By Simon Duncan
BANGKOK — The “Siamese Foxes” arrived in Suvarnabhumi early this morning to celebrate the unexpected success of Leicester City FC this season with Thai fans.
One day after an estimated 240,000 people took to the streets of Leicester, England, to greet their heroes, the team jetted off to spend the rest of the week in Thailand at the invitation of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, CEO of King Power, a visit that will culminate with a parade through the capital.
Leicester arrived early Wednesday on flight TG 911. After meeting the media and early rising fans at the nation’s largest airport they were to be allowed a few hours to recuperate before a 2pm news conference.
Six team members did not make the trip, including star striker James Vardy and midfielder Danny Drinkwater, as both players are in England manager Roy Hodgson’s provisional squad for Euro 2016 and currently training in England, according to Leicester City’s official website.
N’Golo Kante was also missing due to a commitment with the French national team. Riyad Mahrez, Daniel Amartey and Nathan Dyer are also absent from the trip, according to the club’s site.
Thursday morning the team will travel to the Royal Palace where they will sign a book wishing his majesty the King good health.
That afternoon Leicester City will parade around part of the city. The parade starts at 4:30pm from King Power HQ and returns there approximately one hour later after completing a loop that will sweep past Siam Paragon and CentralWorld.
A map of Thursday’s victory parade route. Photo: Leicester City FC Thailand / Facebook
A spokesperson for King Power declined to provide details on what the “Siamese Foxes,” as Leicester is being marketed in Thailand, plan to do for the remainder of their trip which is believed to be for one week.
Good Guys in, Bad Guys Out
Leicester City FC were last in the City of Angels at the invite of owner Vichai in May 2015 following a season when they narrowly avoided relegation from the top flight of English football. The tour was aimed at boosting support for the team in Thailand.
That trip ended in disgrace as three members of the academy team, including the son of then-manager Nigel Pearson, starred in a viral sex tape in which they used racially abusive language towards Thai women.
Soon after the scandal Vichai fired the manager, his son and the two other youth players. Following that Italian Claudio Ranieri was appointed as new manager, a decision initially met with derision from the media and the team were ranked as 5,000-1 outsiders to win the Premier League.
People around the world know what happened next, although not everyone can agree on why it happened. Some Thais pin the success of the “Siamese Foxes” on magic monks, while many local Leicester fans in England seem to think that re-burying King Richard the III in Leicester last year paved the way to success.
Additional reporting Sasiwan Mokkhasen