Alan Shearer gets it spot on with tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in latest column

Legends of Football

The news that everyone had been fearing was confirmed on Sunday evening: Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, along with four other people, had died in the Leicester City helicopter crash.

The 60-year-old, who bought Leicester for £39 million in 2010, tragically passed away on Saturday evening when his helicopter crashed outside the King Power Stadium.

The incident happened around an hour after Leicester’s 1-1 draw against West Ham, which was broadcast live on BT Sport.

Srivaddhanaprabha died along with two members of his staff - Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare - plus pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz.

Swaffer, an eyewitness claims, managed to avoid more people being caught up in the accident by steering the helicopter into the corner of a car park.

Thousands of members of the public have paid their respects to those who died by leaving scarves, flags and flowers at the King Power Stadium.

Leicester’s EFL Cup clash against Southampton, which was scheduled to take place on Tuesday, has been postponed.

Alan Shearer has dedicated his latest column for The Sun to Srivaddhanaprabha - and perfectly summed up the Thai billionaire’s ownership of Leicester.

“If there was ever a model for how to do things right as an owner of a football club, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha has shown the way,” the Premier League’s all-time leading goalscorer wrote.

Leicester City v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League

“Not only did Srivaddhanaprabha make them an established Premier League club — he gave fans the greatest time of their lives when they won the title in 2016.

“We all remember the scenes from the parade here in England, as well as the one in Thailand and Srivaddhanaprabha oversaw all that — he gave that to Leicester.

“Even since then, he has kept Leicester towards the top end of the Premier League.

“And I think the fact that players like Jamie Vardy and Kasper Schmeichel have stayed at the club says a lot about the owner.

“There just seemed to be an amazing warmth towards him from both the players and supporters.

“Unlike many other owners of football clubs, he understood the fans and he gave hope to a community."


Shearer goes on to point out that, unlike other owners at certain football clubs, Srivaddhanaprabha was conscious about the local community. Making money wasn’t his only concern.

“At Leicester, this was a billionaire from Thailand who came in and saw a business opportunity — but he went about things in the right way,” Shearer continued.

“He invested heavily in the football club and was about to spend another £100m on a new training ground.

“But he also invested in the community. He gave his own money to local hospitals and charities.

“And he showed great generosity towards his supporters, including giving out free beers, scarves and season tickets.

“He formed a special bond with those fans which is so rare in modern football, especially from a foreign owner.”


Shearer is spot on, hence the outpouring of emotion from Leicester fans and players in the aftermath of Saturday’s tragedy.

Kasper Schmeichel’s touching tweet, for example, typified the feelings of everybody associated with the football club.

Srivaddhanaprabha will always be remembered by football fans as the owner who helped Leicester achieve the seemingly impossible.

However, the fact he meant so much more than that to Leicester and the local community speaks volumes of the man.

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