An hour after Leicester City’s Premier League clash with West Ham United, the Foxes’ owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha left the stadium in his helicopter. Shortly after, it crashed outside.
Although there has been no official confirmation about who was on the aircraft, fans have been gathering in their hundreds to pay respects to an owner widely regarded as a hero after leading the club to the Premiership title two years ago.
“I’m just devastated really,” said Richard Jackson.
“These owners have been absolutely fantastic. Probably the best owners in the whole English system. They have been so good to the club, team and fans.
“He has been an amazing chairman, just fantastic.”
The season ticket holder, from Market Bosworth in Leicestershire, said he had to come to the stadium with his friends because “they wanted to pay our respects”.
“They have done so much for Leicester. The least we can do is come down and show respect.”
Richard Mobbs, 68, of Burton Overy, has been a Leicester fan for more than 50 years and was gifted this year’s season ticket by the owner’s family.
“I knew the owners from the polo as well as the football. I spoke to Vichai a lot. It is such a shock. You just have to pay your respects,” he said.
Mr Mobbs described the chairman as a “lovely, quiet, down to earth man”.
Dave Challoner, 53, of Saffron Lane in the city, has been a Leicester fan since he was a child. He said he was going to go for a quiet drink with friends to “raise a glass to the gaffer for what he has done for this club”.
“He really looked after the club. It’s a kick in the teeth.”
Anupat Maturongpituck, 27, who is from Thailand but living in the city while studying at the University of Leicester, said: “I wanted to come and pay my respects. He is very famous in Thailand.
He added that the news has had a “great impact” in Thailand.
Jemma Swinfield, 33, came to the stadium with her family Dolcie, 5, and son Archie, 8. Dolcie laid her stuffed bunny as a tribute, below, while Archie left his beloved Leicester City shirt.
Ms Swinfield said: “Archie did not know what had happened but put his Leicester top on today.
“We are so sad. You don’t expect it to happen. It makes you realise your own mortality.”