Leicester City’s owner dies in plane crash: We look back at his impact on the club…
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died Saturday due to a helicopter crash outside of King Power Stadium. It is with heavy hearts that the football world remembers the Vichai as a lovable owner, successful businessman, and remarkable chairman whom helped rewrite both club and football history at Leicester.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha owner of Leicester City since 2010, was Thai businessman and the founder, owner, and chairman of King Power Duty Free. King Power made its fortune providing goods for shops that were exempt from taxes on the promise that they would be sold to travelers taking them out of the country. Vichai received a royal warrant from the King of Thailand in 2009. Vichai ranked at one point as Forbes 7th Richest man in Thailand.
Vichai bought the Club in 2010 with help from Thai-led consortium Asian Football Investments (AFI). Vichai was named the chairman of the club later that year. Vichai’s Leicester stayed in second division football in England until 2014 when they won the Championship and earned promotion to the Premier League for the first time in 10 years.
In their first season back in the top-tier, Leicester found it difficult to pick up points as the season went on having only 19 in their first 29 matches. By April 3rd 2015, they were in the relegation zone dead last in the league. Moral was low and supporters were worried that their long-awaited return to the Premier League would be short. But miraculously, with 9 matches to go and a 7 point gap to close, Leicester managed to not only stay in the Premier Leauge but end up finishing 14th with a run of 7 wins 1 draw and 1 loss to hoist them up out of the relegation zone.
That summer a scandal would end up resulting in the sacking of Leicester boss Nigel Pearson, and the hiring of Claudio Ranieri. It was the very next season the first of which under Ranieri that Leicester defied 5,ooo to 1 odds by winning the Premier League title. This Cinderella year served as validation for not only Leicester’s players and coaching staff but also for the board and Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. Vichai had seen his mid-table second-league side climb all the way up to Premier League champions in 6 short years. And they weren’t done their.
Their Premier League title meant that they would get to participate in the Champions league in 2016. It was in the champions league that their improbable run would continue. They topped Group G with two wins over Club Brugge, as well as a win over Porto and a win and a tie against Copenhagen. They would go on to beat Sevilla in the round of 16 on aggregate 3–2 but ultimately lost in the quarterfinal to Athlético Madrid 2–1 on aggregate.
When it was all said and done, reaching the quarterfinals of the world’s greatest club competition pushed City’s pre-tax profits up to £92.5 million. The Champions League added £70m to the club’s bottom line.
You can read Leicester City’s club statement on Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha death on their website: https://www.lcfc.com/news/890995/club-statement-vichai-srivaddhanaprabha/press-release