This may be tough to take in at first, but it’s been claimed that Jamie Vardy wasn’t always the very model of sportsmanship and professionalism he is today.
According to Leicester City vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, Vardy struggled to adapt to life as a full-time professional when he first arrived at the club and resorted to frittering away large chunks of his new-found riches on booze. Shock and indeed horror.
Speaking to Thai magazine ‘A Day’, Srivaddhanaprabha revealed that he definitely had his doubts about the striker at first:
I was against signing Jamie Vardy in the first place. I asked Nigel Pearson and Steve Walsh about him, checked the scout reports, and I started to believe he would be a good signing, but I had to answer the supporters who were asking ‘how is a non-league player worth £1million?’
It turned out I was the dumbest club owner in the world to them. I asked Pearson and Walsh, if I have only £1million transfer budget for the next season, who would you buy? And they replied ‘Vardy’. Then I said ‘go’.
Back then, I think he didn’t even have what it took to play in the Premier League. The day we bought him, he came to me and thanked me for changing his life.
He had never had this much money so he was over the moon already. He went straight from the bottom to the Championship, which eventually led him to start drinking booze every single day. We had no idea what to do.
I didn’t know about this until someone told me that he came to train while he was still drunk. So I went talk to him myself, I asked ‘do you wish to end your career like this? Do you want to stay here like this? We’ll let your contract run out, then release you. Don’t expect a better career path’.
He said he didn’t know what to do with his life. He’d never earned such a large amount of money. So I asked him ‘what’s your dream? How do you think your life should be? Just think carefully about what would you do for the club. I invested in you, do you have to do something in return?’
After that he simply quit drinking and started working hard in training. His physicality wasn’t as good as it is now. We know he had explosive acceleration, but we simply had no idea he could be this good.
He’s adapting, working on fitness training, he’s turned into a new person. And that’s better.
Suppose it is, yes.