Mohamed Al-Fayed, Egyptian business magnate and owner of English Premiere League soccer club Fulham FC, recently unveiled a tribute to his close friend, the late pop star Michael Jackson, outside of his club’s stadium. The life-sized statue of the King of Pop was first to be built outside Al-Fayed’s Harrod’s department store, but was then moved to outside the Fulham club ground once he sold the store in May of last year. Al-Fayed was so overcome with emotion at the event that he attempted to move rhythmically in time to Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” (known in some corners of the world as “dancing”), an effort which met with mixed results.
“Michael Jackson was truly a legend, a term used too often in this modern world,” said Al-Fayed of his friend. “I hope that Fulham fans will appreciate seeing the finest performer in the world in and among them.” Well, here’s the thing about that—not all of the Fulham fans are particularly jazzed about having such a controversial musician, whose connections to the club itself are remarkably tenuous, represented in such grandiose form outside their stadium. “Fulham football fans do not want a statue of Michael Jackson,” fan Lee Robinson told the Guardian. “It’s completely mad. He’s got nothing to do with us. To be honest, he’s the last person you’d want there.”
For his part, Al-Fayed stands by his statue (and awkward dance of joy). “Why is it bizarre?” he asked of the statue’s critics. “Football fans love it. If some stupid fans don’t understand and appreciate such a gift they can go to hell.” Think that last part was a direct quote from Knicks owner James Dolan after New York made the Carmelo Anthony trade, actually. For some fans, it’s just always something.