Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha named as new Leicester City chairman to succeed his father the late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

8 Aug

Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha has been named the new chairman of Leicester City.

Khun Aiyawatt succeeds his father, the late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who was killed in a helicopter crash outside Leicester’s King Power Stadium last October.

“It is a privilege to become the next chairman of this great club and to lead the Leicester City family into the next chapter of what has already been an extraordinary story,” Srivaddhanaprabha, 34, said in a statement on the official Foxes website.

Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha has succeeded his late father as Leicester City chairman
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“It feels like there is so much more to come.

“As we approach the start of the new season, there is genuine excitement and positivity among our supporters and in the football community about what we can achieve.

“We have an exciting young squad, an outstanding manager and backroom staff, and a well-structured and sustainable off-pitch operation, all backed by an energised and engaged supporter base.

“Next summer, our football operation will move to a brand new training facility that will be among the best in Europe, while the process of consulting supporters and our community on the proposed expansion of King Power Stadium has also begun.

Jamie Vardy comforts Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha as they pay their respects at the sea of tributes to the victims of the crash at Leicester City
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“These developments were all part of my father’s dream for Leicester City.

“It’s a dream that belongs to all of us now and it will be my honour to lead the club as we pursue that dream together.”

Srivaddhanaprabha’s previous role of vice-chairman will be filled by his brother Apichet, who retains his position on the club’s board alongside Liu Shilai and Susan Whelan.

Harry Maguire wants Manchester United transfer and had gentleman’s agreement with Leicester about leaving

1 Aug

Harry Maguire and the Leicester City hierarchy had a gentleman’s agreement that would allow him to leave if the club received a fair offer.

The Premier League club appear determined to make Maguire the most expensive defender in the world by asking for £90million, though the player is thought to be unhappy that several offers from Manchester United have already been rejected, including one worth more than £70m.

Leicester are holding out for around £90m for Maguire and Man United have until 8 August to get the deal done
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The Times write an agreement struck between player and their late owner last year complicates the protracted transfer and it is unclear whether Leicester are willing to honour that agreement.

The England international has returned to training after a brief illness and is available to play in his club’s final pre-season friendly, against Atlanta, at the King Power Stadium.

“The player has been first class with his attitude in his training,” manager Brendan Rodgers said, adding: “The club hasn’t changed its stance in terms of the valuation for the player.”

Virgil van Dijk is currently the most expensive defender, with Liverpool signing him from Southampton for £75m in January and former England manager Sam Allardyce believes Maguire would greatly improve at Man United, just like Van Dijk has done at Anfield.

Sam Allardyce thinks Maguire joining Man United would take him to another level like Van Dijk when he joined Liverpool

“He’s similar to Van Dijk, he’s very good on the ball and he comes out from the back,” he told talkSPORT.

“Van Dijk looks a little better since he’s gone to Liverpool and I think it would take Maguire to another level going to Manchester United and bring more out of him.

“It would be a massive move for him, but Leicester, they don’t have to sell.

“They’ve always hung out for the fee they want and got there in the end, so if United don’t have another alternative, I’m afraid they might have to pay a bit more than they expected.”

Leicester City news: Players pay tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha on late chairman’s 61st birthday

4 Apr

Leicester City and the club’s players have paid tribute to their late chairman and owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha on what would have been his 61st birthday.

April 4 marks Srivaddhanaprabha’s first birthday since his tragic death last October.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people killed in a helicopter crash

Harry Maguire, Jamie Vardy and Kasper Schmeichel were among the Leicester stars who sent their best wishes on Twitter.

Schmeichel wrote: “Today would have marked the 61st birthday of our beloved chairman.

“What this great man did for this club and this city and for football in general will never be forgotten. Thinking of his family today.”

Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people killed in a helicopter crash outside Leicester’s King Power Stadium on October 27 after the Foxes’ Premier League match with West Ham.

The club celebrated his birthday during last Saturday’s home match against Bournemouth by handing out free beer and cupcakes to supporters.

The Thai owner had taken the club from League One to Premier League champions and was a popular figure around the city.

Here is how the club and players wished Srivaddhanaprabha happy birthday on Thursday.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha tragedy still being felt at Leicester, claims former boss Craig Shakespeare

29 Jan

Former Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare believes the club are still recovering from the loss of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

The Foxes owner was among five people killed in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium following the Premier League match against West Ham in October.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died in a helicopter crash three months ago

He will be remembered as the man who made Leicester’s incredible title-winning season possible, but also as a kind and caring person who shared a special relationship with the club.

And Shakespeare, who was Leicester manager during the Thai businessman’s ownership, suggests the club are still struggling to cope with the news.

“I’d been in the helicopter with him and I’d been in separately. It was very hard,” he told talkSPORT.

“He used to come into the changing room before games. It never felt intrusive; it always felt like he was more concerned and wishing you well. It felt the right thing to do.

“The players would welcome him into the changing room before or after games because the relationship he had with the players and the staff was a special one.

“So I think it’s hit everyone hard and I think it’s still having the repercussions now.”

Craig Shakespeare knew the Thai businessman well

Leicester have lost seven of their last ten games amid rising pressure on manager Claude Puel.

Next up, they travel to Anfield to face league leaders Liverpool on Wednesday night.

Kasper Schmeichel opens up about death of Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in emotional interview

28 Dec

Kasper Schmeichel has given an emotional interview reflecting on the death of Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people to be killed in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium on October 27 after the Foxes’ Premier League match with West Ham.

Kasper Schmeichel and the late Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Schmeichel witnessed the crashed and has told Sky Sports about how helpless he felt.

“Unfortunately, [I remember] everything. Every little detail,” the goalkeeper said. “I had family over from Denmark and I gave them a little look around the stadium and the pitch – the helicopter was always a big attraction.

“We waved him off, waved him goodbye, and we kind of just watched him go up. I’d seen him do it hundreds of times – it was a kind of ritual thing in the end.

“You could just tell something was wrong, because it doesn’t normally stand still like that. And what unfolded, unfolded.

Srivaddhanaprabha was one of the five people to be killed in the helicopter crash

“I ran straight out of the tunnel and round to that side of the stadium. People over that side of the stadium hadn’t seen what had gone on. So, I came sprinting out, shouting for people to call the police, one of our security guards saw me, ran after me.

“We managed to get close – our security guard got closer than I did, and he (the security guard) tried to get in and do something.

“But it was very evident from the heat that there was nothing anyone would be able to do. And yeah – it was horrifying, horrible, to be that helpless.”

Kasper Schmeichel has opened up about the death of the Leicester City owner

Schmeichel has been a Leicester City player since 2011, a year after Srivaddhanaprabha bought the club, and played a key role in their extraordinary Premier League title win in the 2015/16 season.

The 32-year-old reflected on how at home Vichai, and his family, made him feel at Leicester.

He said: “If you look back at my career, I’ve had to constantly prove myself and be compared to others. Constantly having to prove I am good enough.

“Then came a guy who said he believed in me from the first minute. He said he’d seen me play and just gave me the platform.

“I’ve been here nearly eight years now and that says a lot about the stability here and the belief he had in me. Having gone from nine clubs to just being at one club, I was searching for someone who believed in me – he and his family did.

“It’s very easy to be caught up in this world of money, fame and fortune. He is a guy who has done all that and doesn’t care about it. He only cares about helping people.

“It just speaks to the man that he was. He didn’t need to buy a football club. That’s never a good business investment.

“He wasn’t in it to make money, he wanted to give. He had a passion for the club, for Leicester, all that he did for the city – the donations to the hospital and such.

“It was ownership done properly. If you’re a fan of any club, that’s the type of owner you want, the type of owner you dream of having.”

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and son Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha hold the Premier League Trophy

Schmeichel also told Sky Sports a story about how Srivaddhanaprabha made a big impression on him early on in his Leicester career.

“When I broke my foot I had to go down to London and we were playing against Manchester City in our first season back in the Premier League,” he said.

“He came to the hospital, picked me up and flew me back in his helicopter to Leicester to watch the game with him. He didn’t have to do that, but he did.”

Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s helicopter crashed due to pedal mechanism disconnecting, investigation says

6 Dec

The helicopter which crashed killing Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others spun out of control after a pedal mechanism became disconnected, investigators have said.

A report from the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) found cockpit pedals had disconnected from the tail rotor.

Srivaddhanaprabha’s death shook the football world

The AW169 aircraft then turned uncontrollably to the right before crashing near the King Power Stadium.

The AAIB added its inquiries into the crash, which happened on October 27 were ongoing.

Srivaddhanaprabha, two members of his staff Nusara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, and pilots Eric Swaffer and Roza Lechowicz were killed in the crash.

A public memorial for Mr Swaffer and Ms Lechowicz – who police said was a passenger at the time of the crash – is taking place at Guildford Cathedral on Thursday.

An inspection of the crash site found parts of a mechanism linking the pilot’s pedals to the tail rotor had become disconnected and there was a “build-up of black grease” on one component.

The failure of the system led to the pitch of the tail rotor blades being changed “until they reached the physical limit of their travel”.

The report read: “The initiating cause and exact sequence of the failure that resulted in the loss of tail rotor control is being investigated as a priority.”

Footage of the aircraft’s last flight, taken from inside the ground, shows the AgustaWestland AW169 flying normally for about 40 seconds before it pauses and goes into a downward spin.

Srivaddhanaprabha would arrive and depart Leicester home matches on his helicopter

The helicopter reached an altitude of approximately 430ft before crashing to the ground.

It was engulfed in a post-impact fire and all five people on board were killed.

The European Aviation Safety Agency ordered safety checks to be carried out on the tail rotors of AW169s and similar models following the crash.

At the pilots’ memorial service in Guildford, Ms Lechowicz’s sister Kate paid tribute to the pair adding that both had been excited at the prospect of becoming aunt and uncle to her son who is now 18 days old.

She said: “They were just an incredible couple and amazing pilots”.

“[They were] always there for their family and friends, ready to fly across the globe to be with us or anyone who would need it.”

“I wish you could meet each other. We have already applied for his passport, as you wished, so he can fly before he walks.

“You have touched the lives of every single person you have met… I know I am not alone in feeling a part of me is missing that never can be replaced.”

Srivaddhanaprabha helped Leicester to their incredible Premier League title win in the 2015/16 season

Prince William and Kate Middleton pay tribute to victims of Leicester helicopter crash

28 Nov

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to the King Power Stadium to pay tribute to Leicester’s owner, following in the footsteps of thousands of the club’s fans.

William and Kate were left visibly moved on their emotional visit to the city following the helicopter crash which claimed the life of billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others.

William and Kate paid tribute at the King Power

After sharing a few minutes with the owner’s family, his son Aiyawatt, wife Aimon and daughter Aroonroong, the Cambridges left a bouquet of flowers and a condolence card among a sea of other floral tributes close to the crash site.

During their time at the club they met charities and fans who benefited from Vichai’s generosity and William told one charity boss “he was the gel, the glue of the community”.

He added: “If only more owners took his example of how to benefit the community, be involved.”

The couple greeted locals at the ground

The duke, who is president of the FA, had known the Leicester owner over the past five years and had caught up with him at Kensington Palace, to discuss his charity work and football, just a few weeks before the crash in October.

The other four victims were club employees Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz, who was also a professional pilot.

In a speech to senior officials and players from the club, including the club’s star striker and England forward Jamie Vardy, William highlighted Leicester City’s incredible Premier League triumph.

William prepares for a selfie

He said: “In 2016, this football club did something that should have been impossible.

“Against odds that are now the stuff of legend, you took on the Goliaths and superstars of the world’s most famous football league.

“In powering past them all to win the title, you wrote the best underdog story in the history of modern sport.

“And when the man that led this club to victory died so tragically, the people of this city revealed with their outpouring of admiration, that they too shared much of the character that was so central to who Vichai was.

“In a time when our football clubs have become huge global enterprises, you came out to thank Vichai for making the fans the true owners of this club.

“And you thanked him for investing the rewards of success in the future of Leicester City.”

“You showed that community mattered to him and to you all.”

William, a former air ambulance helicopter pilot, revealed he had flown in the past with Mr Swaffer, describing the experience as a “privilege”.

Even though he no longer flies professionally the duke still takes to the skies to keep up his flying hours, and flew with Mr Swaffer a few months before the crash.

The Cambridges also spoke at length with the players and manager Claude Puel

After leaving their floral tribute William and Kate met some of the dozens of volunteers who helped to move the floral tributes from outside the football club’s stadium to a nearby site.

Leicester City season ticket holder Kev Butler, 51, said: “There are clubs with load and loads of money but it’s not about money, it’s about how you treat the fans, how you look after the fans, so these people have been superb.”

He and former colleague Paul Groves, 67, showed the duchess their commemorative black and white scarves, which read Mr Chairman.

Mr Butler said about Kate: “She was just sharing the compassion with everyone.

“She seemed to feel it, she looked quite emotional, she felt what we were feeling.”

Leicester fan banned from King Power Stadium for three months after jumping barrier to hug Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s grieving son

17 Nov

Leicester City supporter Tom Merry has been banned from the King Power Stadium for three months after entering the pitch to hug Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s son during his lap of thanks.

Aiyawatt ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha walked around the ground to show his appreciation to the club’s fans in the wake of his father’s death last month before being hugged by one man who invaded the pitch to console him.

‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha thanked the Leicester faithful with their players

The moment came at the end of the Foxes’ first home match – a 0-0 draw with Burnley – since the helicopter crash in which Vichai and four others perished on October 28.

Self-employed carpenter and joiner Tom, of Newfoundpool, Leicester left his friends and family in the stand to hug ‘Top’, who reciprocated his embrace.

Security staff moved in and took him to a holding cell, before the club wrote to inform him he had been banned from attending the stadium for three months.

Merry told the Leicester Mercury newspaper: “I couldn’t help myself, I just wanted to give Top a cuddle.”

The season-ticket holder will be allowed back at the King Power in the New Year.

Leicester City helicopter investigators focus on tail rotors to determine reason for crash

14 Nov

Forensic experts examining the helicopter crash which killed Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four other people are focusing their investigation on the tail rotor.

Srivaddhanaprabha, employees Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner, Izabela Roza Lechowicz – who was also a professional pilot – were all killed in the accident on October 27.

The crash tragically claimed the lives of five people

Before the AW169 helicopter spun out of control it turned right, despite the pilot’s left pedal command, according to a preliminary report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

The AAIB stated that the ’cause of the apparent loss of yaw control has yet to be determined’ but revealed that ‘investigation of the tail rotor system is being carried out as a priority’.

Footage of the incident appears to show that sections of the tail rotor may have fallen off in mid-air.

The aircraft reached an altitude of approximately 430ft before plummeting to the ground near Leicester City’s King Power Stadium, the AAIB said.

Tributes poured in from across the glove for the former Foxes chairman

It was ‘rapidly engulfed in an intense post-impact fire’ and all five people on board were killed.

Following the crash, the European Aviation Safety Agency ordered that safety checks should be carried out on the tail rotors of AW169 helicopters and similar models.

The first flight of the day for the helicopter involved in the crash was from Fairoaks Airport in Surrey, with one pilot and one passenger.

Three additional passengers boarded at London Heliport in Battersea, south London, before the helicopter flew to Leicester City’s Belvoir Drive training ground in Leicester, where it was shut down.

Premier League round-up: Leicester say goodbye to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and Newcastle seal back-to-back wins

10 Nov

It was an emotional afternoon for Leicester City in their first home game since the death of chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Here’s what happened in that game and the rest of the 3pm kick-offs in the Premier League on Saturday…

Leicester 0-0 Burnley

Leicester paid tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Leicester were held at home by Burnley in an emotional first game at the King Power Stadium since the death of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Fans, players and staff remembered the Foxes’ late chairman before, during and after the 0-0 draw with the Clarets on Saturday.

A host of tributes were paid following the helicopter crash which claimed his life, and that of four others, two weeks ago.

On the pitch, Rachid Ghezzal hit the bar and Matt Lowton cleared off the line from Jamie Vardy as the Foxes, who dominated for long spells and remain 10th, tried without success to find a winner.

Newcastle 2-1 Bournemouth

Salomon Rondon bagged a brace at St James’ Park

Salomon Rondon’s first-half double handed Newcastle back-to-back Premier League victories as they scrapped all the way to fend off a Bournemouth fightback.

Loan signing Rondon scored his first league goal for the Magpies after seven minutes and then doubled his tally with a bullet header five minutes before the break to set the stage for a 2-1 win.

Jefferson Lerma reduced the deficit six minutes into first-half stoppage time after Adam Smith had been carried off on a stretcher, but despite mounting a concerted effort after the break, that was as good as it got in front of a crowd of 49,266 at St James’ Park.

Huddersfield 1-1 West Ham

Felipe Anderson grabbed his third goal in two games

Felipe Anderson fired a second-half equaliser to rescue West Ham a point in a thrilling 1-1 Premier League draw at Huddersfield.

Anderson notched his third goal in two games by smashing home a 74th-minute rebound after Alex Pritchard’s first of the season had given Huddersfield a half-time lead.

Huddersfield played some of their best football of the season in the first period when they twice hit the woodwork and will be disappointed not to have clinched the back-to-back Premier League wins they craved.

Southampton 1-1 Watford

Watford left it late to seal a point

Southampton failed to ease the pressure on manager Mark Hughes as their winless run stretched to eight games following a controversial 1-1 draw with Watford.

Hughes looked set to taste Premier League success for the first time in more than two months thanks to Manolo Gabbiadini’s first-half finish.

But Jose Holebas equalised with a deflected strike nine minutes from time to earn a deserved point for the Hornets.