Following the confirmed tragic death of Vichai Srivaddhanaprahba, the city of Leicester fell into mourning, remembering the life of a man who was much more than just an owner of a football club. As tributes pour in from football players and fans from around the world, we remember a man who was truly one of a kind.
Over the past few hours, as football fans remember the incredible story of Vichai Srivaddhanaprahba, the King Power Stadium was flooded with scarves, flowers and tributes to the late Thai businessman. The man who had won the hearts of the city of Leicester by investing heavily in the club in 2014, covering over £100m of the club’s debt and leading them to not only a promotion to the Premier League, but also the impossible 5000/1 Premier League win in 2016, Vichai became a true hero to the fans of the club.
His footballing contributions were hardly his only achievement, as his humble communal touch set him apart from any other football club owner. Even despite living in Thailand, Vichai flew over every other weekend to watch Leicester play at the King Power Stadium in his famous helicopter, which tragically proved to be the cause of his demise. His commitment to both Leicester as a football club as well as a city separated him from the usual football investors.
He often treated supporters to free breakfasts, food, beer, scarves, flags and even free away travel in the hope of making as many of the fans’ experience the best it could have possibly been. He had also donated £1m to the Leicester Royal Infirmary as well as Leicester University’s medical department, topped off by an incredible £2m injection towards a new children’s hospital in the city. Vichai Srivaddhanaprahba became a symbol of a real footballing fairy tale following Leicester’s incredible title winning campaign in 2016. His positivity and sentimental attachment to the club and its fans was a key reason behind that, which was evidently seen by the touching messages that the likes of Kasper Schmeichel and Wes Morgan had left following his death on Saturday. But above all, he understood the club’s emotional and civic significance which made everybody involved at the club appreciate the work he had done for the club. His story will live on as one of the greatest footballing fairy tales ever.