Leicester tributes: Fans and players unite at Cardiff on emotional day

Hope Soto
November 4, 2018

Srivaddhanaprabha's funeral is due to begin in Thailand on Saturday, and Vardy confirmed the Leicester squad will be in attendance.

Leicester's grief-stricken players paid an emotional tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha ahead of their Premier League clash at Cardiff on Saturday as the devastated club returned to action for the first time since their owner's tragic death.

Before the match they wore T-shirts featuring a picture of Mr Vichai.

He was well thought of in Leicester City and part of the community.

The Thai tycoon died along with two members of his staff, the pilot and a passenger when the helicopter came down in a auto park moments after taking off on October 27.

It began with a bathing ritual using royally-bestowed water and an eight-sided urn lent as an honour by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, and was followed by recitation ceremonies which will last for seven days. REUTERS/Cory Wright Deputy prime minister of Thailand, Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, center, arrives for the funeral of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018.

Outside the temple on Saturday, Kiatisuk "Zico" Senamuang, a former Thai national football player and coach who was also at the Leicester match, was among mourners.

The start of this lengthy funeral was in stark contrast to the emotional scenes witnessed at the Leicester City stadium.

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The funeral, closed to the public and media, was attended by Vichai's relatives, friends and senior Thai politicians and football officials. But it serves a social function too, affirming the status he achieved, in particular by getting royal sponsorship.

Vichai was the fifth richest man in Thailand, having made his fortune as the head of the multi-billion-dollar duty-free shopping company King Empire.

One of the most poignant moments came when Leicester's players turned to the Cardiff supporters a few yards along the stand from their own fans and were greeted by huge applause, reflecting the universal sympathy for the heartbroken team.

The other four people killed in the crash were employees Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner, Izabela Roza Lechowicz, who was also a professional pilot.

The wreckage of the helicopter was removed from outside the stadium on Friday.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said it had been able to retrieve information from the helicopter's black box even though it had been subjected to "intense heat" in the fire.

"I think it will be harder to retain the Premier League title because last season nobody was expecting us to win as many games and to reach that level of points, so this season the teams know they have to do better to beat us", Metro UK quoted Silva as saying.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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