Search

Leicester v West Ham - putting football into perspective

PUBLISHED: 18:47 28 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:31 29 October 2018

Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (third right, holding out hand) getting into a helicopter after a match at the King Power Stadium. A helicopter has crashed outside the stadium following the Premier League game against West Ham.

Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (third right, holding out hand) getting into a helicopter after a match at the King Power Stadium. A helicopter has crashed outside the stadium following the Premier League game against West Ham.

PA Wire/PA Images

Leicester helicopter crash - a personal account

Leicester City chairmanLeicester City chairman

In the great scheme of things, I guess I need to be thankful to Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager.

If he had answered one more question, if he had got his interpreter to explain something else to him in his press conference then we could have been delayed by a couple of fateful minutes.

He didn’t and we left the stadium as normal and made our way to our car park at the British Gas plant just up the road.

Myself, fellow journalist Steve Blowers and photographer Rob Newell were about 100 yards from the stadium when we heard the Leicester chairman’s helicopter take to the sky from the centre of the pitch.

Leicester City manager Claude Puel during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.Leicester City manager Claude Puel during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

And within seconds, chaos ensued. The helicopter made a strange noise and then plummeted. It crashed into the car park adjacent to the ground and the next thing we saw was a fireball.

Smoke was everywhere, the fire raged as the police made it to the site in an incredibly quick time, their sirens blaring.

We had been ready to talk about West Ham on the way home.

About Mark Noble’s red card; about the promise of Grady Diangana; the frustration over Felipe Anderson; about a battling rearguard action by the defence which was ended by a wicked deflection.

Leicester helicopter fireLeicester helicopter fire

But all that became irrelevant on a night when people going to football on a Saturday evening did not get to go home again.

We all support different teams, but when things like this happen we can all put things into perspective and come together as football fans.

Like the elderly Brighton fan who lost his life on Saturday; like the collapse of former England manager and Tottenham hero Glenn Hoddle and like the death of Leicester City’s chairman who helped to create one of the greatest moments in football history when the Foxes won the Premier League, it brings us all together.

The three of us managed to get to our car and away from the crash scene as quickly as we could, the fire still raging nearby.

Rob didn’t want to take pictures, even if he could have made lots of money out of them. The thought of it made him feel sick.

Steve warned someone still inside the press room that they may be delayed in getting out.

People phoned me to make sure I was all right, to make sure I hadn’t been caught up in the devastation at the King Power Stadium.

I had, but I and my two colleagues had been lucky. The West Ham fans who had left the ground on the final whistle had been lucky.

They all got to go home that night and think about the clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night.

That Brighton fan didn’t get to go home; Hoddle remains in the hospital and a hugely popular, hugely successful Leicester owner, who had brought so much joy to a club and a city, didn’t get to go home either.

The legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once said: “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.”

But of course that is not true and last weekend illustrated that perfectly.

Latest Barking and Dagenham Stories

16:00

Coasters could have been several goals up before Daggers drew level

14:00

Harry Redknapp is currently taking part in the latest series of I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!

13:00

Barking assistant manager Andre Thomas was pleased to get back to winning ways as his side sealed a 2-1 win against Soham Town Rangers.

12:00

May & Baker captain Richard Oxby says the whole team was pleased to seal their progress into the quarter-finals of the First Division Knockout Cup with a comfortable 6-1 victory against Lopes Tavares.

A rogue landlord has been fined more than £30,000 after converting a family home in Barking into flats.

10:00

Gale Street side won 27-12 away from home on Saturday

Detectives investigating the fatal stabbing of 22-year-old Ayodeji Habeeb Azeez have arrested a fifth person.

Students and staff at Barking’s Technical Skills Academy raised nearly £1,000 for Children in Need.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Are you aged over 25 and an unpaid carer? If you want to return to employment but need practical help and support to get there, Working for Carers can help.

Everest Estates stress-free service guarantees a fixed income for your East London or Essex property every month, even if no one is currently living there. Here they talk about the scheme and explain how it can help you dodge common letting headaches.

Barking and Dagenham is home to Better Extreme, London’s largest indoor skatepark. Whatever your discipline, be it skateboarding, inline, BMX or scootering, there’s a challenge waiting for you.

Newsletter Sign Up

Barking and Dagenham Post twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read sport

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Barking and Dagenham Post
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now