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Leicester pay tribute to Vichai Srivadhannaprabha ahead of Burnley match

UK Sport | Published:

Leicester faced Burnley on Saturday, the first home game since the death of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Kasper Schmeichel penned a heartfelt tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha as Leicester remembered their late owner on an emotional day at the King Power Stadium.

The 60-year-old died in a helicopter crash along with four others two weeks ago.

The Foxes played at home for the first time since the accident, against Burnley, on Saturday and Schmeichel wrote a touching piece in the programme describing his emotions of the night following the  1-1 draw with West Ham.

The goalkeeper, who saw the helicopter go down, wrote: “I was on the side of the pitch standing, chatting with some of those closest to him that night and waved him off as he took off, like I nearly always used to do after home games.

“What happened next will stay with me forever. It has replayed through my head every minute since, wishing there was something more I could have done.

“I stood for a long time at the police cordon at the back of the car park on the night of the 27th and again the next morning. Tears streaming down my face.

“He made me feel 10 feet tall when I was in his company. He gave me a feeling of safety and no matter what was going on, everything was going to be okay.

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“I really didn’t want to leave, I couldn’t! I wanted to be near him. It seems so wrong that this was how such a great life was ended.”

Before the game club ambassador Alan Birchenall introduced a poignant video showing Srivaddhanaprabha and Leicester’s achievements – winning the Sky Bet Championship and Premier League – under him.

His son, and vice chairman, Aiyawatt laid a wreath ahead of a two-minute silence for Remembrance Sunday and the helicopter crash victims.

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Players wore shirts with the late owner’s name embroidered on while Harry Maguire, James Maddison, Andy King and Hamza Choudhury – who did not feature against Burnley – led a march of fans from the city centre.

Over 10,000 are estimated to have walked from Jubilee Square to the King Power Stadium with Aiyawatt viewing the floral tributes at the end.

The march also honoured Kaveporn Punpare, Nusara Suknamai, pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz who lost their lives in the accident.

In a special programme manager Claude Puel, Jamie Vardy, Wes Morgan and King penned tributes.

Former players N’Golo Kante, Danny Drinkwater and Leonardo Ulloa, who won the Premier League with the Foxes, paid their respects. Ex-managers Nigel Pearson and Craig Shakespeare also attended.

Title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri, at the ground for the game, called Srivaddhanaprabha “generous” writing: “I think Khun Vichai will be remembered forever.

“I will remember him laughing. He was always smiling and thinking about the positives. He was an amazing man, he had electricity.”

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