Of all the honors Michael Jackson received when he was alive, I’m willing to bet that having a statue of himself erected in front of a sports stadium is one that never came his way. MJ’s spirit can rest easy now, because Fulham of the Premier League remedied that by unveiling a statue of Jackson outside their Craven Cottage Stadium.
The monument to the “King of Pop” is to commemorate Fulham owner Mohamed Al-Fayed’s friendship with MJ, who attended a game there in 1999. Since the unveiling, Al-Fayed has taken some heat from fans who don’t see the point of the statue. Al-Fayed is less than concerned with their feelings.
“Why is it bizarre?” he said. “Football fans love it. If some stupid fans don’t understand and appreciate such a gift, they can go to hell.
“I don’t want them to be fans. If they don’t understand and don’t believe in things I believe in, they can go to Chelsea, they can go to anywhere else.”
Aside from it having almost nothing to do with soccer, it’s actually a pretty fun idea. Even if you’re not a Fulham fan, it’s a cool, quirky tourist attraction that will certainly draw some folks out to the stadium. Plus, we need more eccentric owners in pro sports. If the rich Russian guy from the DirecTV commercials could buy a team, I’d be all for it.
Besides, Fulham fans don’t have much to complain about. When Al-Fayed bought the team in 1997, they were playing in the lower divisions of English soccer. Within five years, he built a team that could challenge the best sides in all of Europe. So if all he wants to do is put up a statue of a pop star, things could really be a lot worse. You could be Los Angeles Clipper fans.