Jamie Vardy on ‘hardest week of my life’ after helicopter crash

‘It’s been the hardest week of my life’: Leicester City star Jamie Vardy opens up on heartbreak after death of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in helicopter crash

  • Jamie Vardy reveals he was left in a state of shock after hearing of the crash
  • Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died with four others when his helicopter crashed outside the King Power Stadium after last Saturday’s game with West Ham
  • Vardy, 31, says the Thai billionaire was considered part of his ‘extended family’
  • The Leicester striker plans to attend his three-day funeral in Bangkok, Thailand 

Jamie Vardy has revealed it has been the ‘hardest week’ of his life after the shocking and tragic death of Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

The Thai billionaire and four others were killed when his helicopter crashed outside the King Power Stadium following last weekend’s Premier League clash with West Ham.

Vardy, who shared a close relationship with Srivaddhanaprabha, had already left the ground when the helicopter came down and was sent into a state of shock when the news started to filter through.

Leicester's Jamie Vardy was speaking in an interview with Sky Sports News on Friday morning

Leicester’s Jamie Vardy was speaking in an interview with Sky Sports News on Friday morning

He told Sky Sports News: ‘I was just on my way home with my wife and kids when I got the news. I was shocked. You don’t really believe that it’s happened. 

‘Trying to get in touch with everyone, no one was picking their phones up or anything. That’s when I knew something was definitely wrong.’

The 31-year-old was moved to tears as he attended a memorial at the King Power Stadium earlier this week and Vardy says he considered Srivaddhanaprabha a member of his extended family.

He continued: ‘The relationship was exactly how you’ve seen it put out there. He wasn’t just a chairman, he was part of your extended family. 

‘It didn’t matter who you were he would always make the time for you, he was always smiling, those will be the things you’ll never forget and will always been engraved in your mind.’

Vardy and wife Rebekah Vardy lay a wreath in memory of those killed in the helicopter crash

Vardy and wife Rebekah Vardy lay a wreath in memory of those killed in the helicopter crash

The striker and his wife were both seen breaking down as they paid their respects this week

The striker and his wife were both seen breaking down as they paid their respects this week

A funeral for the 60-year-old will begin in Bangkok on Saturday and a ceremony celebrating the life of Thailand’s richest man is expected to last three days. Vardy considers it of the utmost importance that he and the squad attend the event.

‘It will be massively important [to go to the funeral],’ Vardy admitted. ‘We are a close knit group. One big family and one of the main reasons for that is Khun Vichai. For us to be there is massively important.’

After postponing the midweek Carabao Cup tie with Southampton, Leicester City will take to the field for the first time since the crash in their Premier League tie against Cardiff on Saturday.

The Foxes have already cancelled their flight plans to the Welsh capital and will drive instead. They face the challenge of overcoming what Vardy described as the most difficult of his life, but says he is determined to win for the owner and his family.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed alongside four others in a helicopter crash on Saturday

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed alongside four others in a helicopter crash on Saturday

The Leicester owner was killed in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium

The Leicester owner was killed in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium

Vardy said: ‘We know what we’ve got to do, we’re going to go out there and honour his name. Put in a performance which will hopefully get the win. I know people are saying the result doesn’t matter but for us as lads, we want to try and make it a positive result.

‘It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be very emotional. But with the boys we’ve sat down, had a chat, and one thing we wanted to make sure we played this game in honouring the man himself.

‘It’s been the hardest week of my life, it really has. Obviously we’ve got the support we need. And Top (Vichai’s son) himself, he knows whatever he needs, the lads and everyone around the city, everyone is with him. We need to make sure we continue that now.’

Mourners sign a book of condolence for Vichai, whose funeral will begin this Saturday

Mourners sign a book of condolence for Vichai, whose funeral will begin this Saturday

JAMIE VARDY – FULL TRANSCRIPT 

I was on my way home with my wife and kids, and got the news. You’re in shock. You don’t believe it’s happened. I was trying to get in touch with everyone at the club, nobody was picking their phones up. I think that’s when I knew something was definitely wrong.

The relationship was exactly how you’ve seen it put out there. He wasn’t just a chairman, he was part of your extended family. It didn’t matter who you were he would always make the time for you, he was always smiling, those will be the things you’ll never forget and will always been engraved in your mind.

From day one to up until now that is exactly how he’s always been, really friendly, always wanting to be involved. He was part of the squad, always giving encouragement, always wanting to be involved with the lads. It’s been the hardest week of everyone’s lives. I’ll tell you that. We came in the Monday, there wasn’t any training. It was more people going for a walk, having little chats, remembering all the good times with Khun Vichai.

It will be massively important [to go to the funeral]. We are a close knit group. One big family and one of the main reasons for that is Khun Vichai. For us to be there is massively important.

Everyone is going to have different reactions to it, some people will be affected more than others. But the main thing is us all coming together even stronger and making sure we do Khun Vichai proud. We all spoke about wanting to play, it’s what Vichai would have wanted. That’s what we’re going to do.

We know what we’ve got to do, we’re going to go out there and honour his name. Put in a performance which will hopefully get the win. I know people are saying the result doesn’t matter but for us as lads, we want to try and make it a positive result. It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be very emotional. But with the boys we’ve sat down, had a chat, and one thing we wanted to make sure we played this game in honouring the man himself.

It’s been the hardest week of my life, it really has. Obviously we’ve got the support we need. And Top himself, he knows whatever he needs, the lads and everyone around the city, everyone is with him. We need to make sure we continue that now.

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