Football Statues No 42 (in a series of several): Michael Joseph Jackson (1958 – 2009)
As a guest of Fulham owner and Chairman Mohammed Al-Fayed Michael Jackson was paraded in front of Fulham fan’s prior to the two-nil defeat of Division Two promotion rivals Wigan in April 1999. Just a day or two shy of a dozen years later a statue of the singer, commissioned in the wake of his 2009 death, was unveiled at the ground in somewhat controversial circumstances.
Controversial in that only one other person has been honoured in such a way at the Cottage and that was the legendary Johnny Haynes who had a statue in his honour unveiled at the ground in October 2008. Haynes played 594 league games for the club in stark contrast to Jackson’s single appearance at the Cottage.
The Haynes statue admittedly occupies a prominent position on Stevenage Road, in front of the Grade II listed Johnny Haynes Stand, while Jackson’s statue is tucked away in the north west corner of the ground between the Hammersmith End and the Riverside Stand, but nonetheless it has proved to be far from popular with supporters.
The Jackson statue was originally earmarked for a site at Harrods, not the Cottage, but Al-Fayed having sold his ‘corner shop’ in May 2010 came up with this as a plan B.