Jamie Vardy has paid tribute to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, saying the Leicester owner was more like a family member to the club’s players.
Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people tragically killed after his helicopter crashed in a car park near the King Power Stadium following last weekend’s Premier League game against West Ham.
Vardy and his team-mates have posted regular messages online paying their respects to the man they called ‘The Boss’ but the striker has spoken publicly for the first time since the tragedy.
He told Sky Sports News: “The relationship was exactly how you’ve seen it put out there. He wasn’t just a chairman, he literally was part of your extended family.
“It didn’t matter who you was, he always made time for you, and as all the pictures that have been put out have shown, he was always smiling. Those are the things you will never forget and which will stay engraved in your mind.
“From day one, literally from when I first met him, up until now he’s always been really friendly and always wanting to be involved.
“He wasn’t just a chairman, he was part of the squad itself and was always here and always giving you encouragement and wanting to be involved with the lads and that’s credit to him.”
Leicester’s Carabao Cup tie at home to Southampton was postponed in the wake of the disaster and has been rearranged for Tuesday, November 27, but the Premier League match away to Cardiff on Saturday will go ahead as planned.
Vardy revealed how the players decided they wanted to play the game. Leicester boss Claude Puel said on Thursday that the result would not be important at Cardiff, but Vardy hopes to honour Srivaddhanaprabha with a fitting performance and a victory.
“We all spoke about wanting to play, it’s what Vichai would’ve wanted and that’s what we are going to do,” he said.
“We need to make sure we go out there and honour his name and put in a performance that will hopefully get the win. I know people are saying the result doesn’t matter but for us as players we want to get a positive result.
“It’s going to be tough and very emotional and what the lads wanted to do was play this game and honour the man himself. The main thing is we all come together even stronger and do Vichai proud.”
Puel also stated that he would give the players the opportunity to travel to Thailand for the funeral, which is due to begin on Saturday, and Vardy is keen to be there.
“It’s been the hardest week of everyone’s lives,” said the 31-year-old. “It’ll be massively important we attend, we are a close-knit group and one big family and one of the main reasons for that is Vichai, so it’s massively important.”