Michael Jackson statue at Craven Cottage to go from outside home of Fulham FC
A statue of Michael Jackson at Fulham FC which has annoyed fans ever since it was erected is to be ripped up from Craven Cottage.
The club announced that the bizarre simulacrum of the Thriller star is to be dug up and returned to Mohamed Al Fayed, who put it up when he owned the Premier League club.
The statue of Jackson in a performance pose, wearing a signature single glove, was loved only by Al Fayed - and he refused to listen to any dissenters.
Unveiling the statue at Craven Cottage in 2011, two years after Jackson's sudden death, the 85-year-old Harrods mogul responded to criticism by saying: "Why is it bizarre? Football fans love it.
"If some stupid fans don't understand and appreciate such a gift this guy gave to the world, they can go to hell."
However some fans accused Al Fayed of turning Fulham into a laughing stock.
One fan said: "It makes the club look silly. I thought it was an April Fools joke."
Critics found plenty of faults in the statue, accusing it of not looking like the King of Pop in the facial area, while others complained Jackson never wore the outfit which adorns him on the statue.
Now the list of those who are undecidedly unthrilled seemingly includes new owner Shahid Khan, to whom Al Fayed sold the club for £105m earlier this year.
Under development plans, the statue will be removed from its spot - despite Al Fayed warning Khan he will rip off his facial hair if anything happens to it.
He said: "The Michael Jackson statue is listed with the club and if he dares to move it, he will be in big trouble. I will be forced to rip off his [Khan's] moustache if he dares remove it."
But a club spokesman said: "The statue is not part of the Riverside development of the stadium and will be returned to the former chairman in due course."
The announcement of plans to rip out the statue and hand it back to Al Fayed marks a U-turn by new owner Khan. Upon taking over in the boardroom, he said: "I have to preserve and respect history, and I will reflect on the statue. This is a special and historic place."
IBTimes UK contacted Al Fayed but no reply had been received at time of publication.
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