On Saturday evening Leicester City drew 1-1 at home to West Ham United.
The game contained moments that could be considered dramatic, when framed within the context of football. Jamie Vardy was left out of the starting eleven. Fabian Balbuena put West Ham ahead after half an hour. Mark Noble was shown a straight red before the break.
The crowd roared their approval as Vardy emerged as a half time substitute.
There were wild celebrations when City eventually managed a fortunate equaliser a minute from time when a wildly deflected shot from Wilfred Ndidi span up into the net. Then a subdued spell in stoppage time when it became clear that Daniel Amartey had suffered a very serious ankle injury.
All the usual ups and downs of the game that means so much to us all, and plenty to discuss as we made our way home. But we may never quite feel the same way again.
Tragedy was waiting to strike.
For those people usually left in the stadium an hour after the game, mostly the media and club employees, the sight of the owners’ helicopter landing in the centre of the pitch picking them up and then taking them away has become a well-established routine.
But this was to go horrifically wrong on this tragic night.
The helicopter took off, cleared the stands, but made it no further than the car park just to the south east of the ground.
With many members of the media still in the ground the news that there had been a major incident swiftly spread to the supporters. Film of the burning wreckage was shown on TV and we spent a gut-wrenching evening desperately trying to establish some facts amid all the speculation.
By Sunday morning things were a little clearer. Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha had been on board, but his son vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha had not attended the game. It appears that five people including the pilots were in the helicopter, but official confirmation is still to come.
Throughout Sunday supporters have been going down to the King Power Stadium, adding shirts, flowers and scarves to an area outside the family stand set aside for tributes. It is very quiet down there, we’re not the most demonstrative people in Leicester, but people are struggling to hold back the tears. There are shirts and messages from many other clubs, reflecting the wave of support from all over the country via social media.
If you aren’t a Leicester City fan it may be hard to understand the depth of feeling that this loss has caused. Football owners can be a funny breed. There are good ones and bad ones, some are liked, many are hated. But what we had were the very best owners you could wish for.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha took the club from being a debt-riddled Championship side, to one that stormed into the Premier League, survived relegation from a seemingly hopeless position, then achieved the virtually impossible by winning the Premier League title. No Leicester City fan could ever have envisaged Leicester lining up for a Champions League quarter-final. But Vichai delivered, and he did it with quiet dignity, good Thai manners, a respect for our club’s tradition, and huge generosity. Not only the club, but also the wider Leicester community have benefited from this, from the millions that went to local hospitals to his donation towards the reburial of King Richard III.
The loss of such a great man has cut us deep, and our thoughts are with the Srivaddhanaprabha family, and with anyone else who was involved in the tragedy.
We can only echo the words written on one of the shirts now lying outside the ground: ‘Thank you Vichai, you made our dreams come true’.