DISABLED BOY WHO TOOK FIRST STEPS ON PITCH NAMED FAN OF THE YEAR

PRIEST PRAISED POWER OF PRAYER AFTER FOOTBALL WIN

A football-mad priest has praised the “power of prayer” after composing some special words before his team Sunderland AFC wiped the floor with Norwich City.

Club chaplain Father Marc Lyden-Smith, says the struggling side would have been “digging their own Premier League graves” if they had come back from East Anglia empty-handed.

But a 3-0 win on Saturday has given the team fresh hope of survival.

Father Marc, who is priest at St Mary’s Church, in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, has unstinting faith in the Sunderland squad – many of whom he speaks to during mass at the Academy of Light

He said: “It shows the power of prayer. The players were fantastic. I am over the moon.”

He believes Sunderland have the quality and determination to avoid the drop, but a little bit of divine intervention can only help.

Father Marc added: “Prayer always helps. If we had lost we would’ve been digging our own Premier League graves.

“Vito Mannone was sensational. He kept us in it in the first half before we came into our own.

“It was a great team performance. They showed they understand the passion of the city and what it means to the area. They have got the heart.”

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