DAVID BECKHAM’S wedding and Elton John combined to save Dean Jones from losing £5.5million.
The Australian cricket legend passed away last year at the age of 59 following a heart attack.
David and Victoria Beckham’s wedding and Elton John knowing the date helped save Dean Jones from losing £5.5m
The cricketing legend was due to pay a huge sum to stage a pre-season trip for Manchester United to head to AustraliaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Jones fell ill at his hotel in Mumbai as he covered the IPL for broadcasters Star Sports.
Brett Lee attempted to resuscitate his compatriot but tragically was unable to do so.
His sudden passing led to many brilliant tales being shared again, including the time pop star John and Becks inadvertently combined to save Jones’ finances.
In 1999, Jones and his event management company were on the verge of signing a $10m AUD [£5.5m] deal to bring Manchester United to Australia for a pair of friendly matches against the national team.
However, the event was doomed… only Jones didn’t realise.
But a meeting in a hotel room at Melbourne’s Crown Casino between music icon John and his old friend Jones rescued the former batsman.
Speaking on Shane Watson’s Lessons Learnt with the Greats podcast in June, Jones said: “I told Elton what date they were playing (in July) and he said, ‘Dean, I’ve got a confidentiality agreement so I’m going into the next room. You need to look on my desk.’
“I walked across to the desk and there was the invitation for him to play at Beckham’s wedding which happened to be the same (time).
“And I’ve gone, ‘Ohhhh, so half the team is going to be with Beckham!’”
United sent out a weakened squad for the pre-season trip with some key players missingCredit: AP:Associated Press
Posh and Becks tied the knot on July 4, 1999 – just 11 days before United played Australia in MelbourneCredit: Instagram
Jones, middle, passed away at the age of 59 after making his name as a fine batsman and fielder for AustraliaCredit: AP:Associated Press
Jones decided to pull out the deal, selling the rights to businessman Rene Rivkins, because he did not want to pay big money with many of Manchester United’s stars set to be absent.
In the end, Beckham, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, best man Gary Neville and even the manager Sir Alex Ferguson stayed home as Becks tied the knot with Victoria in Ireland on July 4.
Fergie also had an appointment with the Queen so left assistant Steve McClaren in charge.
Treble-winners United did send a squad out to play the games in Melbourne and Sydney, winning 2-0 and 1-0 respectively thanks to goals from Jesper Blomqvist, Nicky Butt and then Dwight Yorke.
Half the team never turned up… I would have lost my house and everything
Jones confronted United’s management on the likelihood of a full-strength team making the trip before deciding to withdraw his offer.
He added: “I went back to them and said, ‘Is that date right? You’ve got nothing on?’ They said, ‘No.’ And I knew they were lying.
“They didn’t care. Not worried about advertising these guys’ names and they don’t turn up.
“Rene Rivkin was also trying to bid for it and I gave it to him for $200k and he ended up taking the heat.
“And half the team never turned up. You know what? I would have lost my house and everything… event management is a lot of fun, but it comes down to your networking.”
How Dean Jones fared in Test, ODI, first-class and List A cricket during his illustrious career