British royals come to comfort Vichai’s family and Leicester fans one month after his death but the legend of Leicester City’s feat and the links to ‘King Power’ will never die
The low key but touching ceremony this week, which saw Britain’s future King console the Thai family of Thai tycoon Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, was world news for a day or two. However, the legend and story of Vichai and the ‘King Power’, including its links the fate of an old but well known King of England, which led to Leicester City winning the Premiership at 5,000 odds will never be quite forgotten. The Thai man has become a sports legend as well as one of Thailand’s most successful businessman. It is a story which will run and run.
The British Royal family played a key role this week in honouring the Thai Chairman and owner of Leicester City football club who died last month in a shocking helicopter crash just moments after departing the club’s stadium following a premier league clash in which has side had snatched a draw in the last minute of play against West Ham at the end of October. This week the 2nd in line to the British throne came to pay his respects with his wife and to comfort the man’s Thai family as well as loyal Leicester City fans who lost a great hero in a tragic accident.
The British Prince of Wales praised the popular Thai tycoon, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who lost his life in the horrific helicopter accident that Saturday minutes after the Saturday fixture had ended. The 60 year old, along with his guests and the crew of the aircraft, lost their lives when the helicopter left it hurtling to the ground.
Prince William is a big soccer fan and FA President
The Prince of Wales is an ardent soccer fan and attended the event in his capacity as President of the Football Association of England. The prince and his wife are reported to have known Vichai from his participation in the sport and the Premier league. The Thai tycoon has in fact become a legend of British football after he took a famous but impoverished soccer club used to playing at the second or third tier of British football for many years and transformed it first into a Premier league club and then astonishingly, at 5,000 to 1 odds winning the Premier league itself with a team of players without the superstar firepower of the big clubs.
Duke and Duchess met Vichai’s family including his wife, son and daughter as well as the public
The Duke and Duchess and Cambridge met with the charismatic Chairman’s son, wife and daughter at the poignant ceremony to remember those who died in the accident surrounded by Leicester City scarves and flags with some UK and Thai flags also. The royal couple solemnly laid flowers at the spot with bowed heads. It was the Princess who personally laid the white teardrop flower on the ground near the spot where the helicopter crashed. The prince and princess were presented with a huge vista of flowers dedicated to the the Thai owner of the club. A large portrait of Vichai was installed at the head of the dedication with flowers constructed into two words: ‘The Boss’. The portrait of the boss showed him in an open shirt and smiling. The note, signed personally and handwritten by the prince and princess was heartfelt and personal. ‘To Vichai, and all those who have lost their lives in this terrible tragedy, you will be sadly missed. Our sincere condolences to the city.’
Warm and sincere remarks by UK Prince in praise of a Thai businessman and genuine legend
The prince in his statement was very sincere and full in his praise for the Thai man who the people of the ancient city of Leicester in England have taken to their own hearts in death as they did in life. The prince said that he and his wife knew him as man who cared ‘deeply’ for his family and the community. He accepted that he was a man of ‘wealth’ but pointed out that this had not dissuaded the Thai entrepreneur from being part of the wider community. He said the Vichai was a man who believed in ‘giving back’. The Prince went on to praise the city of Leicester itself and the ardent supporters of the football club. ‘Catherine and I also wanted to come to Leicester because of what the people of this city, and fans of this club, have shown us all over the last few weeks.’
Prince expresses admiration for the former Leicester City boss who made sporting history
He then alluded to the story of Vichai and the success he brought to Leicester as a club and in the remarkable triumph of 2016. It is still a story that enthralls people, not only in the UK and Thailand, but worldwide. One that will be told over and over again. The Prince told the story in his own words: ‘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,’ he said. And who can gainsay that? The story of Vichai’s journey with Leicester City FC and the 2016 Premiership is destined to be told over and over again and to use the words of Prince William himself this week, become ‘the stuff of Legend’. The Prince ascribed the success achieved in 2016 to the character of Vichai. Srivaddhanaprabha. He said his comments expressed not only his admiration personally by that of the people of Leicester.
Low key but touching ceremony in front of world media but this story will not be forgotten
It was a heartfelt and enthusiastic tribute in front of the Thai man’s family and friends in Leicester. The royal couple went on to meet the current manager of Leicester City football club, Claude Puel and group of the Leicester City players. These included the team’s captain Wes Morgan, the goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and of course James Vardy who also plays for the English national team as a striker. All the players wore smart grey suits and black ties. Many of the soccer stars chatted at length with Catherine, Princess of Wales, who shook all their hands. The ease at which the royal couple interacted with the manager and players and the length of time they spent was striking. Hundreds of people for Leicester had gathered to witness the low key event. However, the event was attended by media and pictures beamed all over the world with the dominant sound being the whirring of press cameras taking photographs.
It was a day for remembering legends
The Duke and Duchess later visited the University of Leicester where they meet representatives of local initiatives and community organisations that were supported by Vichai while Chairman of Leicester City FC. The future King and Queen of England was very impressive this week in Leicester. The couple spend a long time engaging with every member of the public who came to pay their respects. The beautiful couple answered questions about their young children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and the young Prince Louis while making sure to include Vichai’s family in the exchanges. Indeed Prince William would know what it is to lose a parent in an accident and is loved by the British public because of Princess Diana. It was a day for praising legends, remembering legends and it was difficult to not to observe that perhaps here is another legend in the making.
Vichai’s contribution to football in the UK, Thailand and worlwide will never be forgotten
An investigation into the helicopter accident is being carried out by Britain’s aviation authorities. It is believed that air accident investigators are focusing their attention on the tail section of the AgustaWestland helicopter which fell from the sky on the evening of the 27th October. The horrific helicopter crash on that Saturday may have claimed claimed the life of the popular Thai tycoon but what he did for football, both in Thailand, in the United Kingdom and globally, will not be forgotten. Back in the Premier League 2014-2015 season, Leicester City had a very poor record and even bleaker prospects, despite a century-long history. The soccer team had won fewer than one fourth of its total games that season. They were lucky to survive relegation that season.
Up to 2016 – it was just another story of a UK club with another foreign owner facing reality
The club had already under the leadership of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha for several years then. They had managed to get promoted and the club had a brand new stadium but looked like they had reached their potential and were to be denied by the big spending power of richer clubs with even wealthier backers involving consortiums than Vichai. For the 2016 season, the club was an extremely unlikely contender for the championship. Odds were quoted for winning the title at about 5000 to 1. At those odds it barely mattered to any punter but perhaps the most subjective of fans. What happened next made sporting history, hardly likely to ever be repeated.
King Power linked with Foxes winning streak as historical event seemes to boost the team
The Foxes, the nickname of Leicester FC, went on an incredible winning streak, defeating English football giants and ultimately concluding the greatest fairy tale of modern football by snatching the championship title in style and well before the season ended. In fact, the club’s success was so historic and perhaps unbelievable that has provoked speculation and fantasy theories. You see it coincided with another historical event in the ancient city of Leicester. The winning streak of the foxes that was to bring them the championship coincided with the reburial of a controversial and well known former King of England in the city’s cathedral at this time. It did not escape many observers that the club’s new stadium had been names ‘King Power’ was also the name of Vicahi’s business in Thailand, the source of his wealth. The story is a strange one.
Links with Richard III’s bones and ‘fossils’ being rediscovered are spooky as was the old King
Many people and indeed have invoked the historical figure to explain it the sudden rise of Leicester City to the top to the 15th century King Richard III. In 1485, King Richard III was killed in a fierce battle near Leicester. The King of England fell at the Battle of Bosworth and wa attacked by a cohort of troops and killed on the spot. It left the throne of England In the hands of what many had considered up to that time as a usurper. Henry VII became King of England on the field near Leicester. The body of the old king was tied in an undignified manner and jeered most of the way back to Leicester City by his enemies who were triumphant. It was then hastily put on display at Leicester to prove that the king was dead before being quickly buried by the new King, the father of the famous Henry VIII. It was not until more than five centuries later that the body of King Richard III was discovered under a car park in the city of Leicester. And this was a lot more than just archaeological speculation. DNA from the bones were taken and the skull reconstructed with a face. The results were startling and shown on various TV programmes. The face of the king matched known 15th portraits of the king. Scientists even solved a historical argument by verifying William Shakespeare’s claim that the king had hunch in his back. Shakespeare’s opinion on the old king was, a product of the historical times, not a good one, suggesting supernatural forces. Also, more curiously, one of he nicknames for Leicester FC before the ‘foxes’ become popular in the early 20th century was ‘the fossils’.
Old King’s burial was the period when Leicester City FC began their incredible rally of wins
The old king was reburied with all the rights accorded to a King of England with a public procession 2016. Military honour guards, clergy and officials were present. The old king was acknowledged for the first time since his violent and hasty demise in 1485. What was interesting, however, was that the reburial ceremony has been claimed to have re-energized and rejuvenated the city’s football team. The team were on the verge of relegation at the point. They had only 19 points from 29 games at that point in the season. From that day onwards the team managed to win over 30 matches. They achieved 22 points from their last 9 games and went on to win 23 games in the next season collecting over 81 points including draws winning the title from Arsenal comfortably by 10 points. The Foxes’ unprecedented performance does indeed appear to have started at that moment. Whether it was the King Power from Thailand or the ancient reburied monarch, Leicester City fans did not know. However they did not something was happening and a portrait of the old king was erected near the new stadium.
Thai business leader sincerely praised by the UK’s future King as a legend in his role as FA chief
The visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales this week to pay tribute to the Thai leader of Leicester City was fitting and also surreal. The Prince himself confirmed that the Thai man had achieved sporting immortality. The young man who someday will himself become King of England was a fitting personality to acclim the legend.
Before the unexpected rise of Leicester City, only big spenders in Premier League in particular and European football leagues in general could compete for the top spot. But Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, focusing on patience and efficiency instead of lashing out on expensive players, disrupted forever that kind of mindset. Besides, while a Premier League club can be little more than a fashion accessory for their boss, Vichai took his club very seriously. The owner of the famous duty-free shop chain cared a lot about his club and players, praising their achievements as well as providing spiritual support by flying a Thai monk all the way from Thailand to the club stadiums to bless them. In return, Leicester City players and fans always expressed their deep gratitude toward him in life and offering heartfelt tributes at the news of his passing. Now Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha has truly become a legend. His fresh football approach and the way he elevated the Foxes to their historic status will be remembered for eternity.