The Michael Jackson statue, one of football's least-loved monuments, is set to move from its home outside Fulham's Craven Cottage ground.
Update: Friday 20 September, 9:30 a.m.
Fulham have confirmed in a brief statement that the statue will be removed. Club owner Shahid Khan has said the following:
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.
The Daily Mail report that Mohamed Al-Fayed, who had the tribute to the deceased pop star put up in 2011, is going to take it and relocate it to one of his other properties.
And a Fulham spokesman told the paper that there is no desire from the club's new ownership to fight the Egyptian for the statue.
The statue is not part of the Riverside development of the stadium and will be returned to the former chairman in due course.
The statue has led an interesting two years since it turned up in south-west London.
When fans objected to it appearing in the first place, Al-Fayed told them they could "go to hell." Per the Guardian:
Football fans love it. If some stupid fans don't understand and appreciate such a gift 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. People will queue to come and visit it from all over the UK and it is something that I and everybody else should be proud of.
And when Al-Fayed finally ended his association with the club this summer and sold it to American owner Shahid Khan, the statue was as much a talking point as the transfer budget.
In the handover, Al-Fayed was quoted as saying that the Jackson statue had to stay, or Khan had to shave off his moustache. Per the Daily Mail:
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 moustache in public. He knows that.
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