|Mixed Reception for THAT Statue at Craven Cottage|
As chairman says fans who don't like it are "stupid"
Fulham Chairman Mohamed Al Fayed has unveiled a commemorative statue of Michael Jackson at Craven Cottage - to a decidedly mixed reception from fans.
The chairman says he commissioned the statue to honour his friendship with the star after his death in 2009, and after being unveiled on Sunday, it now stands within the grounds, overlooking the river next to the Riverside and Hammersmith stands.
However, the seven foot six inch statue, which reportedly cost £100,000 to create, was not greeted with unanimous approval.
Fans and critics alike gave opinions on the plaster and resin creation ranging from "spectacularly bad", to "gruesome", "creepy" and "hideous" while others wondered if the "plasticky" figure would melt in the sun. Even rival footballer Rio Ferdinand joined in, tweeting: " Fayed said he and jacko were great friends....well put the statue up at YOUR house maaaaaaan!!"
But Mr Al Fayed is unrepentant, saying: " Why is it bizarre? 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. "
And he predicted: " ‘People will queue to come and visit it from all over the UK and it is something that I and everybody else should be proud of."
Not all fans disagreed, with some expressing the view that he can do whatever he likes, as long as he keeps supporting the club financially.
Others simply breathed a sigh of relief that whatever its merits, the figure does not resemble a second statue which has appeared in the window of a studio in East London. This life size statue, which is apparently named Madonna and Child, portrays Michael Jackson dangling a baby in mid-air, as he did with his baby son in a hotel balcony in Berlin.
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.
April 7, 2011