Image via BBC
Sunderland entered this weekend with just one point out of the season’s first eight games and a load of problems. They already sacked their manager and came in with the league’s worst offense and worst defense. Perhaps a little divine intervention was all they needed.
On Saturday, Pope Francis was given a personalized Black Cats shirt by Father Marc Lyden-Smith, Sunderland’s team chaplain. The next day, the team won its first match of the season, besting arch-rivals Newcastle 2-1 in the Ware-Tyne derby.
According to the BBC, Fr. Lyden-Smith was on a pilgrimage to Rome with about sixty people, and per the club’s request had taken a jersey along for His Holiness.
"It was a bit of a miracle really. There were 120,000 people gathered in the square. We managed to get tickets up at the front and the pope was guided towards us.
"Some people from the North East managed to shake his hand and then I asked if he would accept the shirt and he took it and waved it in the air to cheers."
According to Lyden-Smith, Pope Francis was too “diplomatic” on Saturday to say that he would root for one team over another, but he didn’t need to reveal who he’d support — It’s pretty clear enough now!