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Elton John concert expected to raise £600,000 for Watford manager Malky Mackay
Watford’s honorary life president entertained almost 20,000 fans for more than two hours on Saturday night as he went through his impressive repertoire of hits.
The club’s former chairman offered to host the concert to raise money for player acquisitions this summer.
It is unclear exactly how much it cost Watford to host the event but it was previously estimated to be around £600,000 and the Hornets’ chief executive hopes to receive a similar amount in profit.
Winter said: “We are hopeful of clearing approximately £600,000 profit for the Elton John concert, although a full and final figure is not yet available as we finalise the full costs of delivering the concert.”
Watford’s wage bill has once again been cut and a number of the Hornets’ higher earners have left the club this summer.
Malky Mackay is expected to once again rely heavily on younger players next season due to the club’s financial position and Winter has expressed how important Elton’s cash injection will be.
“The proceeds are a fantastic boost to the club’s player acquisition plans for the summer,” the chief executive said.
“We all know Elton was keen to support the club in difficult times, for which we are all tremendously grateful, and the funds will be a massive boost to Malky as he seeks to recruit new players to develop the squad for the coming season.”
Watford sold all the tickets they were able to, which made the attendance 19,645.
There were 8,313 supporters on the pitch and the club’s decision to hand them all waterproof ponchos paid off as the rain fell for the support acts and at the beginning of Elton’s set.
But Michael Jones, head of ticketing at the club, said the weather was almost the only thing which went wrong on the night.
Jones said: “From our point of view it was a really interesting experience to go through because it is outside our comfort zones to host concerts, but we are delighted with how well it all went.
“There were not really any issues on the night.
“It was a bit disappointing it rained for a bit but other than that everything else was perfect. We are absolutely delighted.”
It is the third concert the singer-songwriter has held at Vicarage Road, after gigs in 1974 and 2005, and Saturday was his only date in the UK this year.
Elton is a life-long Watford fan and delivered a number of passionate speeches to the crowd on Saturday night and Winter said the crowd appreciated how special the concert was to the 63-year-old.
Winter said: “The whole club would like to place on record its gratitude to Elton, his band and management team for agreeing to the concert at Vicarage Road and for delivering one of the most memorable nights we can remember at the Vic.
“The atmosphere was unforgettable and the performance truly exceptional – the fans could sense that the night meant something special to Elton – a feeling that the fans responded to in kind.
“The club is lucky to have such a committed star performer that is willing to support the club in this wonderful way.”
The Watford Observer understands there are currently no plans to release Saturday’s concert on DVD.
Elton’s management company are in charge of any release and the decision is out of the club’s control.
The 2005 concert was released on DVD but only to Elton’s fan club members.