Le­ices­ter re­veal statue to hon­our Vichai

Club to com­mis­sion sculp­ture as per­ma­nent and fit­ting trib­ute to the man who made their dream pos­si­ble

Bangkok Post - - FOOTBALL -

>> LE­ICES­TER: Le­ices­ter’s late owner Vichai Sri­vad­dhanaprabha will be im­mor­talised with a me­mo­rial statue at the King Power Sta­dium af­ter his death in a he­li­copter crash.

Thai bil­lion­aire Vichai was among five peo­ple killed when his he­li­copter crashed out­side the King Power fol­low­ing Le­ices­ter’s Pre­mier League match against West Ham on Oct 27.

Mourn­ing fans have turned Le­ices­ter’s sta­dium into a shrine for Vichai over the last two weeks and his son, Le­ices­ter vice-chair­man Aiyawatt Sri­vad­dhanaprabha, re­vealed there will now be a per­ma­nent re­minder of the charis­matic owner in the form of the statue.

Le­ices­ter sup­port­ers paid an emo­tional trib­ute to Vichai when the Foxes hosted Burnley yes­ter­day in the team’s first home game since the crash.

They played their first match af­ter his death at Cardiff last week.

“We will never be able to re­pay what he did for us — for me as his son, us as his fam­ily, ev­ery­one con­nected to Le­ices­ter City and be­yond — but we are com­mit­ted to hon­our­ing his mem­ory and up­hold­ing his legacy,” Aiyawatt wrote in yes­ter­day’s match pro­gramme.

“Our con­tin­ued growth as a club, our state-of-the-art new train­ing ground and our planned sta­dium ex­pan­sion will help re­alise his vi­sion for Le­ices­ter City.

“I plan to com­mis­sion a statue of my fa­ther, for out­side King Power Sta­dium, as a per­ma­nent and fit­ting trib­ute to the man that made it all pos­si­ble.

“He will for­ever be in our hearts. He will never be for­got­ten.”

In the eight years since the Sri­vad­dhanaprabha fam­ily bought Le­ices­ter in 2010, Vichai helped trans­form the club be­yond all recog­ni­tion.

They won the Pre­mier League ti­tle as 5,000-1 out­siders in 2016 and played in the Cham­pi­ons League for the first time the fol­low­ing sea­son.

Le­ices­ter City’s Foxes Foun­da­tion has been re­named the Vichai Sri­vad­dhanaprabha Foun­da­tion in hon­our of the club’s chair­man.

“Since its for­ma­tion in 2011/12, the Foun­da­tion has raised al­most £2 mil­lion for lo­cal char­i­ties, help­ing fund a ren­o­va­tion of Le­ices­ter Royal In­fir­mary’s Chil­dren’s Out­pa­tient Ward and life-sav­ing equip­ment des­per­ately needed by the Chil­dren’s In­ten­sive Care Unit,” Le­ices­ter said in a state­ment.

“Un­der its new name, The Vichai Sri­vad­dhanaprabha Foun­da­tion will con­tinue to build on that life-chang­ing work in a way that re­flects the gen­eros­ity, care and love of a man who made over £4 mil­lion in per­sonal do­na­tions to the city’s uni­ver­si­ties, hospi­tals and char­i­ties in re­cent years.”

Vichai’s fu­neral in Bangkok ended on Fri­day night. His body will be kept for 100 days be­fore cre­ma­tion.

Le­ices­ter play­ers, in­clud­ing club cap­tain Wes Mor­gan, striker Jamie Vardy and goal­keeper Kasper Sch­me­ichel, and man­ager Claude Puel at­tended his fu­neral on Sun­day and Mon­day be­fore fly­ing back to Eng­land to pre­pare for yes­ter­day’s game.

Mem­bers of Thai­land’s busi­ness, po­lit­i­cal and sports elite also at­tended his fu­neral.

They in­cluded Prime Min­is­ter Prayut Chan-o-cha, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Prawit Wong­su­won, CP group’s Dhanin Chear­a­vanont, Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion of Thai­land pres­i­dent Somyot Poom­pun­muang, na­tional men’s foot­ball team coach Mo­li­van Ra­je­vac and his play­ers, na­tional women’s foot­ball team man­ager Nual­phan Lam­sam and her play­ers, and for­mer na­tional foot­ball team coach Ki­ati­sak “Zico” Se­na­muang.

Flo­ral trib­utes for Vichai Sri­vad­dhanaprabha are seen out­side the King Power Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

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