Schmeichel: Helicopter crash will ‘stay with me’ forever

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Date published: Monday 5th November 2018 12:01

Kasper Schmeichel fears he will be forever haunted by the death of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha after attending the Leicester owner’s funeral in Thailand.

Foxes goalkeeper Schmeichel was part of a club delegation which arrived in Bangkok on Sunday to pay their respects to Srivaddhanaprabha.

The Thai businessman and four others were killed in a helicopter crash after taking off from the King Power Stadium.

Schmeichel witnessed the accident following the Premier League game with West Ham on October 27.

“I was on the pitch and I waved him off,” Schmeichel said after the Foxes had returned to action following the tragedy with a 1-0 victory at Cardiff on Saturday.

“I saw it all happen. It is something that will stay with me, unfortunately. It’s not a nice memory but I’ve had all the support that I need.

“The club has been great and everybody has received the support that they needed.”

Schmeichel joined Leicester in 2011, the summer after Srivaddhanaprabha had bought the club.

The Denmark international has since played over 300 games for the Foxes and was a huge figure in Leicester’s 2015-16 title-winning season, one of the most remarkable underdog success stories in the whole of sport.

Schmeichel said he was “shaking” in the warm-up at Cardiff and he was clearly emotional as the Leicester playing squad and staff stood around the centre circle before kick-off to observe a minute’s silence.

“It was tough,” Schmeichel said.

“But we wanted to do it for the chairman and his family. We wanted to be together about this, because we’ve all lost what feels like a family member.

“He brought everybody here and none of this – the memories, this family he’s built, the culture he’s instilled – would be here without him.

“When he took over this club it was in a pretty precarious situation, and to build what he has is quite amazing.

“It’s one thing building a team and a club that can perform on the pitch, but we’re more proud of the family that he’s created and the feeling he’s instilled in everybody being welcome.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what kind of position you have at the club. Whether it be player, staff, stadium staff, security – whatever it may be – everyone is equal and part of the family.”

The Leicester players and staff flew to Thailand after Demarai Gray’s second-half strike had secured the points in the Welsh capital.

They will return in time to prepare for Saturday’s home game against Burnley, the first match to be played at the King Power Stadium since the tragedy.

“We talked in the dressing room that there was really no need for game-plans, tactics, all that. It was about controlling our emotions,” Schmeichel said of the Cardiff win.

“We’ve had great times, but this was different. It felt like a cup final. I haven’t really known a feeling like it on the pitch.

“I was just really glad to have won, because for someone to have an impact on so many lives is quite unique. The impact he’s had on my family has been amazing and I’m proud to be part of his family.”