Michael Jackson Set For Shock Return To Craven Cottage
Players may need to be sold to fund repurchase of controversial statue
Fulham FC are believed to be in detailed negotiations to have the statue of Michael Jackson returned in a bid to end the club's alarming slump in fortunes.
The playing staff are understood to be convinced that the glory days of trouncing Juventus at Craven Cottage in the Europa League have gone primarily due to a 'curse' which was brought on the club after the removal of the figure of the deceased American singer.
(The controversial statue of Michael Jackson, above, may be set for a return to SW6)
After acquiring Fulham from Mohamed al Fayed in July 2013, one of the Pakistani-American businessman Shahid Khan's first actions was to remove the much-maligned statue from the back of the Hammersmith Stand, where it had resided since 2011.
Fulham FC were warned about the dangers of removing the statue by al Fayed who told new owner when informed his plans, "Fine, it is a lucky thing, you will regret it later". Since the so-called 'totem' was relocated to the National Football Museum last year, Fulham have lost over half of their matches, dropped down from the Premier League and are currently languishing in 20th place in the second tier of English football. Now it is believed that there are plans to make the statue the centrepiece of the new stadium development in a bid to guarantee a return to the Premier League.
It is understood from a source at Craven Cottage that the club's psychologist has tried to convince the players that their current flirtation with relegation from the Championship is down to them not being as good as the opposition but they believe they would return to form if the statue of the King of Pop comes back.
The position of current Fulham manager Kit Symons is not known but he may be forced to sell players to get the statue back. Unconfirmed reports suggest that although the statue is currently on display at the Museum of Football Mohammed al Fayed retains ownership of it. He would be looking for a substantial payment to return the statue to the club with an amount of £4 million being mentioned. This could mean that top players like Hugo Rodallega, Bryan Ruiz or Moussa Dembele would need to be sold.
Al Fayed's art expert Avril Amadan believes that the market value of the piece could be several million pounds. She said, "The work is an outstanding example of turn of the millennium expression through plasticity with the id of a tragic but iconic figure encapsulated in a way that literally brings the subject to life. It deserves to be ranked above the work of Rodin and perhaps even Michelangelo's David."
She added that Fulham has spent millions on players who were effectively statues on the pitch anyway so they shouldn't have any problem stumping up a similar amount for this one.
(Fulham owner Shahid Khan, may regret removing Jackson's statue)
There is some indication that the club would make much better use of Jackson than previously. He could be carried onto the pitch at half-time for instance, and travel with the team to away fixtures, maybe.
They are also believed to be considering, for one home game a year, encouraging fans to bring their families down to the Cottage to see live performers playing some of Jackson's hits and then a chance for photos with the man himself. The annual event would be the Day of the Jacko.
April 1 2015