Michael Jackson statue removal to blame for Fulham relegation, claims Mohamed Al Fayed

The former owner claims his successor Shahid Khan asked for it back, to which he was told "no way"

Manager Felix Magath laid the blame for relegation at the feet of Fulham's players for a lack of fighting spirit.

Cottagers fans expressed theories ranging from a lurch through three different bosses to the unwillingness of new owner Shahid Khan to splash the cash.

But Khan's flamboyant predecessor Mohamed Al Fayed is convinced he knows the real reason why Fulham's 14-year stay in the Barclays Premier League came to an end last Saturday.

Al Fayed told Press Association Sport he believes the Cottagers would still be in the top flight if Khan had not had the 7ft 6ins sculpture of Michael Jackson removed from outside Craven Cottage last November.

Al Fayed was speaking as he formally presented the statue of the late singer to the National Football Museum in Manchester, where it will stand proudly on a first-floor mezzanine.

He said: "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."

 

The much-mocked statue was commissioned by Al Fayed and installed at the back of the Hammersmith Stand in 2011.

Al Fayed was a friend of Jackson and the singer even paid a visit to Craven Cottage when he attended a match between Fulham and Wigan in 1999.

But following Al Fayed's decision to sell the club to Indian tycoon Khan, he was told it was surplus to requirements and would have to be removed.

Michael Jackson with his pet monkey Bubbles Michael Jackson with his pet monkey Bubbles  

Speaking about its presentation to the National Football Museum, Al Fayed added: "This is a great place visited by thousands of people and I am very proud to present them with one of the greatest artists and singers in the world.

"Michael is a fantastic example for everyone. He came from nowhere and showed fantastic determination to be a superstar and I am very glad that he is now in this great institution for people to enjoy."

PA

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable