Leicester "mission" in safe hands with tragic owner’s son, says predecessor

Milan Mandaric is backing Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s son to continue his family’s successful ­football “mission”.

Serbian-American businessman ­Mandaric sold Leicester City to the late Thai billionaire in 2010 for £39million.

The decision paved the way for Srivaddhanaprabha to bankroll a “revolution” which saw the Foxes crowned Premier League two years ago in the greatest football story ever told.

But the club has since been plunged into tragedy following Saturday’s fatal helicopter crash at the King Power ­Stadium, which claimed the lives of all five passengers aboard, ­including chairman and owner ­Srivaddhanaprabha.

His son, ­Aiyawatt, is now stepping up from his position as ­vice-chairman to run the club and also his father’s duty-free business ­empire.

Mandaric has backed Aiyawatt, known as Top, to continue to invest in the club.

He told Mirror Sport: “Top is a very intelligent young man. He is very like his father. He knows football is not just any type of business, but there are emotions ­involved.

“Leicester is in safe hands under him.

“Knowing ­Vichai, Top has got the same ­determination as his dad to continue the mission. I am sure all of the Leicester fans will support him too in the absence of his father.”

Mandaric says he was ­determined to sell Leicester to the right owner after his ­previous exit from Portsmouth.

After Pompey were sold to Alexandre ‘Sacha’ Gaydamak in 2006, ­debts spiralled to over £100m amid a succession of brief, ill-fated regimes which led to administration and relegation from the Premier League in 2012.

In contrast, Mandaric was able to watch with pride as Srivaddhanaprabha helped Leicester to that fairytale title triumph and into the ­Champions League as they upset the ­traditional domestic powers.

“I felt from the beginning he was a good man who would take care of the football club," said the 80-year-old, who has also owned Sheffield Wednesday.

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"He really did and created a revolution in football with the team ­winning the title – it was an ­incredible story.

“I am so sorry for the family and everyone ­connected with Leicester now, it is a great club. I feel a big sorrow to lose a man like that. He was a good human being and we will miss him greatly because we developed a relationship.

“It was important to me when I was looking to sell that I found an owner to take care of my legacy. I am still very unhappy with what happened at Portsmouth.

“In my mind, Portsmouth couldn’t happen again. So I was going to make sure with Leicester I found the right person.”

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