Mark Viduka reveals moment Elton John almost let slip Man United talks

‘I’m thinking: ‘S***, please don’t say any more!’ Ex-Leeds striker Mark Viduka reveals horrifying moment Elton John almost let slip his secret transfer talks with bitter rivals Man United to a packed concert crowd

  • Viduka held secret talks with Man United boss Sir Alex Ferguson in early 2000s
  • Move from Leeds United to their bitterest rivals would have been controversial
  • While in Manchester, Viduka was invited to watch an Elton John gig by his agent
  • Invited backstage, a nervous Viduka told the musician about his transfer talks
  • Elton almost let slip the secret while dedicating a song to Viduka during the gig 

Mark Viduka has revealed the mortifying moment Elton John almost told a packed stadium of concert-goers about his secret transfer talks with Manchester United.

The Australian forward was a Leeds United player at the time but was in Manchester to meet Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of their bitterest rivals, over a potential move.

While in the city, Viduka was invited to attend one of Elton’s gigs and invited backstage by the great man, only to be almost left red-faced.

Former Leeds United striker Mark Viduka held secret transfer talks with Manchester United

Elton John almost revealed Viduka’s meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson during a Manchester gig

Viduka told ESPN: ‘I was in Manchester and my agent at that time also had a lot to do with Elton John.

‘He said stay for the night and come to the show, he had backstage passes and I’d get the chance to meet the man for myself. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

‘So I’m there with Jacob Burns, my Leeds team-mate and fellow Aussie, and we got ushered into his dressing room.

‘As we enter Elton swings on a swivel chair and says: “Mark Viduka, you’re from Melbourne – I love that place!”

‘I was nervous, so I babbled on about my meeting with the Red Devils that day and a possible move.

Viduka celebrates scoring for Leeds in a Premier League match with Man United in 2003

The Australian striker could have been team-mates with Roy Keane but remained at Leeds

‘Instead of going to our seats to watch the concert, Elton gets us to watch it at the side of the stage. About three songs in he says: “I want to dedicate this next one to my good friend Mark who is in Manchester today to make a big decision.”

‘I’m thinking: “S***, please don’t say any more!”

‘Thank God he didn’t. I didn’t sign for Man United – I think I loved living in Leeds too much at the time.’

Viduka never did sign for Man United and spent four seasons at Elland Road, scoring 72 goals in 166 appearances, before moving on to Middlesbrough in 2004 and then ending his playing days at Newcastle United.


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