Saturday 27th October 2018 was a dark day for football. It started with the shock news that emerged from BT Sport’s HQ that former England, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager Glenn Hoddle had suffered a heart attack on his birthday, moments after a live programme hosted by Robbie Savage had finished with Hoddle one of his special guests. Thankfully, Glenn would make a full recovery.
Hours later, tragedy struck Leicester City Football Club. Approximately an hour after the conclusion of their Premier League match with West Ham United, the helicopter carrying the club’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha took off as usual from the pitch. Seconds later, the helicopter had spiralled out of control because of a technical problem. It crashed in a car park outside The King Power Stadium and burst into flames. All five people on-board, including Vichai were killed.
The worldwide media, who had embarked on Leicester after their amazing title success of 2016, were heading back there now to report on a completely different and heartbreaking story. It was a tragedy that rocked the city of Leicester to its core. The club was grief-stricken with the outside of the ground quickly filling up with flowers and tributes to their owner.
A week after the accident, Leicester’s players elected to play their next league fixture which was a trip to Cardiff City. There were scenes of togetherness as Leicester’s entire coaching staff joined the players on-the-pitch before kick-off to observe an impeccable silence for Kung Vichai.
The game was a footnote but the Foxes did their late owner proud, winning the match 1-0. Demarai Gray scored the only goal of the game, showing off a personal tribute on his t-shirt during the celebration. It was the right result on the day and for Leicester as a whole.
The Srivaddhanaprabha legacy lives on. Vichai’s son, Aiyawatt took control of the club in their hour of need and was appointed permanent chairman in 2019 and Leicester’s form has impressed many in 2019-2020. They look set for a return to the UEFA Champions League, holding down a top-three position at the moment under the shrewd guidance of Brendan Rodgers.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha had made the impossible possible at Leicester City. His death was a devastating and tragic blow to the club but his legacy, both with Leicester and the Premier League will remain forever.