Michael Jackson statue center stage at Fulham owner’s introduction

Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed is all smiles after unveiling a statue of Michael Jackson at the Craven Cottage Stadium grounds in London.
(Alastair Grant / Associated Press)

Michael Jackson, or at least a statue of the late entertainer, was on reporters’ minds Saturday when Shad Khan, an American who owns the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, was introduced as the new owner of Fulham, a soccer club in the venerable English Premier League.

That’s right, the British tabloid influence was in full force at the proceedings, or so it seemed. Except one problem, the previous owner of Fulham, Mohamed Al Fayed, is a staunch supporter of Jackson.

Khan reportedly was taken aback by a question regarding whether the statue would be removed from the grounds of the team’s Crave Cottage Stadium in London.

“I’ve been an owner less than a day,” said Khan, who becomes the sixth American to own an EPL team. “We have to preserve and respect history, but we have to move forward. I’ll reflect on it and listen to the fans, then decide.”


That didn’t sit well with Al Fayed, who commissioned the statue for the Craven Cottage after Jackson’s death in 2009. He even offered a veiled physical threat to Khan if he were to remove it.

“Michael Jackson will stay. It’s part of the deal,” said Al Fayed, who shot a glance toward Khan and added, “Are you listening to me about Michael Jackson? You promise now? Otherwise … I will take your mustache off.”


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