A divisive statue of Michael Jackson outside an English professional soccer club’s homeground is to be removed.
Businessman Mohamed Al Fayed commissioned the statue following Jackson’s death in June 2009, with the intention for it to find a home at his Harrods store in London. Al Fayed sold Harrods in 2010, and the statue was erected outside the grounds of his Fulham Football Club.
At the time, Al Fayed told fans they could “go to hell” if they didn’t appreciate the gloved Jackson statue. Al Fayed insists Jackson was a fan of the club, and the artist attended a match in 1999.
Despite his best intentions, fans of the club didn’t warm to the Jackson tribute.
Al Fayed sold his stake in Fulham FC over the summer, and now the statue will be returned to him.
The club’s new owner has issued a statement explaining the decision, which was made after two months of dialog with the club’s fans. The removal of the statue at Craven Cottage stadium “is the right thing for Fulham Football Club,” the team’s new chairman Shahid Khan says.
It’s not the only time a larger-than-life likeness of Jackson has been a big talking point in London. In 1995, to promote the “HIStory” album, a giant statue of Jackson was floated down the Thames river.
The Tower Bridge was raised to let the 30-foot high statue pass through.