The Pride of ASEAN

By Patipat Kittichokwattana

I woke up yesterday morning (October 29, 2018) with a terrible news from the Leicester City Football Club that a helicopter crashed outside the King Power Stadium shortly after take-off, an hour after Leicester City vs Westham United match has ended. The news unclearly reported that all passengers on board whether dead but needed investigation. Later, it was confirmed that Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was one of those passengers.

He is the owner of Leicester City Football Club, one of ASEAN’s prides. Leicester City FC had been promoted to the highest English league in 2013 and concentrate on surviving in the league that full of big teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, etc. Unbelievable, he made a miracle of underdog to win the English Premier League title in 2016.

To make a person’s memoirs of ASEAN pride in Europe, let’s see which European football clubs owned by ASEAN people.

  1. Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (Thai) purchased Leicester City F.C. (UK-Premier League) in 2010 and did a miracle to win the title English Premier League in 2016 season. He is admired as one of English football’s most successful owners. Recently, he purchased a Belgium 1st division team OH Leuven in 2017.
  2. Vincent Tan (Malaysian) purchased several European football clubs including K.V Kortrijk (Belgium First Division) in 2015, FK Sarajevo (Bosnia-Premier League) in 2013, and Cardiff City (UK-Premier League) in 2010. At Cardiff City, known as the Bluebirds, he faced a controversy following his decision to change the club’s colors from blue to red.
  3. Tony Fernandes (Malaysian) owner of the famous low-cost airline AirAsia, purchased majority shares of Queens Park Ranger F.C. (UK-Championship League) in 2011. The club had been successfully promoted to the Premier League in 2016 but fail to survive and relegated to play in the Championship League a season after.
  4. Peter Lim (Singaporean) owned 70.4% shares of Valencia (Spain- La Liga) in 2014. Although La Liga is in the fighting between 2 giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, the club ended with satisfactory 4th place in the last season. Interestingly, he also owns Mint Media which owns the image rights of Cristiano Ronaldo.
  5. Narin Niruttinanon (Thai) purchased 50% shares of Reading (UK-Championship League) in 2014. Recently, Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li (Chinese) have become the 75% majority and 25% owned by Narin Niruttinanon.
  6. Dejphon Chansiri (Thai) purchased Sheffield Wednesday (UK-Championship League) in 2015. After he steeped in, the club was almost won promotion into the Premier League in two consecutive years but fail at the play-offs round.
  7. Erick Thohir (Indonesian) owned 31% shares and acted as president of Inter Milan (Italy-Serie A) since 2013. Recently, he is reportedly to close a deal to take over another English soccer club, Oxford United, but he has to sell his shares in Inter Milan in order to do the deal.
  8. Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth (Thai) took over Oxford United (UK-League one, the third tier of English league) in early 2017 but now wish to sell the club to Erick Thohir.

Obviously, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is the most successful ASEAN people in European football league. He did a miracle in English Premier League history by beating odds of 5,000/1 to win the Premier League title. It is one of the greatest sporting stories of all time. Unlike other clubs, he developed a good relationship with the supporters by several means. For example, he celebrated his birthday by giving cakes for team supporters, giving drinks for travelling supporters, and buying breakfast and scarves for team supporters on away trips. Thus, he successfully brings ASEAN to more recognition in the world of modern football management.

With deep regret from Thai people.

[Photo Credit: Channel NewsAsia]