Fulham, much to the consternation of its numerous American-based fans, were relegated this weekend ending a run of 13 years in the English Premier League. The club’s former owner, Mohamed Al Fayed, has cooked up the reason: Shahid Khan removed the Michael Jackson statue he built outside Craven Cottage after he took control of the team.
Why exactly Al Fayed decided the King of Pop needed a statue outside an English soccer ground has been open to debate — and jokes — for the last three years. I guess when you’re a billionaire you get bored and it results in this sort of whimsy.
“This statue was a charm and we removed the luck from the club and now we have to pay the price,” Fayed said. “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.”
A couple issues that probably contributed to Fulham’s relegation a lot more than a statue’s removal:
1. Al Fayed not spending that much on players in the last few transfer windows while he scrambled to sell the club.
2. If Khan didn’t fire two managers (Martin Jol/René Meulensteen) during the course of the season before settling on Felix Magath after it was too late, Fulham might not be facing life in the Championship.
3. Signing off on a club-record $21 million to sign Konstantinos Mitroglou (Three games, zero goals) in January didn’t help matters either, independent of the statue outside Craven Cottage.
Above all that, Shahid Khan’s glorious mustache is much more of a good luck charm than inanimate statue could ever be.