Paul Stewart column: Leicester City tragedy puts everything into perspective

Among the many tributes to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was the minute's silence before kick-off in the Arsenal v Blackpool Carabao Cup tie at the Emirates on Wednesday
Among the many tributes to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was the minute's silence before kick-off in the Arsenal v Blackpool Carabao Cup tie at the Emirates on Wednesday

I think sport pales into insignificance this week with the tragedy that unfolded at the King Power Stadium after Leicester City’s evening game against West Ham United last Saturday, especially at a time when there is a huge disconnection between club owners, players, staff and supporters.

In today’s climate, the chairman/owners of clubs often have no affinity with any of the above; this could certainly not be labelled at Leicester’s Thai owner.

I played in an era when club chairmen travelled with the players on the team bus, and would interact and often socialise with the team and coaching staff.

Two spring to mind – Irving Scholar at Spurs and David Moores at Liverpool FC.

Since the media reported on Saturday’s horrific accident, the love, affection and devastation at Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s loss has been incredible, with players and supporters visibly affected by the disaster.

One can’t help but admire the way players and supporters paid tribute to what he did for the club.

I don’t think in our lifetime we will see another club of the stature of Leicester City winning the Premier League title.

And whatever our allegiances, I don’t think any of us would have denied them winning it.

The odds were stacked against them and it was an absolutely incredible achievement.

I really hope that the club and the city can find the strength to pull together, stay strong, rebuild and make Leicester City a club that Mr Srivaddhanaprabha would want it to be.

I think everyone in football hopes the city can heal and remember what the owner did for the club.

We also hope that everyone involved ensures that his name lives long in the memory of Leicester City FC.

I also want to wish Glenn Hoddle a speedy recovery after his heart attack at the BT Sport studio last Saturday.

Being an ex-Spurs player, I know how much Glenn means to Tottenham Hotspur, where he is aptly named the King of White Hart Lane.

As I said, after what has happened this is not a week when sport should be celebrated.

Maybe it puts things into perspective – football is only a game.

And please spare a thought for Mr Srivaddhanaprabha, and for his family and the people of Leicester.

Finally, can I ask you to support the charity game at Blackpool Wren Rovers this evening (7.30pm).

A local lad known as Big Ry (Ryan Smith)works tirelessly to organise charity sporting events and his latest is a football match to raise funds to provide Blackpool’s homeless community with a Christmas dinner over the festive period.

Local celebrities from all sports will be coming together – including Trevor Sinclair, Colin Hendry, Matty Askin and many more – to raise funds for those less fortunate than ourselves.

So please come along and support Big Ry and the lads for this great cause. The admission price to watch Big Ry’s Ex-Pros v Blackpool Wren Rovers Veterans is £5.

I always welcome your questions or comments. You can write to me via The Gazette’s sportsdesk at tango@blackpoolgazette.co.uk