When Mohamed Al Fayed sold Fulham to Shahid Khan, he threatened to shave the Jacksonville Jaguars owner's impressive mustache in public if he touched the odd Michael Jackson statue installed outside Craven Cottage in 2011. The statue of a pop singer who was friends with Al Fayed never made much sense as a decoration at the beautiful and supremely traditional 117-year-old football ground. It was originally planned to be placed outside famed London department store Harrods, but when Al Fayed sold the property, he decided that Fulham fans would either have to accept the statue or "go to hell." But now it's been revealed that Al Fayed isn't going to leave the unwanted one-gloved tribute to a man who had nothing to do with the club behind.
From the PA:
Fulham were bought by the American Shahid Khan in a £150m deal during the summer, and initially it had appeared the Jackson statue would remain in place.
However, it now appears Fayed will take the statue to one of his other properties as the club press on with plans to revamp their home on the banks of the Thames.
A Fulham spokesperson said: "The statue is not part of the Riverside development of the stadium and will be returned to the former chairman in due course."
So what will replace the statue? Maybe a Shahid Khan mustache ride? Dimitar Berbatov's carpeted pleasure van? Or maybe just a far more relevant statue of Miley Cyrus twerking with her tongue out. The possibilities are limitless. It just probably won't be another Michael Jackson statue because that would be nonsensical.
UPDATE: Shahid Khan released a statement on Fulham's official website and in it, he makes it clear that fans voiced their dislike of the statue and he listened.
“Craven Cottage means the world to generations of Fulham supporters, and I have heard from many of them over the past two months. Our supporters’ views on the statue have been made clear. I respect Mr Al Fayed and know he had good intentions in paying an individual tribute. However, the removal of the statue is the right thing for Fulham Football Club.”
For Khan, this was likely an easy decision. Not only does he get rid of a blemish on his new investment, but he gets to endear himself to the club's fans, as well. If all outgoing owners would erect random statues at their clubs' home grounds for their successors to triumphantly remove, it could make ownership transitions much smoother and help avoid the paranoia of supporters that change inevitably brings up.