BANGKOK – Leicester City’s Thai owners will be hailed as conquering heroes having arrived back in Thailand with their Championship-winning team. Manager Nigel Pearson said it was an accolade they fully deserve.
The club’s chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and his son and vice-chairman Aiyawatt, known as Top, have flown the entire City squad and backroom team to Thailand for a week to celebrate booking a place in the Premier League with a week of relaxation and civic functions.
Pearson said that the owners had played a crucial part in the club’s achievement and should be applauded for their commitment to the club, having fulfilled their pledge to take City back to the Premier League.
“It is important to recognize the input the owners have had,” he said.
“They have been patient, which has been great for ourselves because you very rarely get time in football.
“I am really pleased for them. They are a very successful family in Thailand and this is reward for their commitment to Leicester City.
“I don’t think at any point there has been any question marks over their long-term commitment to the club and that in itself is something people need to understand and recognize.
“There have been some sweeping statements made about foreign ownership in English football, but my experiences have been very positive.”
Pearson said he was certainly going to take the opportunity to recharge his batteries after a gruelling season, but he said it was more important for him mentally than physically.
Pearson has had both knees replaced over the past two seasons and spent a spell in hospital after being taken ill following City’s game at Blackburn in March.
But he says it was vital he refreshed psychologically.
“Last year I was drowning my sorrows and this year I am celebrating,” he said.
“You have to get the balance right and, for me, you have to recharge mentally as much as anything.
“On a physical level, I have had two major operations in the last two years but I have only missed three or four days of work in that time. I missed as much time after the Blackburn game as I did after a knee replacement.
“I don’t miss a lot of time off work but it can have a draining effect on your abilities from a more psychological view so it is important to get the balance right. We have a number of commitments at the end of the season which are very important to the club.
“My priorities will be firstly, to try to achieve what the close season goals are player-wise and, on a personal level, I have to make sure, when we reconvene, I am mentally refreshed and ready for what is a fantastic challenge.”