Friday, January 9, 2009
More on Elton's Watford Visit
Elton John's trip to the Hornets’ training ground and his show of support for the club’s new regime is “important” in Brendan Rodgers’ bid to create the “old Watford”, according to the Northern Irishman.
After quitting his role as honorary life president in November, Elton made a dramatic return on Friday of last week when he flew into Watford’s London Colney base in his helicopter to meet players and staff.
The singer-songwriter decided he wanted to re-build bridges with the Hornets following the departure of former chairman Graham Simpson and chief executive Mark Ashton and contacted the club so he could be put in touch with Rodgers.
The pair have been in discussions since mid-December and at the beginning of last week, the rock star decided to make an appearance at the training ground before he went away on tour until late April.
Rodgers said: “I think Elton is obviously a big part of the history of Watford and for me, from being someone on the outside looking in before coming here, he is a iconic figure and when people talk about Watford they relate the club to Elton John, so for me it is only a positive thing.
“I want to try and create the old Watford, in terms of us being a community and family club and it is important to have as many friends as possible and Elton is a good friend.”
After arriving in his private helicopter, the 61-year-old met a number of the players and staff as they came in from training, and after around an hour at the training ground, he gave a speech to the players, where he explained his reasons for ending his formal affiliation with the club and how he believes the Hornets have a bright future with new men in charge.
Watford skipper Jay DeMerit said: “He [Elton John] was just solidifying what the board and everyone else has been saying, that we are not here to try and make this season more difficult than it already has been.
“I think we are here to come together and make sure the club are going in the right direction and he solidified that point himself and he said ‘I’m here now and I’m going to try and help out as much as I can’.
“Obviously he is a busy man and we all know that but you do look to him to hopefully add more support if needed and that was his message to us.”
DeMerit added: “He [Elton John] is an integral part of what this club is all about and I think to see him leave was a shock to everyone, but to see him come back is something he wanted, the fans wanted, the board wanted and everyone else wanted.
“To have him back is great, because him just being who he is and being a fan of the club brings a bit of notoriety to Watford Football Club and that is a positive thing in itself.”
The majority of the players had not met Elton before and for Jack Cork, the singer’s visit came on just his second day at the club.
The 19-year-old said: “It was my second day in and he flew in on his helicopter and I have never seen Elton John before but to see someone who my mum and nan absolutely love was weird.
“I saw my mum afterwards and I said to her that I saw Elton John and she was buzzing.”