|Fulham Fans in Uproar over Michael Jackson Statue|
Mohamed Al Fayed's plan "making club a laughing stock"
Fans of Fulham Football Club are up in arms over an announcement that Fulham’s Chairman Mohamed Al Fayed is erecting a commemorative statue of Michael Jackson at Craven Cottage.
He will unveil the statue on Sunday 3 April at 12 noon, to honour his friendship with the star, who died on June 25, 2009.
After his death, Fulham’s Chairman commissioned a statue in his memory which was originally planned to be erected outside his Harrods store. After the store was sold, however, it was decided that Craven Cottage was the natural alternative for the tribute.
Fans however, have not taken this news well. Twitter feeds and discussion forums are buzzing with outraged comments, called the decision "off the wall", and "stupid" and complaining that it is making the club a laughing stock.
Some fans feel that the statue is disrespectful to player Johnny Haynes, whose statue stands outside the Fulham end of Craven Cottage while others have pointed out that April 3 is very close to April Fool's Day. Over 100 fans have already signed a petition against the statue.
The club says the statue, depicting the singer in one of his most iconic poses, is situated on the banks of the River Thames, adjacent to the Riverside and Hammersmith Stands at the Football Club.
Fulham’s Chairman enjoyed a long and happy friendship with the megastar, who visited both his football club and his former Harrods store many times. He says: " Michael Jackson was truly a legend, a term used too often in this modern world saturated in the hyperbole surrounding celebrity.
" He was my friend, a man with whom I shared many happy memories and who died a tragic and untimely death. He left behind a legacy of music so vast it takes one’s breath away; from a precocious talent to an ingenuity and ground breaking modernity that shall never be repeated. It shall often be imitated, but it will never be replicated, Michael Jackson was, and shall always remain, one of a kind.
"‘I hope that many fans of his will visit the statue at the Cottage from far and wide, and that Fulham fans will appreciate seeing the finest performer in the world, in and amongst them, the finest fans in the world."
After Michael Jackson's death, fans remembered the day in 1999 when he made a surprise visit to the club, completing a lap of honour around the pitch and signing autographs for fans.
March 18, 2011