Leicester


Jamie Vardy has revealed it has been the ‘hardest week’ of his life after the shocking and tragic death of Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

The Thai billionaire and four others were killed when his helicopter crashed outside the King Power Stadium following last weekend’s Premier League clash with West Ham.

Vardy, who had a close relationship with Srivaddhanaprabha, had already left the ground when the helicopter came down and was sent into a state of shock when the news started to filter through.

Leicester's Jamie Vardy was speaking in an interview with Sky Sports News on Friday morning

Leicester’s Jamie Vardy was speaking in an interview with Sky Sports News on Friday morning

Jamie Vardy (second right) pictured in training with his Leicester team-mates on Friday

Jamie Vardy (second right) pictured in training with his Leicester team-mates on Friday

Jamie Vardy (second right) pictured in training with his Leicester team-mates on Friday

Vardy is expected to play against Cardiff City on Saturday before travelling to Thailand

Vardy is expected to play against Cardiff City on Saturday before travelling to Thailand

Vardy is expected to play against Cardiff City on Saturday before travelling to Thailand

He told Sky Sports News: ‘I was just on my way home with my wife and kids when I got the news. I was shocked. You don’t really believe that it’s happened. 

‘Trying to get in touch with everyone, no one was picking their phones up or anything. That’s when I knew something was definitely wrong.’

After postponing the midweek Carabao Cup tie with Southampton, Leicester City will take to the field for the first time since the crash in their Premier League tie at Cardiff on Saturday.

Vardy was involved in their final training session on Friday morning as the head coach Claude Puel put in final preparations before their long coach journey to Wales. 

Kasper Schmeichel, another long-serving Leicester City star, pictured in training on Friday

Kasper Schmeichel, another long-serving Leicester City star, pictured in training on Friday

Kasper Schmeichel, another long-serving Leicester City star, pictured in training on Friday

Kasper Schmeichel, who was still inside the stadium when the helicopter crashed, was also pictured in what was likely to have been a sombre affair at the club’s training ground in Belvoir Drive.

The Foxes have already cancelled their flight plans to the Welsh capital and will drive instead. They face the challenge of overcoming what Vardy described as the most difficult week of his life, but says he is determined to win for the owner and his family. 

Vardy said: ‘We know what we’ve got to do, we’re going to go out there and honour his name. Put in a performance which will hopefully get the win. I know people are saying the result doesn’t matter but for us as lads, we want to try and make it a positive result.

‘It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be very emotional. But with the boys we’ve sat down, had a chat, and one thing we wanted to make sure, we played this game in honouring the man himself.

‘It’s been the hardest week of my life, it really has. Obviously we’ve got the support we need. And Top (Vichai’s son) himself, he knows whatever he needs, the lads and everyone around the city, everyone is with him. We need to make sure we continue that now.’  

Vardy and wife Rebekah lay a wreath in memory of those killed in the helicopter crash

Vardy and wife Rebekah lay a wreath in memory of those killed in the helicopter crash

Vardy and wife Rebekah lay a wreath in memory of those killed in the helicopter crash

The striker and his wife were both seen breaking down as they paid their respects this week

The striker and his wife were both seen breaking down as they paid their respects this week

The striker and his wife were both seen breaking down as they paid their respects this week

Leicester players and staff observed a minute's silence as they stood around the centre circle

Leicester players and staff observed a minute's silence as they stood around the centre circle

Leicester players and staff observed a minute’s silence as they stood around the centre circle

DANNY DRINKWATER PAYS HIS RESPECTS 

‘To Vichai.. You made a lot of dreams come true, including mine! I just hope we made yours come true too. Boss, may you forever rest in peace. Love Danny #theboss #lcfcfamily’

The 31-year-old was moved to tears as he attended a memorial at the King Power Stadium earlier this week and Vardy says he considered Srivaddhanaprabha a member of his extended family.

He continued: ‘The relationship was exactly how you’ve seen it put out there. He wasn’t just a chairman, he was part of your extended family. 

‘It didn’t matter who you were he would always make the time for you, he was always smiling, those will be the things you’ll never forget and will always be engraved in your mind.’

A funeral for the 60-year-old will begin in Bangkok on Saturday and a ceremony celebrating the life of Thailand’s richest man is expected to last three days. Vardy considers it of the utmost importance that he and the squad attend the event.

‘It will be massively important [to go to the funeral],’ Vardy admitted. ‘We are a close-knit group. One big family and one of the main reasons for that is Khun Vichai. For us to be there is massively important.’ 

The billionaire perished with his assistant Kaveporn Punpare and Nursara Suknamai, a Thai beauty queen turned PA, when the aircraft spiralled into a ‘dead man’s curve’ when its tail rotor apparently failed.

The AW169 AgustaWestland helicopter’s hero pilot Eric Swaffer and his girlfriend co-pilot Izabela Lechowicz also died – but potentially saved hundreds of lives by crashing away from the crowds of fans who saw Leicester play West Ham.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed alongside four others in a helicopter crash on Saturday

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed alongside four others in a helicopter crash on Saturday

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed alongside four others in a helicopter crash on Saturday

The Leicester owner was killed in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium

The Leicester owner was killed in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium

The Leicester owner was killed in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium

Mourners sign a book of condolence for Vichai, whose funeral will begin this Saturday

Mourners sign a book of condolence for Vichai, whose funeral will begin this Saturday

Mourners sign a book of condolence for Vichai, whose funeral will begin this Saturday

JAMIE VARDY – FULL TRANSCRIPT 

I was on my way home with my wife and kids, and got the news. You’re in shock. You don’t believe it’s happened. I was trying to get in touch with everyone at the club, nobody was picking their phones up. I think that’s when I knew something was definitely wrong.

The relationship was exactly how you’ve seen it put out there. He wasn’t just a chairman, he was part of your extended family. It didn’t matter who you were he would always make the time for you, he was always smiling, those will be the things you’ll never forget and will always been engraved in your mind.

From day one to up until now that is exactly how he’s always been, really friendly, always wanting to be involved. He was part of the squad, always giving encouragement, always wanting to be involved with the lads. It’s been the hardest week of everyone’s lives. I’ll tell you that. We came in the Monday, there wasn’t any training. It was more people going for a walk, having little chats, remembering all the good times with Khun Vichai.

It will be massively important [to go to the funeral]. We are a close knit group. One big family and one of the main reasons for that is Khun Vichai. For us to be there is massively important.

Everyone is going to have different reactions to it, some people will be affected more than others. But the main thing is us all coming together even stronger and making sure we do Khun Vichai proud. We all spoke about wanting to play, it’s what Vichai would have wanted. That’s what we’re going to do.

We know what we’ve got to do, we’re going to go out there and honour his name. Put in a performance which will hopefully get the win. I know people are saying the result doesn’t matter but for us as lads, we want to try and make it a positive result. It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be very emotional. But with the boys we’ve sat down, had a chat, and one thing we wanted to make sure we played this game in honouring the man himself.

It’s been the hardest week of my life, it really has. Obviously we’ve got the support we need. And Top himself, he knows whatever he needs, the lads and everyone around the city, everyone is with him. We need to make sure we continue that now.



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