Leicester City players vow to ‘honor’ club owner in first Premier League fixture since tragedy
Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy says he and his teammates are determined to pay tribute to late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in their first fixture since the tragic helicopter accident which claimed the lives of five people.
Srivaddhanaprabha, the Thai billionaire who purchased Leicester City in 2010 and oversaw the club’s unlikely ascent from the English lower leagues to the Premier League crown, died along with four others after his private helicopter experienced difficulties moments after taking off from inside the King Power Stadium on October 27.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, manager Claude Puel has said that this weekend’s result against Cardiff City is “not important,” suggesting instead that a performance to honor their fallen owner would be an appropriate tribute.
Vardy, however, maintains that three points against relegation-threatened Cardiff is the goal and would be a fitting token of the player’s appreciation for Srivaddhanaprabha.
“For us as players, we want to get a positive result,” Vardy told Sky Sports News.
“We need to make sure we go out there and honor his name and put in a performance that will hopefully get the win. We all spoke about wanting to play. It's what Vichai would have wanted and that's what we are going to do.
“It's going to be tough and very emotional and what the lads wanted to do was play this game and honor the man himself.”
Leicester City’s Carabao Cup fixture with Southampton which was scheduled for last Tuesday was postponed in the wake of the incident. Each of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures will be preceded by a minute’s silence, while players will wear black armbands in memory of the Thai.
A memorial is taking place outside the club’s stadium, with several players paying tribute to Srivaddhanaprabha in recent days. Claudio Ranieri, the Italian manager who masterminded Leicester’s Premier League triumph three years ago, was among the mourners on Thursday morning.
“It's been the hardest week of everyone's lives," continued Vardy. "It'll be massively important we attend. We are a close-knit group and one big family and one of the main reasons for that is Vichai – so it's massively important.
"He wasn't just a chairman, he literally was part of your extended family.”