Is the Pope a Claret? (or perhaps the most unusual ‘football club gets promoted’ story you’ll see)

We’ve all been there. Football club gets promoted, and the football club – temporarily at least – stops being the exclusive enclave of the sports desk, and everyone is thrown at it.

The list of stories normally goes like this:

1. Celebrity reaction.

2. How much promotion is worth to the town or city

3. Oldest fan

4. Woman who went into labour during the game.

5. Woman (and man) who name their child after the manager/star striker/goalkeeper (not necessarily the same people as in number 4)

6. Mayor/MP/council leader gegging in on  positive story in a desperate attempt for some reflected glory

7. Overseas fans revealing previously unknown global hotspots of club’s fans

8. Bookies odds for the next season

9. Pets dressed in the club’s kit (No, I’ve no idea either but I know it’s very popular)

10. Manager and key players vowing to stay and, invariably, not.

But how about the one with the club-supporting cardinal from a different continent who’s convinced he’s turned the Pope into a Claret? (Or a Dingle, depending on your preferred nickname for Burnley Football Club):

t is not just fans in Burnley who are overjoyed at the achievement. News of the success has now spread to Pope Francis during an audience with cardinals at The Vatican:


popclaretAccording to the Lancashire Telegraph:

Clarets fan Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, from Durban in South Africa, last week promised to tell the pontiff about the amazing run when he met him on Saturday.

He remained true to his word, but the Argentinean religious leader said he had to remain unbiased when it came to all things football.

Cardinal Napier tweeted: “Mentioned Burnley’s achievement to Pope when he told us about Brazil President’s: “Please Holy Father, remain neutral during World Cup!

“His response was evidence of similar neutrality. Obviously didn’t want to upset anyone. But secretly I know he will support the little ones!”

All of which puts tried, tested (and, to be fair, proven) Burnley celebrity fans Alastair Campbell, John Kettley and Jimmy Anderson in the shade somewhat.

The hunt is now on for the Premier League minnows Barack Obama will be supporting….


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