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Leicester City opens book of condolences for chairman

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Leicester City is to open a book of condolences to allow grieving fans to pay their respects to owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

The Thai businessman, who transformed the club into a Premier League winning team after buying it in 2010, was killed in a helicopter accident as he left the stadium after a game on Saturday.

Four other people, pilots Eric Swaffer and Izabela Roza Lechowicz, and members of staff Kaveporn Punpare and Nursara Suknamai, were also killed when the helicopter fell to the ground moments from the stadium.

Supporters and players gathered to remember Khun Vichai on Monday night, sharing a hushed silence for a man many saw as the heart of a family that included not just the club but the city itself.

A petition for a statue of him to be placed outside the King Power Stadium has attracted nearly 24,000 signatures by Tuesday morning.

“Vichai chose Leicester when we were riddled with debt, he got us out of the debt and made us the club we are today,” petition organiser Ellis Greaves wrote. “We owe Vichai and his family everything.”

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha during the Premier League match between Leicester City and AFC Bournemouth at The King Power on 21 May 2017
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Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was known to attend every game

Khun Vichai’s wife Aimon and son Aiyawatt were among hundreds of people to lay a wreath at the ground, now covered with bouquets and gifts.

The book of condolences, which will be shared with the Srivaddhanaprabha family, will be opened at the club’s King Power stadium at 8am on Tuesday morning.

An online book will also be available for those who cannot make it to the stadium.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said her thoughts are with the victims’ families and Prince William, who serves as president of the Football Association, said he was lucky to have known Mr Srivaddhanaprabha.



Leicester players broke down in tears as they paid tribute to the club's late chairman




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Several Leicester players broke down in tears as they paid tribute to the club’s late chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Kasabian frontman Tom Meighan, a lifelong Leicester City fan, was among those at the stadium to pay his respects.

He told Sky News the death had left “everyone in a state of shock” and said the owner had been a “lovely man, a lovely family”.

“They came in, got us out of debt, we avoided relegation, won the Premier League and now this,” he said. “It feels like it’s died. The dream’s dead now, it’s horrible.”

Supporter Paul Thompson, a former steward at Leicester City, said he had known Khun Vichai as a “genuine, honest, jolly man” who always wanted to talk to the fans.

More from Leicester helicopter crash

“He had the club at heart as well. It wasn’t just his business, he loved the team and the fans. I’ve shed a few tears and I’m sure lots of others have too,” he said.

Leicester City said the book of condolences would be housed in a marquee outside the Foxes Fanstore, and will be open “every day for the foreseeable future”.

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