The King of Pop may have passed away nearly two years ago, but supporters of one English soccer club surely won’t – and now likely can’t – forget Michael Jackson any time soon.
In a move that sent British headline writers practically into orbit (moonwalking, of course) – and many others checking to see if April 1st had come again – Mohammed Al Fayed, the chairman Premier League outfit Fulham, unveiled a statue in the likeness of the late artist (glove and all) before Sunday’s home match against Blackpool.
According to reports, Al Fayed – who was a friend of the late performer – commissioned the piece after Jackson’s death in June 2009. It was set to stand at Harrods before the businessman sold the store.
The decision to move the statue to just outside Fulham’s home ground, Craven Cottage, immediately caused controversy. The performer’s numerous troubles sparked the threat of protests, mass walkouts and reams of editorials. Through it all, Al Fayed defiantly stood by his decision.
"Why is it bizarre?" the club owner said. "Football fans love it. If some stupid fans don't understand and appreciate such a gift, they can go to hell.”
Manager Ian Holloway, whose Blackpool side faced Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday, threw his weight behind the plans, explaining, “'He was a very special bloke and one of a handful of people I am proud to have been on the planet at the same time as.” Current Fulham manager Mark Hughes expressed similar sentiments.
There's no indication that the late singer was a Fulham supporter. According to British newspaper the Guardian, Jackson attended just one Fulham match, in 1999, as a guest of the owner.
We say bring back the moonwalk as a goal celebration.
What do you think about the statue? Does it belong outside a stadium visited by families? Does Jackson deserve the tribute? Leave your thoughts below in the comment section.