Three seasons ago they shocked the world of football. Scenes of jubilation echoed across the globe. The impossible was made possible. But two-and-a-half years since their heroic title-winning exploits, Leicester City are back in the headlines for a much sadder reason. On 27 October, after seeing his team draw 1-1 with West Ham United, the Leicester owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, left the King Power Stadium in his personal helicopter. However, what happened almost immediately afterwards shocked the world into tragic silence.
The helicopter spiralled out of control seconds after taking off and crashed just outside the stadium, erupting into flames. Feelings of disbelief and horror reverberated up and down the country as the man who saved Leicester City from near bankruptcy to deliver the most unlikely of sporting triumphs lost his life, along with two members of his staff, Nusara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, as well as pilots Eric Swaffer and Izabela Rose Lechowicz, who were partners
The footballing world was dealt another appalling blow in what is a long list of catastrophic events. Sheffield is no stranger to sporting tragedy after 96 Liverpool fans tragically lost their lives at Hillsborough almost thirty years ago. But much as football fans of all teams united to bring justice to the families of those who passed in 1989, our sport must sadly come together once more, this time in remembrance for a man who has brought happiness to millions. The togetherness shown has been there for all to see.
Almost immediately after the incident, tributes started pouring in. Leicester players past and present, fans and anyone associated with the sport or otherwise expressed their overwhelming sadness and gratitude for the man that brought so much joy to so many people’s lives. Those closest to Mr Srivaddhanaprabha as well as thousands of fans have contributed to a poignant and fitting memorial. Once united in victory, and now in grief, extraordinary levels of support have been shown in the face of such tragedy.
The phrase “put things into perspective” has been used frequently in the last week or so as fans who gladly “hate” each other when a ball is kicked unite to pay their respects as the play is rightly put on hold. We cannot escape tragedy, but as has always been the case, we stand together and find strength in each other in its aftermath.