May 29, 2023

‘We’ll be back’ says Leicester chairman after relegation

‘We’ll be back’ says Leicester chairman after relegation

Leicester chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha has vowed to lead his club back into the Premier League as the former champions come to terms with their relegation.

Leicester were condemned to the second tier on Sunday after Everton’s 1-0 win against Bournemouth rendered the Foxes’ 2-1 victory over West Ham irrelevant.

They are only the second former Premier League champions after Blackburn to the relegated from the top-flight.

Leicester’s fairytale title success seven years ago seems a distant memory as they face up to a first season in the Championship since 2014.

It is a remarkable fall from grace and Srivaddhanaprabha claimed angry fans have sent him offensive messages calling for him to sell the club.

But the Thai businessman insisted he would remain in charge and promised to put Leicester back on track next season.

“I have received a massive number of messages from our fans, both positive and negative,” Srivaddhanaprabha said in a statement published on the Leicester website.

“Some want me to sell the club, some using offensive and thoughtless words, and some have been outright abusive.

“But for every hurtful message I have received, I have also received messages of support, of appreciation, of unity, both remotely and from people I have met anonymously in public, who always come to say hello to me and to my family. It means a lot to us.”

Srivaddhanaprabha’s father Vichai and his family bought Leicester in 2010.

Club chairman Khun Vichai was killed in a helicopter accident at the King Power Stadium in 2018.

“It was the most painful experience for me and for my family, but the support and love we received from our Leicester City family made our bond even stronger,” Srivaddhanaprabha said.

“I made a commitment, as chairman, to continuing to pursue the ambition my father and I shared for the club, to ensure that the realisation of his vision for Leicester City would ultimately become his legacy.

“Next season is going to be tough, but it will be a year for collaboration and unity. We will come together and fight to return to the Premier League.”

– ‘A lot of changes’ –

Srivaddhanaprabha added: “Relegation is a consequence of 38 games and over that period, we haven’t been good enough.

“Today we share the loss and the pain together. But we will be back.”

A large number of players including Jonny Evans and Youri Tielemans are out of contract and likely to leave the King Power Stadium in the close-season.

England midfielder James Maddison and talented winger Harvey Barnes look set to be sold to help balance the expected financial losses of at least £60 million ($74 million).

Leicester boss Dean Smith also faces an uncertain future, with his short-term contract set to expire after he replaced Brendan Rodgers in April.

Former Manchester United centre-back Evans, 35, revealed the Leicester squad had said their goodbyes in the dressing room ahead of a likely close-season exodus.

“It is a tough thing to take. There was silence for a long time in the dressing room afterwards. We know there are a lot of players out of contract,” he said.

“There are going to be a lot of changes in the football club.

“It was an opportunity for everybody to say goodbye really. A lot of us don’t know where we are going to end up.

“I said to the boys it has been an amazing five years but the club now have decisions to make.”