Tributes and messages of support have flooded in from far and wide after Leicester City confirmed that owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four further passengers: Nursara Suknamai, Kaveporn Punpare, Izabela Roza Lechowicz and Eric Swaffer have lost their lives.
The Thai owner was loved by all at the club and furthermore by the city of Leicester.
He helped the club achieve the impossible. Promotion, survival and ultimately; a fairy-tale Premier League title. For a club so synonymous with dreams, the hearts of millions go out to Leicester in the face of this nightmare.
After a 1-1 draw with West Ham on Saturday, Srivaddhanaprabha’s helicopter took off from the King Power turf at around 8:30PM. Witnesses report seeing a huge fireball and hearing a loud bang as the vehicle spun out of control and crashed in to the stadium car park.
Players have spoken out across social media following the disaster. The respect and love for Mr Srivaddhanaprabha is truly staggering.
In the words of the players, the owner was the soul of the club, who made dreams come true and supported them continuously throughout his time at the club.
He oversaw the most historical moments in the clubs history. His club were record breakers. His club were champions. And what’s more, his club shared an affinity with more than just their own fans but football fans everywhere.
The year Leicester City won the Premier League will never be forgotten. We sat, watching every game, and with every win we kept believing that it had to end soon. It wasn’t possible. Favourites for relegation before the season kicked off, it was preposterous to even suggest a top half finish.
The dream becomes reality
However, game by game they showed the world their identity. An identity and a passion fledged from the very top echelons of the club. In some games they would barely touch the ball. That didn’t matter as the electric pace and dynamic attack of Vardy and Mahrez lit up even the coldest of nights at the King Power Stadium.
Under his supervision, the club created superstars. Two already mentioned, and perhaps the biggest being the most humble: N’Golo Kante.
It was the human side of Mr Srivaddhanprabha that endeared him to the people of Leicester. He signed off over £100 million worth of debt when he took over. In addition, he approved huge investment plans for a state of the art training ground and expansion of their home stadium. Furthermore, he gave away season tickets, free beers to fans and even luxury sports cars to his players after they won the league. He was a man of few words but a man with a huge heart.
The world stands united with Leicester in this heart wrenching time.
Fables and Fairy-Tales are timeless. The memories that Srivaddhanprabha created with such a wonderful club can never be torn from the history books. He leaves behind a legacy, which encompasses so much more than football.
His work and commitment is indicative of everything there is to love about the beautiful game.
All at Sportsgrape extend their condolences to the families of those involved, to Leicester City football club, its players and its fans.
Thank you Mr Srivaddhanprabha for your incredible contribution to the footballing world. It was a wonderful ride.