Leicester reveal statue to honour Vichai
Club to commission sculpture as permanent and fitting tribute to the man who made their dream possible
>> 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.