Remembrance: Khun Vichai
As Leicester City fans, we sure are grateful that Khun Vichai bought the club in 2011. Remembering there was a time when the club nearly filed for bankruptcy to then ownership under Milan Mandarić then got lucky that Khun Vichai decided to buy Leicester City. When LCFC could have been run by international or national businessmen like those who ran/run Wigan Athletic, Birmingham City and various other clubs.
Missing out on the Championship play offs, winning the Championship in a record high, to beating all the odds to stay in the Premier League to the shocking 5000-1 odds of actually winning the Premier League to playing in the Champions League, its been a hell of a journey under the ownership of Khun Vichai at Leicester City.
Khun Vichai and his son Khun Top should be a measuring scale on how to successfully run a football club.
They on one side run it as a business with the values of sustainability, continued growth with short term objectives and long term goal. On the other side they run it as a football club in the community fostering togetherness, community spirit, a sense of belonging and something to look forward to positively.
Some football club owners either run their clubs as a money pit or a money fountain. Some owners keep drowning their money in the hope of winning something or use it a place where you keep taking out money from fans, debts and other means. Khun Vichai did neither, he ran it as a community business and a protector and holder of the football club.
When Khun Vichai bought the club he wiped out the debt of roughly £103 million as an long-term investment into the club. Then gradually investing in the business till it was self sustainable. Once the club had reached the Premier League and having gloriously won the league against all odds, there was a shift in the short term and long term goals which lead to renewed growth forecast leading to need to more investments to achieve them. This time though they took out loans, as the business was now self sustainable at this level. The loan was for the new training ground, to help the club grow further from its current level of stability.
Sense of family, community and belonging are the ethos inside and outside the club. From players, to managers, to support staff who have come into the club all felt the family and community atmosphere. This was fostered and maintained at all levels in the club right from the owners down to the part time workers.
The local hospitals, university and community at large in Leicester also benefited from Khun Vichai. Its was this spirit and togetherness amongst the players and staff helped in the Premier League triumph. And its is still mood and feeling today that led to Leceister City being the only football club to say to NO to the PPV scheme when all others voted yes.