Leicester City FC owner dies in helicopter crash outside King Power Stadium

By Tyler Arthur and Ollie Heppenstall 

UPDATE – Wednesday: Leicestershire’s Senior Coroner has now formally confirmed that Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was one of the passengers who died in the tragic helicopter crash on Saturday night. The process of identifying the remaining four passengers is underway.

UPDATE – 10am Monday: As mentioned in the previous update we now know everyone who was on board – we would like to specifically mention that Srivaddhanaprabha’s daughter was not in the helicopter, as was previously reported.

BREAKING – 22:30pm:  Leicestershire Police have released the names of the other four passengers in the helicopter when it crashed yesterday night. Two of the chairman’s staff, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, were on board as were pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Isabela Lechowiz.

BREAKING – 22:05pm:  BBC news confirms the death of Leicester City FC chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in last night’s helicopter crash in the King Power stadium’s player’s car park.

UPTADE – 15:20pm: Following a Leicestershire Police request to be patient and to resist speculating about the circumstances surrounding last night’s incident, the live updates will cease until we hear of any more concrete details from the relevant authorities.

UPDATE – 14:45PM Sunday:  Sky Sports are reporting that the Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) have arrived at the crash site and are taking charge of investigations.

BREAKING – 13:13PM Sunday:  French media outlet CNEWS are reporting the death of Leicester City FC owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. More to follow.

UPDATE – 12:50pm Sunday:  It is being reported by BBC sport that the EFL are debating whether to postpone The Foxes’ Carabao Cup last-16 tie against fellow Premier League side Southampton next Tuesday night. The news follows the postponement of Leicester City Women’s game today.

UPDATE – 12pm Sunday:  It is being reported that a statement is to be released today, and that the helicopter crashed due to a failure shortly after take off from the centre circle of the King Power pitch.

UPDATE – 10am Sunday: It is being reported by both BBC Leicester and Sky Sports News that owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was on board the helicopter along with four other people; including the two pilots and his daughter.

UPDATE – 9am Sunday: It is being reported that Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was on board the helicopter at the time of the crash.

More updates to follow. 

Original Story – 12:30am Sunday October 28

Shock gripped the city tonight after the Leicester City FC owner’s helicopter lost control and crashed into an adjacent car park following their 1-1 draw with West Ham.

It is feared that the helicopter may have been carrying the club’s chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who usually leaves from home games via the aircraft.

It is not yet known who was on the helicopter, but fans outside the stadium all feared for the worst, specifically for Srivaddhanaprabha and his family, who sometimes attend the games.

The incident took place at around 9pm, by which time most fans had either left the area or were in one of the numerous local pubs, where many reported they saw the breaking news announcement.

Shocked: Crowds remained outside the stadium for hours after the crash occurred.

One fan said: “I saw the images that they were showing on Sky News, and so I rushed back to the stadium to see what was happening, there was still smoke when I arrived.”

Nathan Doore, 21, was on his way back from work just as the incident took place: “I was driving past the King Power and I saw the helicopter, it looked like it was struggling to stay in the air.

“It came down outside the stadium, and went up in flames instantly, as soon as it hit the floor. From what I saw, it’s almost inevitable that nobody on board survived.”

There have been numerous posts on social media ever since the crash occurred, some speculating and even images showing the flames and smoke from the crash site. Multiple individuals and other football clubs shared their support online, including their Saturday night opponents.

Twitter user @mrgeoffpeters captured the awful, chaotic scenes after the crash:

Leicester local Jamie Wrafter, 46, said: “I had seen the blue lights before the match, and straight after, so I didn’t think much of it at first – it’s always like that when West Ham come down.

“When I saw all of the police I thought it was just [away fans] kicking off, and there had already been a scrap earlier, but once I saw the fire engines that’s when I knew something was wrong.”

The Leicester fan of many years said that a local woman said something to him about a helicopter ‘out of control’. Shortly after, his wife called him from home having seen the news, and told him that Srivaddhanaprabha’s aircraft had gone down.

“It’s horrible. I just hope for the least casualties possible. It doesn’t matter who is on board for it to be awful, it’s a helicopter crash, but I really hope that it wasn’t Vichai, or his family,” Jamie continued, emotionally.

“They’re the best owners we’ve ever had. We won the league with these guys. Vichai is Leicester.”

Leicester City tweeted to confirm that they are working with Leicestershire Police, and stated that ‘the club will issue a statement once further information has been established.’

Lockdown: The police cordoned off the site of the crash immediately. [Featured image Courtesy of the BBC]

City Broadcaster talks everything Puel

By Kiran Bedder

A City broadcaster has urged Foxes fans to cut newly appointed football team boss Claude Puel some slack after initial groans of disappointment greeted the Frenchman’s arrival.

Puel took charge exactly a week ago and guided the Blues to a well-earned 2-0 victory against struggling Everton on Sunday.

Mike McCarthy, match day broadcaster for BBC Leicester, says he understands why the former Lille and Southampton boss has garnered mixed views from City fans.

Speaking to Leicestershire Press he said: “Football is all about what you’ve done lately, and looking at the way things ended at Southampton you could think well, maybe that wasn’t the best, but maybe that’s not the reason why Leicester should go for him.”

Puel did manage to get the Saints to Wembley last season in the EFL Cup and also boasts a great record within Europe.

“His record in Europe is pretty good as well,” added Mike. “He’s only ever been knocked out of the Champions League by the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona and the top teams he’s come up against.”

Puel stepped into the shoes of former manager Craig Shakespeare who was sacked on October 17th.

McCarthy said Shakespeare’s dismissal came as a little bit of a surprise.

“I spoke to him after the West Bromwich Albion game and he didn’t seem like there was pressure coming from above in terms of his position. He didn’t seem like a man who was worried.”

Only time will tell whether Puel can win over the hearts of Leicester’s expectant fans.

Middlesborough and Leicester fans take the fighting off the pitch

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Police intervened on the fighting fans 

By Mark Farmer

Clashes between Leicester City and Middlesbrough fans broke out on the evening of Saturday 26 November after their team’s game at the King Power Stadium.

Fan-recorded videos emerged on social media shortly after the final whistle.

Rival supporters can be seen in a stand-off leading to punches being thrown by both sets of supporters before police intervened.

The match, which ended in a 2-2 draw, saw the home side salvage a point late on through a 94th minute Islam Slimani penalty to cancel out two Alvaro Negredo goals.

Both teams have found themselves embroiled in a relegation battle, despite Leicester’s title winning heroics last season.

This does not excuse the behaviour of the supporters, however, who began fighting inside the stadium before piling together on the terraces outside the ground.

One Leicester City season of ticket holder of 11 years, Vicki Connelly, said: “There were about 50 people fighting inside the stadium and stewards were trying to split them up.”

“There were large groups outside that were trying to get at each other.”

Footage prior to the skirmishes showed Leicester fans chanting, ‘dirty northern b*******’ to antagonise Middlesbrough supporters into fighting.

Scenes like these have threatened to drag the sport back into its dark ages that were more commonplace in the 1980s with hooliganism rife on football’s terraces.

One twitter user Lee Lowery, 20, took to the social media site to voice his concerns.

He said: “Seeing Leicester and Boro fans fighting yesterday after the game and thinking what a disgrace, don’t even call yourselves fans of the sport.”

Vicki reiterated this after she revealed a male Middlesbrough fan threatened to ‘knock her out’ after she was overheard praising his team.

She said: “I don’t think these people represent football fans at all, because most of them don’t know how to behave.

“I get that people are going to be passionate about their team because I am, too.

“I saw fans chanting at each other, and that’s fine because it was all light-hearted, but as soon as it gets physical its gone way too far.”

Leicestershire Police confirmed two men, aged 18 and 33, were arrested following the incidents on Saturday.

They have been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Ulloa scores in 1-0 win over Norwich

BY DECLAN SHEPHERD

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Substitute Leonardo Ulloa scored a late winner as Leicester City beat Norwich City 1-0 in the Premier League.

Ulloa tapped in at the back post from a Marc Albrighton cross in front of over 32,000 fans at the King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The result means Leicester City move 5 points clear at the top of the table with their closest rivals not in action until Sunday.

Leicester made their first team change in 8 matches with Daniel Amartey making his debut for the suspended Danny Simpson while Alex Tettey returned to the visiting midfield.

Both sides started brightly, Cameron Jerome thwarted by Peter Schmeichel before Shinji Okazaki’s back heel flick was blocked on the line.

Norwich began the game tight and deep, keeping ten behind the ball, restricting Leicester to long range chances in the opening quarter including two over the top from Albrighton.

Unable to capitalise on their chances, the Foxes slowly allowed the Canaries into the game as they pressed higher up the pitch.

Further chances fell to Albrighton and Jerome with the Leicester winger glancing a header wide from a free kick with just John Ruddy to beat, matched moments later by Jerome from a rare Norwich corner.

Leicester started the 2nd half on top, Riyad Mahrez drawing a foul from Steven Naismith who earned the first yellow of the match, soon followed by Ryan Bennett for a rash challenge on Jamie Vardy.

Albrighton again injected some life into the game after a slow third quarter, forcing a save from Ruddy with another effort from distance before manager Claudio Ranieri brought on Andy King and Jeffrey Schlupp for Okazki and N’Golo Kante.

The Foxes final subsititution, Ulloa on for Amartey, saw the home side switch to a 3-4-3 as they looked for a late winner.

The gamble nearly back fired after Nathan Redmond’s shot flew narrowly wide with just over 5 minutes remaining but ultimately paid off.

A low cross from the right by Albrighton appeared to fall to no-one before Ulloa pounced at the back post to finish in an unguarded goal.

Mahrez looked lively throughout, constantly switching wings but was rarely a threat for Ruddy or the Canaries defence.

Vardy, looking for his 20th goal of the season, was kept quiet by the packed Norwich defence and struggled to link up with strike partners Okazaki or Mahrez for much of the game.

His best chance came for a 30 yard free kick saved low to the right by Ruddy just before the hour mark.