Emo­tional tribute in Leicester to ‘the Boss’

The Observer - - News - Stu­art James

Leicester City’s play­ers, staff and sup­port­ers paid a mov­ing tribute to Vichai Sri­vad­dhanaprabha in their first game back at the King Power Sta­dium since the he­li­copter crash that claimed the life of the club’s owner and four oth­ers a fort­night ago.

On a poignant af­ter­noon in Leicester, the sta­dium fell silent not only for two min­utes be­fore kick­off – this was also the club’s an­nual Re­mem­brance fix­ture – but also dur­ing a touch­ing and beau­ti­fully put­to­gether video of Vichai that was shown on the gi­ant screens in­side the ground. “With­out him, none of it [the 2016 ti­tle win] would have been pos­si­ble,” said Alan Birchenall, the club am­bas­sador and for­mer Leicester player, as he stood in the cen­tre of the pitch ad­dress­ing the crowd.

“Cham­pi­ons of Eng­land, you made us sing that,” re­ver­ber­ated around the ground time and again as Vichai’s son Aiyawatt, who is Leicester’s vicechair­man, looked on from the stands. Leicester sup­port­ers held com­mem­o­ra­tive scarves em­bla­zoned with the mes­sage “For­ever in our hearts” above their heads in tribute to the owner who made their dreams come true.

Ear­lier in the day, thou­sands of sup­port­ers took part in a me­mo­rial walk that was the brain­child of two Leicester school­girls. Harry Maguire, Andy King, James Mad­di­son, Matty James and Hamza Choud­hury were among the Leicester play­ers who joined fans as they marched from Ju­bilee Square, in the city cen­tre, to King Power Sta­dium, singing Vichai’s name.

The sea of flo­ral trib­utes placed out­side the sta­dium in the af­ter­math of the tragedy had been moved on Fri­day, with the help of more than 200 vol­un­teers, to an area close to the ac­ci­dent site, where fans flocked be­fore kick-off to pay their re­spect.

A sea of flo­ral trib­utes in Leicester.

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