MALKY Mackay admits he can’t wait to take his Wigan Athletic side to Watford this weekend where he can talk football – with one of the world’s greatest musicians.
Mackay played for and managed Watford between 2005-2011 before moving on to Cardiff and then, last month, arriving at Wigan.
And an emotional return to Vicarage Road on Saturday will allow him to catch up with close friend and Watford superfan Sir Elton John.
“Sir Elton was life President during my time there, and he was a great supporter of me,” Mackay told the Observer.
“He’s been a great friend to me for 10 years, he’s kept in touch, and I’ll be hoping to see him at the weekend before the game.
“A lot of people maybe don’t quite get the depth of his football knowledge, in terms of how much he watches the game.
“During my time there he’d be talking to me about games he’d seen in the Third Division, and a centre-forward that he’d seen.
“He had a big satellite dish that would allow him to watch the Football League Show and the goals on Sky from all the divisions.
“If he was on the other side of the world after a gig, he’d have the telly on – bizarre but true.
“He just loves his football, and he’s a good man as well.
“He came in to see the players a couple of times, and he’d sit for a while with a cup of tea and a biscuit.
“I don’t think it’s something he’s able to do much in his life, but it was something he absolutely loved.”
Sir Elton – who twice served as chairman and helped to guide the club, alongside Graham Taylor, into the top flight and the FA Cup final in 1984 – will be honoured at the weekend with a new stand being named after him.
“He’s a huge fan of football, never mind Watford, and it’s right they should be naming the new stand after him because his work over the years has been terrific,” Mackay acknowledged.
The Latics chief is also aware of the importance of Saturday’s game, with Latics looking for only a second win in 16 and Watford back in the play-off spots after last weekend’s 5-0 win at Fulham.
“Watford had a great result at Fulham and they played really well, although they were playing against 10 men for a lot of the game,” he said.
“Prior to that they were coming on the back of four straight defeats, which underlines the nature of the Championship.
“We’ll be going there to win the game, no doubt about that.”
And despite his previous ties to Watford, Mackay insists it’ll be business as usual come 3pm on Saturday.
“We can talk all day long about my thoughts and feelings about Watford, but the flip side is I’m the manager of Wigan Athletic and we’ll be doing everything we can to get a win there,” he added.
“We’ve got the festive period coming up, with the extra game in there, and the games will come thick and fast.
“I’ve been here a few weeks now and I can’t be too hard on the players because for two-and-a-half games we’ve played well.
“We just need to be more clinical and cut out the chances at the other end.
“It’s about making sure we all stick together and pull in the same direction – and I’ll make sure that happens.”