The image: Sports franchises often erect statues to honor their star athletes. Mohamed Al Fayed went a different route. On Sunday, Al Fayed, who owns the British Premier League soccer team Fulham, unveiled a 7-foot, 6-inch statue of Michael Jackson holding a microphone, which will greet visitors to Craven Cottage, the team's storied London home. (See the image below.) Al Fayed was a personal friend of Jackson's (and once the possible future father-in-law to Princess Diana), and he commissioned the statue after the pop star's death in 2009. He had planned to display it at Harrod's, the iconic London department store he once owned, but after selling the store, decided to enlist his soccer team as host. That decision isn't sitting well with many of Fulham's fans, who fear that they will now be a league laughingstock.
The reaction: "Oh, holy sweet mother," this is just "horrible," says Richard Anderson at The Spoiler. "This looks like those packs of clay cartoon figurines you got as a kid and were expected to paint to make them look exactly as they did on the packet. That never worked, and this Jacko monstrosity certainly doesn't." Plus, this statue is "completely inappropriate and irrelevant to the football club," says Ben Reed, a 28-year-old Fulham supporter, as quoted by The Wall Street Journal "Without a doubt, it will be mocked by every other football club. Football fans are not subtle." Wait, "why is it bizarre?" said Mohamed Al Fayed, as quoted by the BBC. "If some stupid fans don't understand and appreciate such a gift this guy gave to the world, they can go to hell." Check out the Jackson statue: