CARDIFF, United Kingdom, Nov 3 – Kasper Schmeichel dedicated Leicester’s emotional 1-0 win at Cardiff to the club’s late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and his grieving family.
Thai billionaire Vichai was among five people killed when his helicopter crashed outside Leicester’s King Power Stadium following last Saturday’s match against West Ham.
With Vichai’s funeral underway on Saturday in Bangkok, Leicester headed to Cardiff for a match that served as a chance to honour him and begin the healing process.
It was fitting Leicester took the points in their first match since Vichai’s death thanks to Demarai Gray’s second-half winner.
Leicester goalkeeper Schmeichel has felt the tragedy more than most as one of the only players to witness the immediate aftermath of the crash moments after the helicopter went down.
And the Denmark international was in tears as Leicester’s players and staff locked arms in the centre circle during a poignant minute’s silence before kick-off.
“I feel proud. It’s been a really tough week for everyone. The way everyone at the club handles themselves is a testament to the family Vichai built,” Schmeichel said.
“You come across very few people that impact you. He had a really big impact on my life.
“You can see from the reaction that he had an impact on so many lives. I’m immensely proud to have known him.
“I can’t imagine what his family are going through, we did it for him and his family.”
The majority of Leicester’s players, manager Claude Puel and senior staff were due to fly to Thailand immediately after the Cardiff match to join what is likely to be a week-long funeral for Vichai.
Schmeichel admitted he was relieved Leicester were able to mark the sombre occasion in the only way they could — by playing at their best in memory of Vichai.
“That took a lot. It has been an emotional day and glad we got three points for him,” he said.
“Every single player wanted to get out there to be at the funeral.
“We are glad we’ve come away today from a really tough game with a win we can bring to Thailand and hope we did the family proud.”