Sven-Goran Eriksson has hailed “very, very generous” Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and the “incredible” impact he has had on the club following the tragic helicopter crash on Saturday night.
The helicopter of Srivaddhanaprabha came down outside the King Power Stadium shortly after the Premier League game against West Ham.
It is believed the owner was on board, but an official statement on passengers has yet to be released.
Eriksson was the first manager to be hired by the Thai billionaire after he took charge of the club in 2010, and the Swede told BBC Radio Five Live: “It’s frightening news.
“I saw the news, of course, this morning and I still hope it’s not true and he’s alive of course.
“I knew the whole family and the father. When you know him, as I did, you knew he’s a very, very generous man – to the players, the staff and people working for him – with the fans and the community. He’s an extremely generous man.”
Srivaddhanaprabha regularly gives supporters free beer and pies at matches to mark special occasions and makes donations to the city hospital. He even treated the 2016 title-winning squad to a fleet of blue BMW’s.
“With the fans and the community, I know him, he was extremely generous,” said Eriksson. “Not only paying salaries and things like that. Out shopping in London and he paid for jackets and things like that. Very, very generous generally. A generous man.”
Eriksson’s appointment came following Leicester’s promotion as League One champions, but even then at that early stage, Srivaddhanaprabha had his sights set on taking the club to the Premier League.
“What he has done for Leicester is incredible,” said Eriksson. “He made the club from second division up to first division winning and made the club a big Premier League club today, fantastic.
“He was always there with his family and son “Top” (Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha) and his wife. He was at every game during my time there and took part and were at training and talked to the manager and the players.
“When I came to the club he said he wanted to make it a big Premier League club, there were no secrets about that.
“He sacked me but he did well, he was right to do it. I bought the wrong players and I failed and it was fair of him to do it.”
Sunday’s Women’s Championship clash between Leicester and Manchester United at the King Power Stadium was called off following the crash. The ladies reserve league match against Derby was also postponed.
It is believed no decision has been made yet as to whether Leicester’s EFL Cup game against Southampton at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night will go ahead.