It was a day full of emotions and one that nobody in the stadium will forget. There were so many deeply moving images, but no more than the sight of Aiyawatt, the son of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who was running around the field after the final whistle, throwing back tears as the devotees sang his father's name.
Leicester's associates and players closely followed, along with Claudio Ranieri, Nigel Pearson and Craig Shakespeare, three of their former managers, as the club came together to applaud the fans and in particular show their support for Aiyawatt, who seemed overwhelmed by everything He left to the middle circle and held a Thailand flag.
"Forever in our hearts" was the message of the day, and the feeling of sadness was sometimes overwhelming, not only to Vichai, the former owner of Leicester, but also to the four others who died here in a helicopter crash fourteen days, Tributes were paid before. In many ways, it felt more like a public wake, and under the circumstances the game itself was largely irrelevant.
The whole occasion attracted the hearts. Leicester's players and many employees of the club had paid their honor to Vichai last weekend to attend his seven-day funeral, but for the followers, this was the opportunity to break with the humble 60s that made their dreams come true. "Champions of England, you let us sing that," echoed again and again.
A march of nearly three hours before the kick-off, from Jubilee Square in the city center to the King Power Stadium, set the tone for the day. Thousands turned out in honor of Vichai, including Harry Maguire, James Maddison, Andy King, Matty James and Hamza Choudhury, who were not part of Leicester's team squad. The rainbow that followed the rainstorm as the fans approached the ground was another disturbing and fitting picture on a gloomy day.
In tune with the dignified manner in which Leicester went through such a tragic history, fans were given commemorative scarves, pins and a souvenir program that was a touching tribute to past and present players and managers. The thoughts of Kasper Schmeichel were particularly moving, as the goalkeeper of Leicester recalled the shattering image he could not shake from his head for two weeks.
"I stood on the side of the field talking to a few of those who were closest to him that night, and waved them off as he took off, as I almost always did after home games. What happened next stays with us forever. It has been in my head every minute since then and wished I could have done something more. On the night of the 27th and the next morning, I stood for a long time at the police cordon in the back parking lot. Tears are streaming down my face. "
In the moments before the kick-off was in the stadium barely a dry eye. Alan Birchenall, the club's ambassador and former Leicester player, reflected on the remarkable Premier League title win as he stood in the middle of the field holding a microphone. The crowd hung on every word. "Without him, none of this would have been possible," Birchenall said. Every Leicester supporter applauded.
When a beautifully cut video tribute to Vichai was played on the big screens shortly afterwards, you might have heard a pin drop. At the end of this clip, the stadium fell silent again for two minutes with respect to everyone who died in the helicopter crash and also before Remembrance Sunday. Thirty thousand Leicester followers stood shoulder to shoulder, holding towering scarves with the inscription "Forever in our hearts." It was such a poignant moment that the followers of Burnley watched impeccably, who could never have been more respectful.
In truth, it was difficult to think of a more difficult environment for a football match, both for Burnley and for Leicester. It was no surprise that the game ended scoreless. Leicester had their chances, especially in the first half, when Jamie Vardy dropped his efforts from Matt Lowton, Rachid Ghezzal went to the bar and Joe Hart rescued Demarai Gray. In terms of Burnley, Chris Wood had a good chance in the second half. Not that anyone came here to talk about football.
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