Leicester players return to stadium to pay their respects to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Ross Houston
November 3, 2018

Jamie Vardy says the last seven days have been the hardest of his life as Leicester City prepare to play their first match since the death of chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Saturday was the first day of a week-long funeral ceremony for Vichai who was killed, along with four others, when his helicopter came down in a vehicle park outside Leicester City stadium last Saturday, just moments after the game had finished.

REUTERS/Cory Wright In this photo issued by King Power, deputy prime minister of Thailand, Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, center, participates in the Buddhist funeral rituals of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018.

The ceremony will have regal touches, with an octagonal urn among the items given by the monarchy and court musicians playing drums and flutes during royally-sponsored bathing rites.

Thailand's kings have traditionally granted such honours at the funerals of high-ranking state officials or citizens who had devoted their lives to the good of the country.

Leicester City's Carabao Cup fixture with Southampton which was scheduled for last Tuesday was postponed in the wake of the incident.

He told reporters that the global football world had lost an important patron.

"I'm very proud of him".

"Every single player wanted to get out there to be at the funeral", Schmeichel said.

Two of his staff along with the husband and wife pilot and co-pilot also died in the accident.

He pumped millions of pounds into the club, helping to steer them to Premier League victory despite having started the season as 5,000-to-1 outsiders.

Vichai's body arrived back in Thailand on Friday night on a private jet.

In an era of often-absentee foreign owners in the Premier League, Vichai also broke the mould by forging close ties with supporters and the local community.

In 2012, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand bestowed Vichai - originally called Raksriaksorn - with the new surname "Srivaddhanaprabha", meaning "light of progressive glory" in the Thai language, as a royal honour.

King Power now controls more than 90 percent of Thailand's duty-free market, being a sole operator with concessions in all major airports in the country until 2020.

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