Kevin Hitchcock played in a helicopter crash four days after the death of Chelsea boss Matthew Harding

Kevin Hitchcock played in a helicopter crash four days after the death of Chelsea boss Matthew Harding

The helicopter accident, in which Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, along with four passengers and the crew on board claimed their lives, shattered the impression of the tragedy demanded by former Chelsea colonel Matthew Harding in October 1996.

Like Srivaddhanaprabha, Blues's vice-chairman once returned from a Chelsea game – a League Cup tie in Bolton – when the helicopter on which he was traveling crashed due to bad weather.

Goalkeeper Kevin Hitchcock played against Bolton that night before hearing the heartbreaking news of Harding's death the next morning.

Hitchcock, who completed more than 100 appearances for Chelsea, spoke with Sami Mokbel of Sportsmail about the overwhelming grief Stamford Bridge felt after Harding's hard death.

Matthew Harding, vice president of Chelsea, died in October 1996 in a tragic helicopter crash

Matthew Harding, vice president of Chelsea, died in October 1996 in a tragic helicopter crash

Matthew Harding, vice president of Chelsea, died in October 1996 in a tragic helicopter crash

I wish I could say it will be easier for the Leicester boys, but unfortunately this is only the beginning.

There is still much pain and sadness. Matthew's funeral was about a week later and I only remember that it was so incredibly sad. You have everything to come.

Players will handle it differently; but I found it helped me enormously to throw myself into football.

When I heard the news of the helicopter crash in Leicester, de ja vu was the first thing I felt. I've seen that before.

The similarities between the two incidents are scary. Matthew was such a human being, as was Srivaddhanaprabha.

Dennis Wise, Kevin Hitchcock, and Steve Clarke (L-R) make a flourishing homage to Harding before beating Tottenham just four days after his death

Dennis Wise, Kevin Hitchcock, and Steve Clarke (L-R) make a flourishing homage to Harding before beating Tottenham just four days after his death

Dennis Wise, Kevin Hitchcock, and Steve Clarke (L-R) make a flourishing homage to Harding before beating Tottenham just four days after his death

Striker Jamie Vardy and wife Rebekah put a wreath in memory of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Striker Jamie Vardy and wife Rebekah put a wreath in memory of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

Striker Jamie Vardy and wife Rebekah put a wreath in memory of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

I know Kasper Schmeichel well and reading his words was heartbreaking.

There were no video cameras or social media in 1996, so I did not find out until the next morning because we returned from Bolton.

I was called by Capital Radio and asked me to talk about it. Shock, complete and complete shock. We all tried to figure out how it happened.

Her first thought was his family. I had a young family at the time when I could not understand what they were going through.

As an individual not registered, there was a deafness. They just think that everything will be alright.

I remember that just four days later we played a big London derby against Tottenham on Stamford Bridge.

After the death of Harding there were flowery tributes, cloths and messages at Stamford Bridge

After the death of Harding there were flowery tributes, cloths and messages at Stamford Bridge

After the death of Harding there were flowery tributes, cloths and messages at Stamford Bridge

The fans have paid tribute to those who died before King Power Stadium

The fans have paid tribute to those who died before King Power Stadium

The fans have paid tribute to those who died before King Power Stadium

The atmosphere was so emotional. I remember coming out of the tunnel to put a wreath and put it at the stall where Matthew once sat.

I vividly remember the tears, you can not contain those emotions. People see us as footballers, but above all, we are human – we have the same feelings.

But strangely, once you've started the game – just for 90 minutes – forget it. They focus on the game, they focus on winning the football game we did 3-1.

If I recall correctly, my teammate David Lee broke his leg in the game. In the heat of the moment, your thoughts immediately shift to your teammate.

Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed on Saturday in an accident under five

Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed on Saturday in an accident under five

Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed on Saturday in an accident under five

Harding's wife Ruth was at the bottom of the Tottenham game four days after the accident

Harding's wife Ruth was at the bottom of the Tottenham game four days after the accident

Ruthing's wife Ruth was at the bottom of the Tottenham game four days after the accident

Football can take the pain. Everyone has a lot in their lives, but football can help you flee even for a short time.

In the days immediately after, the training ground was so muted. Normally, Harlington was the best place to be, usually it growls.

However, after the accident, the training ground was so quiet. The people just kept to themselves.

However, football was totally different during that time – we just expected to handle it.

There were metal fences where fans could tie cloths and leave their own respect

There were metal fences where fans could tie cloths and leave their own respect

There were metal fences where fans could tie scarves and leave their own respect

Nowadays football clubs are full of employees who can help – even if it's the chaplain.

Footballers can sometimes be selfish people, in times like these you have to do the best for them.

After all, Matthews death left the club. We wanted to do the best for Matthew.

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