If you unaware of the special relationship pop music icon Michael Jackson had with Fulham Football Club, you're probably not the only one. The club's supporters may also be a bit murky on why Craven Cottage will soon feature a statue honoring the recently deceased legend, something that may have also furrowed the Jackson's brow. After all, the singer was an honorary chairman at Exeter City.
But Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed claims a special bond with Jackson. Though 25 years apart in age, the two were friends, so much so that the Egyptian businessman had originally planned to honor Jackson's memory with a piece outside Harrod's Department Store in Knightsbridge. But Al Fayed has since sold Harrod's, making Craven Cottage the natural fit.
Via Fulham's web site, Al Fayed says he wants the statue to be a reference point for Jackson fans worldwide.
"I hope that many fans of his will visit the statue at the Cottage from far and wide, and that Fulham fans will appreciate seeing the finest performer in the world, in and amongst them, the finest fans in the world."
Credit to Al Fayed for being a kind, thoughtful man who wants to honor his friend, but there's no way around it: This feels strange. It's going to be difficult for people to honor Jackson's legacy when their first thought on seeing the statue is "why is this here?" And while I can't be certain, I feel reasonably sure in saying nobody was wondering why there weren't stronger, more overt links between Fulham and Jackson.
It's a shame. A few years from now, when the context of Al Fayed's decision is lost and memories of Jackson's influence have waned, the statue may elicit more giggles than memories.