Leicester players pay respects to owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha
The entire Leicester City squad joined the family of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in paying their respects to the club’s owner at the King Power Stadium on Monday.
Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people who died in a helicopter crash at the club’s stadium on Saturday.
Kasper Schmeichel and Jamie Vardy – part of Leicester’s Premier League winning side in 2016 – stood by vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, son of Vichai, as the squad observed the vast amount of floral tributes and messages outside the stadium.
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Sky Sports News understands Leicester’s players have all been offered grief counselling as they come to terms with the death of the club’s chairman.
The whole squad met on Monday morning at the club’s training ground, but there was no formal training session. Some players had massages and physio, but most sat quietly to share their feelings and memories of the man they affectionately called “The Boss”.
It was the players’ choice to come, as a group, to the stadium to see the tributes and pay their respects.
The club, in keeping with its duty of care as an employer, has told the players to take as much time as they need to deal with their grief.
Leicester City will continue to offer any support the players need, and will assess their state of mind before considering whether they need to talk to the Premier League about Saturday’s game against Cardiff, with Tuesday’s Carabao Cup match against Southampton already postponed.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha wrote off the club’s £103m debt when taking over in 2010, and was a beloved figure among the players, rewarding the title-winning squad with sports cars and all-expenses-paid holidays.
The 60-year-old also engaged with the club’s supporters, giving fans free bus travel to away games as well as free beer at home matches, while his support towards the wider community included two separate instalments of £1m to Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Tributes flooded in from Leicester’s players on social media on Sunday night after it was confirmed Srivaddhanaprabha had died in the accident.
Schmeichel said Srivaddhanaprabha “changed football” and “gave hope to everyone that the impossible was possible”.
Vardy, who scored 24 Premier League goals in the season Leicester won the title, wrote on Instagram: “Struggling to find the right words….but to me you are legend, an incredible man who had the biggest heart, the soul of Leicester City Football Club.
Struggling to find the right words….but to me you are legend, an incredible man who had the biggest heart, the soul of Leicester City Football Club. Thank you for everything you did for me, my family and our club. I will truly miss you…. may you rest in peace…#theboss
A post shared by Jamie Vardy (@vardy7) on
“Thank you for everything you did for me, my family and our club. I will truly miss you…. may you rest in peace.”
Leicester captain Wes Morgan wrote on Twitter: “Absolutely heartbroken and devastated regarding the news of our chairman.
“A man that was loved and adored by everyone here at LCFC and someone who I personally had the utmost respect for.”
Leicester right-back Danny Simpson said on Twitter: “Thank you for everything you have done for me, the players, the fans, the club and the whole city of Leicester.
Thank you for everything you have done for me, the players, the fans, the club and the whole city of Leicester. You made mine and everyone else’s dream come true.I am devastated and can’t quite process what has happened but we will do our best to help this club grow. RIP #TheBoss pic.twitter.com/4oEuABIg54
“You made mine and everyone else’s dream come true.I am devastated and can’t quite process what has happened but we will do our best to help this club grow.”
Leicester midfielder Wilfred Ndidi thanked Srivaddhanaprabha for coming out to watch him in World Cup action for Nigeria.
You were far too kind and supportive. Thank you for all you did for the club, for always encouraging the team and coming all the way to watch me play at the world cup. Rest on sir #theboss?? pic.twitter.com/RY3fjz3TLD
Ndidi wrote on Twitter: “You were far too kind and supportive. Thank you for all you did for the club, for always encouraging the team and coming all the way to watch me play at the World Cup.”
Shinji Okazaki, who joined Leicester back in 2015, said on Twitter: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of our president… I am honoured to have known him here in Leicester. He was truly a great man for the club and for me as well.”
Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante, part of Leicester’s title-winning team, wrote: “Prayers and thoughts to the families and to all the [Leicester City] family in such a difficult time.”
Prayers and thoughts to the families and to all the @LCFC family in such a difficult time. pic.twitter.com/l5g589NsoJ
RIP Boss. You were a great person who cared so much about our club, city and everything which came with it. Thank you for enabling us to make our dreams a reality and I hope you were as proud of your club as we were of you. We will miss you ??? pic.twitter.com/Chc2OfFaO2
Thank you ❤️ #theboss #lcfc pic.twitter.com/7qLuveBl4s
A generous, kind man who always had a smile on his face. Always believed in us and never stop supporting us. I’d like to Thank You for helping me and everyone involved with the club including the fans achieve such amazing things. Dreams.?
RIP, ?? #TheBoss pic.twitter.com/N3avlRe60J
Devastated and heartbroken at the news that no one survived the helicopter crash yesterday ? Life isn’t fair sometimes. A wonderful thoughtful man who lived and breathed Leicester City Football Club. Rest in Peace Boss ? #ThanksBoss pic.twitter.com/vJmksNjFf5
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