Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri led his team to pay tribute to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej before the start of the English Premier League champions’ home game against Crystal Palace at King Power Stadium on Saturday.
he sight of the veteran Italian coach holding the framed portrait of HM the King during a minute’s silence observed by the whole stadium before kick-off was really touching for millions of Thais still mourning the passing of the country’s beloved monarch.
The image of the King was flashed up on the scoreboards, while a message of condolence was displayed on LED screens around the pitch, with duty-free store tycoon Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the owner of the Midlands club, among the spectators at the stadium.
The atmosphere ahead of the Palace fixture was in stark contrast to the last time the King’s image was seen at the stadium when Vichai led a lap of honour at the end of the club’s final home game against Everton last season to celebrate the team’s fairytale title triumph.
The Thai-owned outfit also displayed placards of the club’s name in black and white to pay respect to the late King before Tuesday’s home Champions League fixture against FC Copenhagen, while flags, including the national Thai flag, were flown at half-mast in front of Leicester’s home ground.
Meanwhile, the Royal Anthem sung in unison by tens of thousands of Thais at Sanam Luang on Saturday could also be heard almost half a world away as second-tier English outfit Sheffield Wednesday, another Thai-owned club, played the song as a tribute to the King before the home league game against Queens Park Rangers.
The song was played along with the display of HM the King’s images on the giant screen at Hillsborough Stadium during two minutes’ silence prior to the kickoff of the match, which Wednesday won 1-0.
(With thanks to The Nation, Thailand)