AAP Soccer

Emotional Leicester tribute to late owner

By AAP Newswire

Leicester City have shared a 0-0 Premier League draw with Burnley at the King Power Stadium when football was again overshadowed by emotional tributes to the club's late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Thousands of supporters walked to the stadium from the city centre before the game, which was preceded by two minutes' silence for the Thai billionaire.

'The Boss' was the simple message on many T-shirts as up to 20,000 people embarked on a mile-long walk to the stadium, where two weeks ago the 60-year-old Vichai died when his helicopter lost control shortly after taking off from the centre circle and crashed in a car park.

With Vichai's family in attendance, Leicester's players, who made a 19,000-km round trip to Thailand for the funeral in midweek, wore special commemorative shirts, while almost every fan sported one of the specially distributed scarves bearing the words 'Forever In Our Hearts'.

The football was always going to be of secondary importance in such emotionally charged circumstances and Leicester, without this season's ever-presents Harry Maguire and James Maddison through injury, struggled to keep their focus.

Jamie Vardy, who has not scored in five league games, went closest in the first half with a shot that was cleared off the line by Matt Lowton as Burnley battled to avoid a fourth successive league defeat.

The game opened up after the break, when Burnley's Chris Wood sliced over and Ricardo Pereira headed wide for mid-table Leicester, who failed to score in a league game for the first time this season.

Three former Leicester managers - Nigel Pearson, Claudio Ranieri and Craig Shakespeare - all watched from the sidelines.

Afterwards, Vichai's son and City's vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha took a Thai flag to the centre circle with the crowd chanting "Leicester, Leicester, Leicester".

With tears in his eyes, the vice-chairman led the players and staff around the pitch as his father's name rang round the ground.

Although the 32,184 attendance on Saturday was the biggest crowd of the season, the owner's death two years after the title win seems like the closing of a chapter to some fans.