Elton John says the ‘horrible things’ football fans shouted kept him grounded at the height of his fame
Elton John has said the “horrible things” football fans shouted at him about his clothing and music kept him grounded as he soared to superstardom.
The British singer is a lifelong Watford FC supporter and owned and operated the club throughout the 1970s and 1980s all the while dropping hit songs. Under his ownership and Graham Taylor’s management, the club moved from the Fourth Division to the first.
Speaking in conversation with former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger at the Hay Festival Digital Winter Weekend, Elton reflected on that time as chairman as one of the happiest times in his life.
The 73-year-old said: “It’s part of my life that gave me so much.
“I’m an optimist about human beings. People can always surprise you in a positive way” – Arsène Wenger talking with @eltonofficial https://t.co/rEk5fNaOr0 ⚽ #HayWinterWeekend pic.twitter.com/mxWGJ8zXfq
— Hay Festival (@hayfestival) November 29, 2020
“When I was a big star and a big musician it grounded me, because people who go to football, they’ll tell you the truth.
“The fans will say, ‘I don’t like your new record, I wish you wouldn’t look like that.'”
Owning a football club was ‘one of the most joyous things I’ve ever done in my life’, says Elton John
Throughout his career, John has worn a kaleidoscopic array of shiny tracksuits, silk kimonos, bejewelled brogues, embroidered tailcoats, rhinestone-covered headdresses and even feather-trimmed lamé jackets – but he’s grateful football fans would tease him for them.
“They didn’t mean [anything],” he said.
“It was just something that levelled me out.”
“The passion of the crowds and the horrible things they said about me were part and parcel and it was wonderful.”
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Watford FC ended up just behind champions Liverpool during the 1982-1982 season. Looking back, John said he is proud of what his team accomplished.
“Arsène said about leading Arsenal out into the cup final when we got to the cup final and played Everton I cried, because when I took over Watford we had two little grandstands and a greyhound track,” he recalled
“If you go the club now it’s a Premier League club with a 24,000 capacity and the current owners have made it very wonderful behind the scenes and I’m very proud.
“Since that day we’ve never gone beyond the championship and I’m extremely proud.”
“We went places because we were professional about it and one of the most joyous things I’ve ever done in my life,” he continued.