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Walk For Vichai 2

fox58

Well-Known Member
from what they said on RL there are some costs involved, although the City Council have apparently waved theirs
 

Brown Nose

Well-Known Member
I don't understand why people think this is a good idea. Good luck to them and everything, but it's not for me.

It was a special off the cuff gesture last year, and in my opinion should have been a one off.

Doing it again, with proper organisation, sponsorship and so on, and inevitably with a lot fewer people, detracts from last year for me.
 

Volpone

Well-Known Member
I defy anyone who looks at all these 50 images not to get emotional. What a wonderful club and fans we have.

 

fox58

Well-Known Member
I don't understand why people think this is a good idea. Good luck to them and everything, but it's not for me.

It was a special off the cuff gesture last year, and in my opinion should have been a one off.

Doing it again, with proper organisation, sponsorship and so on, and inevitably with a lot fewer people, detracts from last year for me.
They were even selling raffle tickets
 

Jeff

Administrator
Staff member
There's a video attached to that tweet if you click it. For some reason videos can't be embedded from LCFC's tweets.
 

Jeff

Administrator
Staff member
From The Times:

Tragedy of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s death has made Leicester City even stronger

The club are driven on by the memory of their much-loved owner a year after his death, says Gregor Robertson

Leicester City’s supporters pay tribute to Vichai during the win against Burnley
Leicester City’s supporters pay tribute to Vichai during the win against Burnley
There are reminders of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha everywhere at the King Power Stadium, but the most poignant of all, perhaps, is the former Leicester City owner’s empty seat on match day.

On Saturday a commemorative white scarf was draped across the back of the seat in the directors’ box during the 2-1 win against Burnley, as the club began to mark the anniversary of the tragic helicopter accident that took the life of Khun Vichai, and four others, a year ago this Sunday.

In the past 12 months no one has sat in the seat from which Khun Vichai oversaw the most remarkable title win in Premier League history. Except once. It was a little over an hour before Leicester’s final game of last season, against Chelsea, in May. The stadium was empty bar a smattering of media and club staff.

Aiyawatt, nicknamed “Top”, Vichai’s son and the Leicester City chairman, emerged from the executive lounge with his sister’s baby — Khun Vichai’s grandchild — in his arms. Top walked down the steps to survey the club now under his watch. He sat in his usual seat, and he gently placed the child in his father’s chair. It was a picture of family, love and the future.

On the day Leicester City lifted the Premier League trophy, Khun Vichai wrote in the match programme: “Our spirit exists because of the love we share for each other and the energy it helps to create, both on and off the pitch. And in the years to come it will continue to be our greatest asset.”


That spirit and togetherness was pivotal in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy that cost him his life and the terrible grief it wrought.

Those who are able to reflect on the events of the night of October 27, 2018 do so with an enduring sense of disbelief. A little under an hour after Leicester’s 1-1 draw with West Ham United, most of Leicester’s players and supporters had left the stadium. Some fans were enjoying a drink in the Blues Bar on Filbert Way. Kasper Schmeichel, the Leicester goalkeeper, stood on the side of the pitch to wave off the owner, who was boarding his helicopter in the centre circle, as he did most weeks. Jake Humphrey, hosting televised coverage of the game in the BT Sport studio, watched with John Hartson, Chris Sutton and Owen Hargreaves as the billionaire’s helicopter prepared for takeoff.

Vardy, the Leicester and England striker, with Top, the club’s chairman and son of the late Vichai
Vardy, the Leicester and England striker, with Top, the club’s chairman and son of the late Vichai

“The first I knew something had happened, was when the producer said in a very solemn voice, ‘I need you to go to the break immediately,” says Humphrey. The presenter had braced himself for sombre news regarding Glenn Hoddle, his colleague, who had suffered a heart attack earlier that day. “I threw to an ad break. And it was then that we were told the helicopter we were just talking about had just come down,” he says. “At that moment, a security guard came running through the door, looking ashen-faced.”

Outside a harrowing scene played out: the acrid smell of aviation fluid, the valiant attempts by security guards to break into the cabin before the helicopter became engulfed in flames. Schmeichel, who had seen the helicopter tailspin towards the ground, had run towards the crash site. There was panic, speculation, a sense of suspended reality. Players had often left the ground with Khun Vichai in the helicopter after matches and the squad’s WhatsApp group sprang to life.

When Andrew Hulley, the club chaplain, arrived at at 11pm, he joined Leicester’s executive team. Their response was stoical. “They were all friends of Vichai’s and dealt with grief while trying to think, talk and discuss how to communicate the news to family, sensitively,” Hully says, “It was incredible. They were so professional.”

Leicester’s owners celebrate their shock Premier League triumph in 2016
Leicester’s owners celebrate their shock Premier League triumph in 2016

Within hours a memorial and a marquee to house a book of condolences had been erected. “When it’s so public, it’s not just personal,” Andy King, the Leicester City midfielder on loan at Rangers, says. “Allowing the fans to grieve with the club, everyone could feel like they were in it together. We had all been on the journey, and Vichai was such a big part of that. It was only right everyone grieved together.”

What followed was an outpouring of grief. Matt Davis, the Foxes Trust vice-chairman, remembers being drawn to the stadium, like so many supporters, early on Sunday morning. “I took a picture when a man put a single bouquet of flowers down,” he recalls, “and then by the end of the day, the whole side of the stadium was filled with floral tributes.”

“There was a sense of community and family, coming together, where they’d been just a few years before to celebrate the Premier League title win,” Hully says.

The players gathered at the stadium on Monday. Senior players addressed the group. Dave Rennie, the head physio, delivered an emotional speech about how Vichai “didn’t just invest in the club and in players, he invested in everyone as people”, King says. Then Top addressed the group, reaffirming his commitment to fulfilling his father’s vision for the club.

Hully, who ordinarily visited Belvoir Drive, the club’s training ground, once a week, spent the next fortnight there. “Just making my way round the staff and the players, to be on hand and available to talk,” he says.

“The first few days were utter shock and disbelief. It was like waking up in the middle of a nightmare, and then discovering that it’s real. But everybody was brought together, rallied, encouraged to grieve, not to bottle it up — which is not always easy in a male environment.”

It was weeks, Hulley says, before players and staff felt able to laugh again, without a feeling of guilt. Geoff Peters, the talkSport commentator, and a Leicester native and club supporter, describes a moment before the first home game, the 0-0 draw with Burnley, a fortnight after the accident. “A video was shown on the big screen of Vichai,” he says. “Everyone was quiet, respectful, and Top was by the side of the pitch. Suddenly, the fans broke out into spontaneous applause. And as that applause broke around the stadium, up on the screen came footage of Vichai, in the stadium, applauding. It was like he was thanking the fans. It was a real goosebumps moment.”

The players were among hundreds of mourners, royal soldiers and monks gathered in Thailand for the funeral. “It was beautiful, floral, opulent, but very difficult, because the grief had happened at home, and then you had to go through it again,” Ian Stringer, the BBC Radio Leicester presenter who attended the funeral, says.

Khun Vichai’s generosity and philanthropy entrenched his legacy in the city, donating millions to local charities. Players and staff were regularly taken out for meals; there were end-of-season holidays, paid-for team nights in private London casinos. Watches made by Hublot, Rolex and Patek Philippe were given to the players. As well as BMW i8s given to every member of the 2015-16 title-winning team, Leicester’s back four — Wes Morgan, Robert Huth, Christian Fuchs and Danny Simpson — each received a Land Rover Defender: Khun Vichai liked the symbolism. Supporters, too, were showered with gifts: scarves, flags, badges, donuts, pies, drinks, season tickets.


His generosity was rooted in ideas about karma — if you give, you get back — from his Buddhist faith, but those who knew him simply speak of a special person. “He was a very successful man,” Morgan says, “but you could talk to him on the same level. He liked to joke and laugh with the boys. He enjoyed our company. He wanted to make everyone smile, make them happy.”

The arrival of Brendan Rodgers in February breathed new life into the wounded Foxes. Claude Puel, the former manager, who dealt with the tragedy with dignity, failed to endear himself. Just five wins from 17 games, notably against Manchester City and Chelsea at Christmas, followed the tragedy but the appointment of Rodgers provided an immediate fillip.

Leicester’s 2-0 win against Bournemouth in March, Rodgers’s fourth win from his first five games, was secured with goals from two stalwarts, Jamie Vardy, reinvigorated after being shown the cold shoulder by Puel, and Morgan. It was another emotive day, coming five days before Khun Vichai’s 61st birthday.

“You hold him in your memory, what he did for everybody, but your life has to move on,” Morgan says. “If anyone was feeling down, someone would be there to pick them up. But there were games to focus on. People spoke about it less. All that is left to do is your job playing football.

“In house, we’ve always been the same, through the highs and lows. There is still a core of players and staff here who have been through it all. Everyone who comes and joins us buys into what the club is about.

“We’ve built something that feels permanent. That spirit has been the core principle that has brought us to where we are today. But we’ll never forget The Boss. It’s amazing when the fans chant his name. The boys think about him all the time when we’re playing. We know what he would want from us.”

Top continues to emulate his father’s generosity. The players and staff were taken to Monaco at the end of last season and the club once again hosted its annual pre-season BBQ at Belvoir Drive in July, to which the entire staff, from cleaners to first-team manager, were invited along with their families. Just like his father, Top visits the first-team dressing room before each home game, kicking stray balls back to the players during their pre-warm-up two-touch game. A new £100 million training ground is due to be completed next year. There are plans to expand the King Power’s capacity to 40,000. Under Rodgers the future bristles with potential. Incredibly, a year on, Leicester City appear stronger.

On Sunday, the club will come together once more. After a private ceremony for club staff, the Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Memorial Garden will open to the public on the site of the accident.

Floral tributes will be composted to support the growth of the garden. The topiary garden will depict a fox and an elephant to represent Leicester City and Khun Vichai’s Buddhist faith. A fountain with eight water jets, to represent Khun Vichai’s lucky number, will form the centre piece of the garden.

“Vichai had a dream,” begins the Leicester faithful’s chant. “None of it would have happened without him,” King says. “I played for the club before they took over and it was a far cry from the club it is today. A lot of owners buy clubs with ambition but to make it happen shows what good people they are. When you go through adversity it does make you stronger. The club has come together even more. What happened was bigger than football.

“There’s a driving force behind them this season to try and do something special. Not just because it’s the job, or that’s what you want to do as a player, but to remember Vichai’s legacy.”
 
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Premier League

P Pld Pts
Liverpool 16  46
Leicester 16  38
Manchester City 16  32
Chelsea 16  29
Manchester Utd 16  24
Wolves 16  24
Tottenham  16  23
Sheffield Utd 16  22
Arsenal 16  22
10 Palace 16  22
11 Newcastle Utd 16  22
12 Brighton 16  19
13 Burnley 16  18
14 Everton 16  17
15 Bournemouth 16  16
16 West Ham Utd 16  16
17 Aston Villa 16  15
18 Southampton 16  15
19 Norwich City 16  11
20 Watford 16  9
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