Happily, the eyesore is gone. Unhappily, it will not be vaporized, shoved into the Thames, flash-frozen and shattered by mallets, coated in fox blood and torn apart by famished hounds, shot into the sun, or melted down into a fine paste suitable for insulation.
In 2011, Fulham chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed installed a statue of Michael Jackson at Craven Cottage. Why? Jackson wasn't a Fulham fan, appeared (but did not perform) at just one match. The answer is that Jackson was Fayed's friend, and Fayed has too much money. So up the statue went, to the consternation of Fulham fans and the derision of everyone else.
This summer, Fayed sold the team to Shad Khan, owner of the Jaguars. Naturally, the very first questions upon taking over were about what he was going to do with that fucking statue. Khan was politic, saying "We have to preserve and respect history, but we have to move forward. I’ll reflect on it and listen to the fans." Fayed was his usual self:
"Michael Jackson will stay. He can’t go, he is here. It is part of the deal, it is history, it is listed. You can’t change otherwise I will come and take your mustache in public."
Khan has listened to the fans, and they hate it. In a terse statement, a team 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." Fayed will truck it out of the borough and give it a place of honor at one of his many other properties, where it can be gazed upon without embarrassing a 134-year-old team.
The only person upset about this? Joe Posnanski, who truly believes that given another five years, the statue would have become a timeless part of Fulham tradition.