Preston North End midfielder Paul Gallagher has paid tribute to Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha who tragically lost his life in last Saturday’s helicopter crash at the King Power Stadium.
“When I saw the news, it didn’t seem real. It took a while to sink in,” explained the 34-year-old. “All the tributes you see going in for the chairman shows what sort of human being he was. He was a true gentleman and someone I was quite close to when I was at Leicester.
“I used to take the free kicks and penalties and he would come up to me and say ‘you are going to score today’ and put a bit of pressure on me, but he always made me feel comfortable around him.
“He always had time to speak to anybody; it didn’t matter if you were the best player or the kitman or the tea lady, he would give you the time to speak to you and made you comfortable.“When he first came in to Leicester, everyone could see his vision, you could see straight away that he wanted to take that club as high as possible. You see some people who take over football clubs and they don’t go to a game, but he and his family were at every game and would even come to the training facilities and watch you train.
“He was proud to have a football club.
“The things he did for Leicester, not just the football club, but for the city, were magnificent. He put money into charities, the hospitals and universities. He wanted to make Leicester City Football Club big, but he wanted to put the city on the map as well.”
“He was fantastic with my family and me,” he continued. “We had a difficult time ourselves and he was happy for me to be with my family, take my time and come back when I was ready.
“My brother passed away through meningitis years ago and my wife did a walk to the Great Wall of China and his family donated £20,000, which they didn’t have to do, but we will be forever grateful for that.”