Former Leicester City boss Sven Goran Eriksson has described the club’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha as a ‘very, very generous man’ and hailed his ‘incredible’ impact on the club following the tragic helicopter crash outside the King Power on Saturday night.
The helicopter, which belonged to Srivaddhanaprabha, took off from the pitch but moments later crashed into a nearby car park and burst into flames.
It is believed the owner was on board but an official statement on passengers has yet to be released.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha has been hailed as a ‘generous man’ after a tragic helicopter crash
The helicopter belonged to Foxes owner Srivaddhanaprabha and crashed into car park E
Sven Goran Eriksson was the first boss employed by Srivaddhanaprabha at Leicester City
Eriksson was the first boss hired by the Thai billionaire after he took the club over from Milan Mandaric eight years ago for £39million.
And with news of the tragic crash still unfolding on Sunday morning, Eriksson opened up on his relationship with Srivaddhanaprabha and hailed the ‘incredible’ effect he has had on Leicester City.
‘It’s frightening news,’ Eriksson began on BBC Radio 5 Live.
‘I knew the whole family and the father. What he has done for Leicester is incredible. He made the club from second division up to first division winning and made the club a big Premier League club today, fantastic.
People left flowers outside the King Power stadium in Leicester the morning after the crash
There was an outpouring of emotion throughout the morning as fans brought flowers and flags
Flowers are placed by a shrine outside the King Power Stadium after the helicopter crash
One note with a bunch of flowers read: ‘Thank you for everything you did for us. Thanks for the memories. You will never be forgotten. Our thoughts are with all the families at this time’
‘He was always there with his family. I think he saw every game during my time and he took part in it as did the whole family, they were at training, talking to the manager, talking to the family, they are fantastic for the club.’
Srivaddhanaprabha’s takeover came after the club secured promotion from League One and they sought out Eriksson given his pedigree at both club and international level.
The Swede, with emotion taking hold during the radio interview, revealed the owner’s burning desire even then to establish the club as a big top-flight club.
‘When I came to the club he said he wanted to make it a big Premier League club, there were no secrets about that,’ he said.
‘He sacked me but I think he did well, because I bought the wrong players. It was fair of him to do it and the result has been great for Leicester.’
Eriksson revealed the owner’s ambition for Leicester and described his impact as ‘incredible’
Srivaddhanaprabha bought the club from Milan Mandaric for £39million back in 2010
The owner quickly became a popular figure among the club’s supporters and first team players as the meteoric rise peaked with a stunning Premier League title season in 2015-16.
Fans were regularly given free beer at the King Power for milestone events and Srivaddhanaprabha’s generosity went one step further when he bought all the players involved in the title win he provided a fleet of £105,000 royal blue BMWi8s.
‘When you know him, as I did and of course the whole team and the staff, you knew that he’s a very generous man, with his, players, his staff people working for him,’ Eriksson continued.
‘Again with the fans and the community. As I know him he was extremely generous, not only paying salaries and things like that. Out shopping in London and he paid for jackets and things like that. Very, very generous generally. A generous man.’
Leicester’s planned training session on Sunday was cancelled and the Foxes will look to postpone Tuesday’s Carabao Cup last-16 match against Southampton.
After winning the Premier League title, he bought each player a £105,000 royal blue BMWi8
He is popular among players and is regularly in attendance for matches at the King Power
Players, including goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, remained at the stadium numb in shock at events into the early hours of the morning with everyone associated with the club overwhelmed.
The seriousness of the situation was in no doubt when footage of the wreckage emerged on Saturday night, showing the helicopter engulfed in flames after it lost control shortly after clearing the stadium.
Witnesses described the aircraft taking off from centre circle before hovering above the south eastern corner of the ground near Filbert Way before spiraling to the ground and erupting into a fireball.
Srivaddhanaprabha regularly left the King Power via his £2million Augusta Westland AW-169 helicopter but it remains unclear whether he was on it when it crashed.