English Premiership

'No secret' to Leicester's rise

2016-04-25 08:58
Claudio Ranieri (Getty Images)

Bangkok - Leicester City's Thai vice-chairman insisted there was no secret to their miraculous rise after they inched closer to a previously unthinkable English Premier League title.

Hundreds of blue-shirted Thai fans watched Leicester's 4-0 win over Swansea City live on big screens late into the night at an outdoor venue in Bangkok as the Foxes opened up an eight-point lead at the top of the table.

Afterwards Aiyawatt 'Top' Srivaddhanaprabha, who is also chief executive of Thailand's King Power duty-free empire, said Leicester's rise is "very good for football and for people who love sport".

"I play sport as well and I understand that inspiration from (striker Jamie) Vardy, inspiration from Leicester has inspired everyone in the world," he said, in rare comments to media.

"We don't have a secret... the players... are trying so hard, and the spirit in the team is so good."

Top's publicity-shy father Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha owns the British club, but Top is hands on in running it as well as being the King Power CEO.

Leicester only narrowly survived relegation last year but Claudio Ranieri's side have taken this season by storm with their high-energy, attack-minded approach.

Leicester's Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez became the first African to be named England's Professional Footballer's Association player of the year on Sunday, while the prolific Vardy has netted 22 times.

The Foxes, or 'Siamese Foxes', are now beginning to attract fans in Thailand, where English Premier League giants Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea traditionally command a strong following.

"We have 600 people come to celebrate and enjoy to watch Leicester, the team that maybe seven years ago no one knew," said Top.

"We try to tell Thais that you have your team and you have your second team as Leicester, so every time Leicester play please support."

Free beer helped draw the crowd but there was no mistaking the enthusiasm as two goals from Leonardo Ulloa, and one each from Mahrez and Marc Albrighton pushed Leicester closer to the trophy.

"We'll be champions no problem," enthused Auawut Job, 42, who like many Thais professed to being a new convert to Leicester mania.

"I was a Liverpool fan until three years ago, but Liverpool have gone down... all Thais will support Leicester if they win the league," he added.

The Srivaddhanaprabha family have been widely praised for their judicious spending and appointments, which have taken Leicester to the top of the Premier League.

Top was a key voice in Ranieri's hiring and that of former boss Nigel Pearson, who left in the close-season despite a remarkable run of games to survive relegation.

The departure came shortly after a sex tape scandal involving three young fringe players - including Pearson's son - during a summer tour of Bangkok.

The mystery of Leicester's rise is whether it has been case of luck or canny judgement - or both - on the part of the owners.

Thai Buddhist monks certainly think good karma helps after they were drafted in to bless the King Power Stadium pitch and hand out lucky talismans to players.

Top said of his father: "He's a successful businessman and he tried to challenge himself to get something done.

"This is one thing that in his dreams he wanted to own the club, and he said I think two or three years before that he want the team to be a success in the Premier League, and now we are."

He added: "As a son, I try to make the father and boss happy."

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Tuesday, 29 January 2019
Fulham v Brighton & Hove Albion, Craven Cottage 21:45
Arsenal v Cardiff City, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Wolverhampton Wanderers v West Ham United, Molineux Stadium 21:45
Huddersfield Town v Everton, The John Smith's Stadium 21:45
Manchester United v Burnley, Old Trafford 22:00
Newcastle United v Manchester City, St. James' Park 22:00
Wednesday, 30 January 2019
Southampton v Crystal Palace, St. Mary's Stadium 21:45
AFC Bournemouth v Chelsea, Vitality Stadium 21:45
Liverpool v Leicester City, Anfield 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Watford, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Saturday, 02 February 2019
Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 14:30
Everton v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Goodison Park 17:00
Crystal Palace v Fulham, Selhurst Park 17:00
Chelsea v Huddersfield Town, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Watford, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Burnley v Southampton, Turf Moor 17:00
Cardiff City v AFC Bournemouth, Cardiff City Stadium 19:30
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2018/19 season?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.