra Prommangkalachan who has blessed talismans to bring luck to the team, remained confident. “(They) are very sacred, the talismans will bring victory to the team.”

Manchester United fan Ussawin Tongpraparn attended the event and even he wanted Leicester to win, saying “it’s the team of Thai people, I couldn’t be any prouder.”

King Power has been putting on screenings of Leicester games since it took over the club in 2010, but crowds once counted in double figures — drawn mostly by the free food and beer — have grown as the remarkable success story nears its conclusion.

Story: Lerpong Amsa-Ngiam / Associated Press

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