Leicester City’s chairman signals intentions

Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha has signalled his intentions for the club’s level of success.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is a hero in Leicester – and always will be. Considering the investment he made generally in the City and at the King Power Stadium – it is just. On Saturday, the Leicester City owner stated his projection for the club’s future.

Legendary status comes in many forms: Foxes fans are often treated to complimentary water, beer and on special occasions, cake. If the chairman has a windfall, birthday or profit he shares the wealth with the Blue Army. Incredibly, his generosity knows no limits: 60 people got free 2018/19 Leicester City season tickets.

A duty-free tycoon, but one involved in philanthropy: is a decent description of the Foxes head. He donates vast amounts to charity, hospitals and trusts.

‘A competitive Premier League force’

The reclusive 61-year-old made a typically brief statement about the club and their goals – excuse the pun – in the Wolverhampton Wanderers programme notes:

“Our primary ambition is a long-term one – to make Leicester City a sustainable and consistently competitive force in the Premier League. Season by season, we look for progress, which can come in many forms. Last season, under Claude Puel, we saw the start of an evolution in our squad, to a different, more methodical style of play and the further emergence of young players from our academy such as Ben Chilwell, Hamza Choudhury and Harvey Barnes.

“This season, our evolution will continue with new players in the squad and I’m excited to see the progress we can make. At the end of the season, results and league position, must always be put into context and it is in these broader distinctions that we monitor whether the club is successfully pursuing that long-term ambition.”

Via: LCFC Programme/ leicestermercury.co.uk

Assessment of the statement gives the assertion that the Thai owners are not finished with English silverware, regardless of being forced to sell arguably their best player. In fact “a premiership force” implies that Leicester City will challenge Man City, Liverpool et al for another title. That is speculatively optimistic, although, after 2016, not misguided.

Claude Puel also gets backing and compliments from the chairman and we can infer: the boss will keep his job – for now – despite poor results at the tail end of 2017/18. Here is a clear understanding between owner and manager: youth development, squad evolution, trophies and the realisation of potential. Aspirations which complement one another.

Accusations

In other news, King Power Duty Free, which Mr Srivaddhanaprabha owns could face criminal proceedings. Thailand Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases in Bangkok delayed decision on a 14 billion baht lawsuit. It stems from accusations of failing to pay £323 million to the Thai government.

“Self-made businessman Vichai founded King Power in 1989 but it really took off when it was granted an airport monopoly under the government of then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the former owner of Manchester City.”

According to Bangkok Reuters:

“A Thai court on Tuesday said it would extend a hearing into accusations of graft against Airports of Thailand Pcl (AOT) and duty-free retailer King Power, delaying a decision on whether to take up the case. A former anti-graft official, Charnchai Issarasenanark, sued executives from both firms last year in a private capacity, accusing King Power of failing to pay the Thai government 14 billion baht ($420 million) from the operation of a airport franchise it was granted in 2006.”

Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, the Midlands club’s vice-chairman and son of Vichai, is the chief executive of King Power. He vehemently denied any malpractice.

In addition there was the Financial Fair Play case: Leicester City agreed to a fine from the Football League of £3.1m. This settled a drawn out argument – one which cost Queens Park Rangers an apparent £40m. Information via Guardian. There may be changes there as QPR contest the decision.

Can Leicester City repeat 2015/16 success?

It is not out of the realm of possibility that Leicester City can achieve the same level of success they did by winning the top English league. In fact, the following season making the Champions League quarter-finals was also a remarkable accomplishment. Yet, the premiership title is unlikely in the near future as we witness the progression and infinite funding of clubs like Manchester City.

Saturday saw Wolves defeated by the Foxes at the King Power Stadium, hopefully Leicester can put a string of good results together now – despite missing suspended Jamie Vardy.