Paying Tribute To Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Who Gave Leicester City Everything

On October 28, 2018, the world mourned an incredibly kind and generous man who allowed football fans to dream again.

Leicester City confirmed that chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Thai billionaire businessman who cleared the club's debts and helped them win promotion to the top flight four years later, was among five people killed in a helicopter crash following the team's game against West Ham in October.

The club released a statement on Twitter and confirmed that none of the five passengers survived the crash - one of the most tragic events in sporting history.

"It is with the deepest regret and a collective broken heart that we confirm our chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was among those to have tragically lost their lives on Saturday evening when a helicopter carrying him and four other people crashed outside King Power Stadium.

"None of the five people on board survived."

Image: PA
Image: PA

Srivaddhanaprabha helped mastermind one of the greatest sporting stories of any generation, but he also gave the people of Leicester hope and goodwill in an uncertain time.

He bought Leicester in 2010 when they were struggling in the Championship and in turn, cleared their debts by loaning the club more than £100 million in the first four years.

Srivaddhanaprabha would not only pump money into the football club, but his generosity toward the city of Leicester was nothing short of incredible

He donated £1 million to Leicester University's medical department, and another £1 million to Leicester Royal Infirmary. He would also hand over £2m towards a new children's hospital - and it didn't stop there.

He memorably gave Leicester fans free beer, free scarves and free cakes during the famous Premier League title win in 2015/16 and often organised free bus travel to away games.

Not to mention the fact he bought every player a new car after they won the Premier League.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Away from his magnificent and unselfish efforts off the pitch, Srivaddhanaprabha would make history on it in the most incredible way possible.

In 2008, the club were relegated into the third tier for the first time in their history.

Eight years on, thanks to the help of Vichai, Claudio Ranieri and the board, Leicester can recall the most romantic title win of all time.

He said at the start of his reign that the club would spend £180 million to break into the top five within three years, and in just two years, spending around £77 million on transfers, the club would eventually become the best team in the country.

The likes of Wes Morgan, N'Golo Kante Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez were pivotal in that memorable season and after a 3-1 victory against Everton at the King Power, the above players surrounded Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha as he lifted the biggest prize in England.

It was an unforgettable moment for millions around the world.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Image: PA
Image: PA

Image: PA
Image: PA

People from around the world have paid tribute to the 60-year-old, and many have said the same thing. He was a good man - a generous man.

Leicester City's title winning goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel paid an emotional tribute to Srivaddhanaprabha last night, putting into words how much he meant to not only him, but the club itself.

"Dear Mr Chairman, I cannot believe this is happening. I am so totally devastated and heartbroken. I just cannot believe what I saw last night. It just doesn't seem real." Schmeichel wrote.

"It is difficult to put into words how much you have meant to this football club and to the city of Leicester. We all know about the investment in the football club you and your family have made. But this is about so much more. You cared so deeply for not just the club but for the entire community. Your endless contribution to Leicester's hospitals and charities will never be forgotten. You went above and beyond in every aspect.

"Never have I ever come across a man like you. So hard working, so dedicated, so passionate, so kind and so generous in the extreme. You had time for everyone. You touched everyone. It didn't matter who it was, you had time for them. I always admired you as a leader, as a father and as a man.

"You changed football. Forever! You gave hope to everyone that the impossible was possible, not just to our fans, but to fans all over the world in any sport! Not many people have done that.

"When you signed me back in 2011 you said to me we would be in the Champions League within six years and we would do great things. You inspired me and I believed in you. You made me feel like nothing was impossible. Without and your family, all this, everything we did together, everything we achieved would never have happened. You gave me experiences that only happen in fantasy.

"You literally made dreams come true."

Jack Kenmare

Jack Kenmare is a writer at SPORTbible. He's interviewed some huge names in the world of sport, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pele, Carles Puyol and Tim Henman. He dabbles in all things sport, but football is his biggest passion. He was once hit in the head by a wayward strike from Nicky Butt and lived to tell the tale.

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