Watford gesture moves Leicester

LONDON • Leicester and Watford might be Premier League rivals but, off the pitch, there is respect between both clubs.

On Saturday, the Foxes reciprocated a touch of class from Hornets fans by providing them with free food and drinks at half-time at the King Power Stadium.

The home team ran out 2-0 winners, courtesy of a Jamie Vardy penalty and James Maddison, but the main talking point had been a banner that was unfurled by away fans at the game, reading: "Thank you Vichai for allowing us all to dream. Rest in peace".

The tribute, which was organised by the Watford fans' group, the 1881 Movement, was in honour of the late Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who died in a helicopter crash just outside the stadium on Oct 27 along with four other victims.

The Watford meeting was only Leicester's second league match at home since the tragedy and both sets of fans rose in unison for a standing ovation once the banner was unveiled.

The club's vice-chairman and Vichai's son, Aiyawatt, was so moved by the "amazing" gesture that he made an offer of complimentary refreshments, which they accepted.

Foxes manager Claude Puel also hailed the supporters for their gracious message, telling Sky Sports: "I would like to thank the Watford fans about the banner. It's a fantastic feeling and fantastic support for our chairman."

The group had raised £2,545 (S$4,450) for their efforts, exceeding their initial target of £800, and afterwards, they tweeted that the surplus funds were going to the Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha Foundation, which helps people in need in the Leicester area.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2018, with the headline 'Watford gesture moves Leicester'. Print Edition | Subscribe