Burnley striker Wood saddened by death of Leicester owner Srivaddhanaprabha

Chris Wood in his Leicester days
Chris Wood in his Leicester days
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The death of Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha has hit all those who knew him at the King Power Stadium, and Clarets striker Chris Wood is no different.

Burnley are the visitors on Saturday as the Foxes play their first home game since the Thai businessman and four others died in a helicopter crash outside the stadium.

Wood was a Leicester player for more than two years, helping them win the Championship title in 2014, and stay in the Premier League amid a great escape a year later.

That set the groundwork for the remarkable Premier League win the following year, by which time Wood had left for Leeds.

The New Zealand international thought a lot of Srivaddhanaprabha, and admits it will be an emotional afternoon on Saturday, albeit he hopes Burnley take the points after paying their respects.

Wood said: “Vichai was a great, respected person both at the club and Leicester in general, so there’s going to be a lot of emotion around the game.

“I’ve passed on regards to a couple of the guys that I was close to. It’s a tough time for them, especially the boys that I knew, who had already been there a few years, so they knew the owner very well. They’ve had a tough time after it.

“It definitely hit me. Vichai talked to everybody, he got to know everybody and he was definitely a family man. He’d do everything for you, so yeah, it did hit home, someone who was so close.

“He would do anything for you, anything for your family if you needed it.

“If he had heard from someone that something had happened with the family he would go out of his way to show his support. He was just that type of person and they’re that type of family.

“He didn’t mind coming to the training ground and coming to talk to people and having lunch with the guys.

“He was just a normal bloke to us, he didn’t pose as anything different. We had dinner as a team and had days and afternoons out, he was just a down to earth guy and that’s how everyone will remember him. He was just a great guy.”

“He’s a man who’s done a lot for the club, if not more for Leicester in general. He’s definitely helped the community in that sense and the city has grown because of him.

But Wood feels his achievements will long be remembered: “He’s definitely started a huge legacy at Leicester and I know his son Aiyawatt will keep that going and he would like to fulfil his dad’s dreams. As a family I have the utmost respect for them so I’m sure they’ll keep that going.

“The Premier League title is obviously the pinnacle. Even if they didn’t have that sitting there he’s done huge amounts for that club to bring them from where they were in League One and now the Premier League top 10, and of course the outstanding season in winning the Premier League.

“He’s made a huge legacy there and he’s done a lot for the city as well.”

But Wood, who netted his first Premier League goal of the season at West Ham last week, is only focused on the game once the whistle blows: “We’re going to have to approach the game like any other game. That’s what we’ve been doing all week.

“We know on the day there are going to be certain things that we’re going to have to do, in terms of paying our respects, which is fine. We’ll do that. But as soon as that first whistle goes, we’re ready for kick-off.

“We’ll be focused on the 90 minutes. We’ll play hard, play for the win.”

“At the end of the day it’s our job so as soon as that whistle goes we have to be mentally right. This is what we have to deal with. You have to deal with 50,000 every week. It’s a certain mental strength that you’re going to have to deal with.

“Yes there are going to be huge amounts of emotion on the day but once that whistle goes you have to set it all aside and you have to play for the win because ultimately that’s massively important to our club.

“It’s a very surreal occasion. It’s a huge tragedy that happened so it’s going to be filled with emotion both on and off the pitch, especially from their side. We’ll pay our respects then fight hard.”