A petition has been set up by Leicester City supporters, backing one of their season-ticket holders who was banned for running onto the pitch to hug Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s son.
The Foxes fan, Tom Merry, jumped over a barrier to comfort the club’s vice-chairman, who was walking around the pitch following the 0-0 draw with Burnley, after his father died in a helicopter crash at the King Power Stadium last month.
Security staff however waited until the fan had finished his hug before whisking him away to a holding cell.
The club then wrote to let the fan know that he had been banned from attending the ground for three months.
A petition was launched after supporters deemed the punishment as harsh. It has since been signed over 1,000 times.
— another lcfc fan (@iwanisawelshman) November 11, 2018
@ICoulton @LCFC @premierleague shocking decision from the club and Ian coulton to ban a life long fan for running on the pitch and hugging top the club have handled the Vichai situation brilliantly and they have really let themselves down here pic.twitter.com/gHjyY8NK0I
— Spencer Beck (@spencerbeckk) November 15, 2018
The fan spoke about what happened, as quoted by Leicestershire Live: “ I couldn’t help myself, I just wanted to give ‘Top’ a cuddle.
“I was just overcome with emotion.
“Vichai has done so much for this club and when I saw Top crying as he walked round the ground, I just thought it was right to give him a cuddle.
“Top gave me a cuddle back and told me he appreciated it.
“He said he loved me and all of the Leicester fans who had supported him at this time.
“I was kept there (holding cell) for about 20 minutes while they checked with the club what they wanted to do with me, but the club said ‘let him go’.
“I’m so sorry, I was just overcome with emotion.
“I know that rules are rules, but it’s something I’ve never done before and won’t do again.
“I do feel the ban is a little bit harsh, but it was well worth it, I will never regret it, but I would like to meet Top to say sorry.”
If you want to sign the petition, just click HERE.
Fans took to social media to criticize the club’s actions and that they should have known better – take a look at that reaction on the next page.