Chairman Mohamed Al Fayed told Fulham fans to “go to hell” if they do not appreciate the Michael Jackson statue at Craven Cottage.
Al Fayed, a close friend of the late pop star, unveiled the controversial statue outside the ground before yesterday’s clash with Blackpool.
The statue was commissioned following Jackson’s death in 2009 and was due to be erected at Harrods before Al Fayed sold the Knightsbridge store.
The decision to relocate it to Craven Cottage led to protests from fans. Jackson’s links to Fulham are tenuous to say the least – he watched one game there as a guest of Al Fayed in 1999.
But at the unveiling Al Fayed lashed out at fans opposed to the statue. “Why is it bizarre?” he said.“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.”
Fulham Under-18s boss Kit Symons played in the match against Wigan which Jackson attended 12 years ago.
“It is great,” he said. “It is obviously something that the chairman feels very, very passionately about.”