David Preece: Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha made dreams come true - if only there were more like him

Tributes at Leicester City Football Club
Tributes at Leicester City Football Club
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Life moves at a pace. Football, it can be said, ferociously even more so.

Every so often though, time is slowed by tragedy. Last weekend the handbrake was applied and Saturday came to a sudden halt, stopped by the news of Glenn Hoddle’s heart attack followed by the horrific news emanating from the King Power Stadium in Leicester.

The show might well go on for those outside the immediate circle of both incidents, but it feels like we’re doing it at a meandering walking pace.

Football loses its edge. Quite rightly so. The weekly loss of perspective is jolted firmly, reset back in to its rightful place.

Games are played as if everyone is wearing sunglasses and earmuffs. The bright lights of the razzmatazz are dimmed, the electricity of the crowds dulled.

Livelihoods are at stake, sure, but it’s not life or death is it? Of course, we have to convince ourselves it is.

It’s that what fills us with excitement or trepidation before every game.

It’s what gives life to the ecstasy of victory and digs the trench in preparation for the despair defeat brings. Without that convincing notion, it all matters so much, it is just a game.

Without the extremes we find ourselves in pre and post-match, normality feels like a limbo where wounds seem to sting just that little bit more and feel so much more real.

It’s strange because we are so used to to being at either end of the spectrum, those two extremes overwhelm you so when you’re in between, reality bites harder. There’s no masking how you feel - and how you feel is sad.

Football covers the full gamut of emotions, but rarely is it just sad. Unlike many football tragedies suffered, there’s nobody to point the finger of blame at in Leicester. Not immediately.

A release of anger directed at someone, at some thing, can be part of the mourning process, but the hurt and frustration that builds when there are no answers to the question ‘Why?’ has nowhere to go.

Sorrow just there sits, weighing heavily inside.

Everything is understandably raw right now. The video of the staff at Leicester City greeting the wife and son of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was somewhat more difficult to take in than the actual news itself.

Watching Kasper Schmeichel and Jamie Vardy breaking the formality of handshakes by hugging them both tightly as if family themselves, broke me, I have to admit.

It’s not that I’m usually without sympathy or emotion in these situations, but unless I have a close relationship or affinity with someone, I tend not to do the whole public outpouring and ‘thoughts and prayers’ gestures that seem quite popular now. That’s not a criticism of those who do either.

Each to their own, but what has been lovely to hear is the reaction of those who did know Vichai and the impact that he had on the lives of the Leicester people and everyone at the club.

Eulogies can feel obligatory at times. Impersonal and generic. The more you read about him, the more you realise how much of a hole his loss will leave at a club where he made dreams come true.

There has been no greater feat in English football than Leicester City winning the 2015/16 Premier League title and there never will.

And at the very heart of that was Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, and his passing should only make that achievement even bolder and more celebrated with every passing season.

Not all owners are charlatans, in it just to try to make a quick buck. Not all owners are in it to supplement their own vanity and boost their disproportionately-sized egos.

Not all owners create long-lasting bonds with their staff and players beyond that of their professional relationships.

Not all owners are like Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. But they definitely should be.