Michael Jackson has had museum exhibitions, concert experiences and monuments made for him since his death. The singer’s death came as a real surprise to many, and many wanted to pay tribute to him straight away. One such person was Mohamed Al-Fayed, who erected a rather odd monument to the singer.
Michael Jackson was a close friend of Mohamed Al-Fayed, the former owner of Fulham FC, Harrods, and other companies.
In 1997, Al-Fayed purchased Fulham FC, who play at Craven Cottage, for a reported £30million, inviting his close friend to London to catch a match.
And just two years later, Jackson visited the home of Fulham FC to see the side play Wigan Athletic as a guest of Al-Fayed.
After Jackson’s death, Al-Fayed wanted to pay tribute to his close, personal friend.
As a result, he commissioned a statue to be created outside Harrods, but when Harrods was sold in 2010 and the new owners did not want the statue, he chose to place it at Craven Cottage instead.
The statue is 7.5 feet (2.3 m) high and made of plaster and resin, and was placed in front of a board which read Michael Jackson: A Tribute.
It was unveiled on April 3, 2011 to some very unkind reviews from football and art fans.
Fulham fan Michael Tune told the BBC at its unveiling: “We’re a laughing stock. It has nothing to do with football.”
Another anonymous Fulham fan added: “It makes the club look silly. I thought it was an April Fools joke.”
However, Al-Fayed defended it, and speaking to the BBC told fans who did not like the statue to “go to Chelsea.”
He said: “If some stupid fans don’t understand and appreciate such a gift this guy gave to the world they can go to hell. I don’t want them to be fans.
“If they don’t understand and don’t believe in things I believe in they can go to Chelsea, they can go to anywhere else.”
Eventually, in 2013, Al-Fayed sold the club to businessman Shahid Khan, who had the statue removed.
MJ’s statue was, for a short period, moved to the National Football Museum in Manchester.
In 2014, Fulham FC were relegated from the Premier League, and Al-Fayed believed the statue’s removal was the true reason.
He said at its unveiling at the National Football Museum: “This statue was a charm and we removed the luck from the club and now we have to pay the price.
“When (Khan) asked me to move it I said, ‘you must be crazy’. This is such a fantastic statue which the fans are crying out for.
“But now he has paid the price because the club has been relegated. He called me because he told me he wanted Michael to return. I told him, no way.”
Regardless of Al-Fayed’s comments, the statue did not return to the club and instead stood proudly on the mezzanine of the NFM.
In 2019, the statue was removed from the exhibition at the NFM.