Leicester City fans hold memorial march to mark anniversary of helicopter crash

19 October 2019, 14:17 | Updated: 19 October 2019, 15:19

Leicester City fans have held a march to mark the anniversary of the death of former club chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter crash.

Thousands of supporters took part in the walk leading up to the King Power Stadium, where the aircraft went down following a Premier League match on 27 October last year.

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people who died as a result of the accident, which was caused by a pin that had come loose in the tail rotor control mechanism.

Leicester take on Burnley on Saturday in their final home game before the first anniversary, and an image of the Thai billionaire businessman was displayed on a big screen outside the ground.

The 60-year-old became a beloved figure at Leicester in the years after his takeover in 2010, having been at the helm when the club defied the odds by winning the Premier League title in 2015/16.

Fans on the march carried scarves dedicated to "Mr Chairman", bearing the message "Forever In Our Hearts", and scarves were also draped over each seat in the home end inside the stadium

Others carried homemade banners with pictures of Mr Srivaddhanaprabha, with one reading #marchforvichai, and everyone inside the ground took part in a minute's silence before kick-off.

The minute's silence also honoured the other victims of the crash.

Club staff members Kaveporn Punpare and Nusara Suknamai, and pilots Eric Swaffer and Izabela Lechowicz also died when the helicopter went down in a car park outside the stadium.

Ahead of the match, Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said he had come to understand Mr Srivaddhanaprabha's legacy since being appointed in February - succeeding Frenchman Claude Puel.

Rodgers told reporters at his weekly press conference: "Everyone will look from the outside at the financial input, but the feeling he gave people, the players and staff - you cannot buy that.

"He was close to many people at the club and the players had a real affinity with him and still do. There will be a lot of emotion on and off the pitch these next five games."

Next Sunday, 27 October, the club will open the Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Memorial Garden.

Chief executive Susan Whelan said: "Appropriate and respectful management of the accident site is something to which we have given great consideration over the last 12 months.

"Supporters and visitors have shown impeccable respect during our immediate efforts to protect it and we are now in a position to confirm our permanent intentions for the site.

"From the scene of a tragedy, we aim to build something peaceful, something poignant and something beautiful, where supporters of today and of future generations can remember what one man's vision did for this club, this community."