The real question on Fulham fans’ minds: What about that silly Michael Jackson statue?”
Alas, no answers forthcoming from Fulham FC’s new American-based owner:
We know that new Fulham owner Shahid Khan, the Pakistani-born car-parts king who also owns NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, has promised not to micro-manage his new Premiership holding. (Hooray!)
We know he is bullish on plans to modernize and slightly increased capacity around the team’s historically quaint West London grounds on the banks of the River Thames. (The wind does blow cold off that water in the winter!)
But we don’t have an answer to the truly vexing question: what will Khan do with that whacky Michael Jackson statue outside of Craven Cottage, the one that caused so much head-craning wonder and no small amount of consternation among Fulham FC faithful?
We do know that Khan has some keen political sense about him. Just listen to his answer about to the inevitable query on the Jackson statue as he met members of the press Saturday at Craven Cottage:
“I have been the owner less than a day. We have to preserve and respect history but we also have to move forward. I am going to reflect on it, listen to the fans and then decide.”
Yes, a shrewd answer, one that seems to indicate some desire to push that silly thing right into the Thames, but stops well short of taking a hard stance on the issue.
Back in 2011, at the behest of owner Mohamed Al Fayed, a statue of the American pop icon was unveiled to choruses of bewilderment and outrage among Fulham fans. “Michael Jackson?” they asked. Why?
The answer was commensurately curious, for Jackson had zero connection with the Premier League club. Al Fayed was simply a fan. And he owned the team. So … sure … put up a statue!
Truly, it was just bizarre. And the match was especially odd considering Fulham’s reputation as perhaps the sleepiest of brand name English clubs, a club housed in a family-friendly place where fans cheered nicely, the very antitheses of entertainment industry flamboyance.