Is the Dalai Lama behind Bradford's incredible Capital One Cup run?

Dalai Lama sends letter of support ahead of Wembley final against Swansea

Bradford's run to the Capital One Cup final has at times felt like a miracle.

The fourth tier side have seen off Premier League sides Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa to reach Sunday's Wembley final in one of the true modern football fairy tale stories.

It is the first time a side from the fourth division has made the final since Rochdale in 1962 and the troubled club's first final since they won the FA Cup in 1911.

They've needed some luck along the way, such as the penalties which saw off Arsenal at Valley Parade, but is there more to their cup run than meets they eye?

It has emerged that the Dalai Lama offered his blessing to the club at the start of the season and hopes he can bring "good fortune" for this weekend's final against Swansea.

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tensin Gyatso, has reportedly been a Bradford supporter since last June following a trip to Yorkshire. While there, he was made honorary president of fans' group Friends of Bradford City.

The Dalai Lama sent Bradford a letter of support in the form of a short letter from the London-based Office of Tibet signed by his representative.

It read: "On behalf of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, may I offer you, and indeed the whole team of players for Bradford City, huge congratulations on your incredible success.

"If His Holiness’ blessing has helped in any way towards your wonderful efforts, I hope that blessing will continue to bring you good fortune.

"He would hope that this tremendous achievement can be turned into an opportunity to help others, demonstrating the power of sport to bring happiness to others on and off the pitch.

"He remembers his time in Yorkshire with great affection and wishes you every success in the big match. Of course, we at the Office of Tibet also wish you the best of luck in the final!"

Friends of Bradford City chairman Mark Neale is quoted as saying: "When I opened the letter and found it was from the Dalai Lama you could have knocked me down with a feather.

"I have this vision of him sitting on a mountain listening for City’s results. I know we have a great manager in Phil Parkinson in but any help we can get is great, and maybe the Dalai Lama has played his part in City’s amazing success.

"My wife Julie, who is a season ticket holder, says she might become a Buddhist."

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
music
News
Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
news
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'