Troy Deeney asked to used the helipad originally built for Sir Elton John at the o2 Arena so he could fly from Sunderland on Saturday night and watch his friend Anthony Joshua win the British heavyweight title.
Deeney is a big boxing fan and regularly attends midweek sessions at a gym in Finchley. He was, along with Rene Gilmartin, at Joshua’s previous fight when he wiped the floor with Gary Cornish and was desperate to see the Watford-born fighter go toe-to-toe with Dillian Whyte in a bout full of needle.
“I normally go [to every fight] but we got Sunderland away,” he said in an interview with Soccer AM. “It was a big-time shout but we was going to get a helicopter but the O2 killed me and said I couldn’t land there. They have got a little helipad at the back and I was going to go from Sunderland and get there for 8pm. But they killed it and I had to watch it on box office like everyone else.”
The helipad was specially built in 2008 for Watford’s honorary life-president so he could fly in from his west London home ahead of a gig on New Year’s Eve. The former club chairman once landed on the playing fields at UCL, London Colney in a helicopter when visiting the team when Malky Mackay was in charge.
Deeney has struck up a good friendship with Joshua since he joined Watford and met up with the heavyweight boxer and Rio Ferdinand in October.
“We [first] met each other at the barber shop,” said Deeney. “I could tell his determination, you could tell he was focussed. He didn’t say he was going to the Olympics and maybe win. He said, ‘I’m going to win and then then I’m going to do this and do that. For someone like myself I thought, ‘He knows what he’s doing’. It drove us together. When I came back from jail he treated me the same.”