BANGKOK – The crowning of Leicester City Football Club (LCFC) as English Premier League (EPL) champions early this morning is welcomed by Thais, who are hungry for good news in these economically trying times.
The success of Leicester City, a modest club owned by Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, provides Thais with brief respite from the rising political temperatures due to the upcoming referendum on August 7.
“News of Leicester City’s success in facing all odds to become EPL champions has cooled down the heated political temperatures,” private sector employee Janjiran Nanan,34, told Bernama here, today.
The self confessed Liverpool fan said the success of Claudio Ranieri’s side in bagging the EPL crown is historic since Leicester were staring at relegation last season.
Leicester City were crowned as EPL champions this morning after second placed Tottenham Hotspurs squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with London rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The “Foxes,” as Leicester City are populary known, will go to their home game against Everton next week knowing they are the champions of England.
Leicester City’s popularity among Thais shot up since media shy Vichai bought the football club in 2010 after sponsoring their jersey for three seasons.
Vichai, the owner of King Power Duty Free Company and Thailand’s ninth richest man according to Forbes magazine last year, became the chairman of LCFC in 2011.
Janjira said Leicester City’s meteoric rise has endeared the club to Thais as it included “Thai Touches” such as the blessing of a Thai monk and other gestures.
Meanwhile, Sittishon Klinhom, 35, said the impossible feat achieved by Leicester City was made more memorable as it was nearly relegated last season.
“I am happy for the club not only because it is owned by a Thai but for the fans who have been waiting for this since the club was established. Today, their dreams have come true.
“The performance of Leicester City, who beat big budget clubs, is inspirational to other similar clubs,” added the private sector employee.
The “Foxes” success has also caught the attention of Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-o-chan who congratulated the team and its management.
The premier said he witnessed the rapid development of Leicester City this season, from being an unsuccessful football club to what it is today.
“It is better than buying a successful team and selling it later,” he said in a statement directed at former Manchester City owner Thaksin Shiwatra, the exiled former Thai prime minister.
In an interview with local media from England today, Vichai’s son, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said Leicester City will visit Thailand soon to thank Thai fans for their support. – BERNAMA