20 May Was Fulham F.C.’s Michael Jackson statue really a good luck charm?
We admittedly receive some pretty quirky requests for custom sculptures from time to time here at Big Statues, and those statues can end up in some rather unusual places.
But there’s nothing quite like the tenuous link between the London-based English soccer club Fulham F.C. and late pop superstar Michael Jackson, a nearby statue of whom was deemed a ‘good luck charm’ after its removal was followed by the club’s relegation to the second tier of English football.
Fulham went through three managers over the last season, but ultimately could not prevent its 14 year stay in the English Premier League coming to an end. It follows a decision last November to take down a 7ft 6ins statue of the deceased “Billie Jean” singer outside the club’s Craven Cottage stadium under new owner Shad Khan, after its erection in 2011 by previous owner and friend of Jackson, Mohammed Al Fayed.
Now, the effigy of the King of Pop has found a new home in England at the National Football Museum in Manchester. But as it was being formally presented by Al Fayed on a first-floor mezzanine, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to tackle the club’s decision to remove the monument from its former location at the back of the Hammersmith Stand.
“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.”
It’s fair to say the statue has attracted its share of mockery among England’s famously passionate soccer fans, unsurprising given that Jackson’s only obvious connection to Craven Cottage was a visit to a 1999 match against Wigan.
But surely the biggest question of all is… is Al Fayed right that the statue was a good luck charm? According to a BBC News Online report, the club’s win ratio with the monument in place was 33.7%, but dropped to 25% once it was removed.
Of course, correlation is not causation, but it’s nonetheless clear that Fulham’s season was far from a “Thriller” once the Michael statue had moonwalked off the scene. When relegation loomed, the club’s players just couldn’t “Beat It”.