Man, I thought we had some crazy sports owners here in the States.
Not one of them would have been so hopelessly unaware and obtuse as to erect a giant statue of a man accused multiple times of child molestation in front of the entrance to their stadium. An entrance through which pass thousands of fans every week, many of them children.
That’s precisely what erratic Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed has done. Perhaps previously best known to pop culture as the father of Dodi Fayed, who tragically lost his life alongside Princess Diana in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris back in 1997, Al-Fayed, formerly owned Harrod’s in Knightsbridge and famously blamed MI6 for the couple’s death.
Now he builds a statue of the world’s creepiest man-child in front of his football grounds. Ah, if only all disturbed people had millions upon millions of dollars in disposable income to play around with. What an exciting, unpredictable world we would live in!
What’s next? A huge bas-relief of Gary Glitter on the walls of Craven Cottage (ironic name under the circumstances, no)?
No, wait ... I know. How about a giant carving of Father Paul Shanley wielding a sword on the back of a triumphant steed?
Either that, or maybe they should change the name to Predator Park at Craven (pervert) Cottage.
This statue is sickening.
I mean no disrespect to the victims of sexual abuse; I’m sure Fayed doesn’t either, but he would have done well to think this through a bit more.
Sir Bobby Robson scored 77 times for Fulham over 344 appearances in the 1950s and 60s. Wacko Jacko made zero appearances, scored zero goals and never showed the slightest interest in sports in America or abroad. His only link with the Cottagers is that Jackson attended a match as the guest of his friend Fayed in 2009.
The 15-foot simulacrum of the late “King of Pop” is rumored to have cost in the neighborhood of £100,000 to erect. Not for nothing, but a team that is hovering so precariously near the drop zone would have been better served redirecting those funds into other areas. Fulham is currently six points clear of relegation with seven matches to play.
But this isn’t really about football. It’s about decency and common sense.
Fayed has displayed neither. In building his ode to the man who gave the world "Thriller," he has made a colossal blunder. The image of Fulham is at stake. Not to mention, it is in incredibly poor taste. He may as well have raised a monument to another depraved individual who he formerly called friend.
Why not? Why not build a 20-, no, 30-foot high testament to the greatness of Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, the man whose intervention allowed Fayed to become a Haitian citizen in the mid 60s?
Duvalier, you may recall, was Haiti’s brutal dictator from 1957 to his death in 1971. With a reported 30,000 murders attributed to his brutal regime, the “brain drain” this caused is something the island nation has yet to recover from over 40 years later.
Things looked rosy for the Cottagers heading into this season. Fresh off a shock run to the Europa League Final, where they fell to Atletico Madrid, optimism was the order of the day prior the campaign.
That is gone now. The grim realization that their club is owned by a raving lunatic with piles of cash is unavoidable for Fulham supporters at this point.
Oh, I almost forgot. If you aren’t into Fayed’s pederast on a pedestal, he has a personal message for you: Go f*&$ yourselves.
Here, I’ll give it to you in his own words.
“Fulham fans will love it,” said the 78-year-old. “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 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."
I’m reading the words—and they are real words—but still, this statement feels like something written by Edward Lear. It is patently absurd and nonsensical. And not in the delightful literary sense like Lear’s work either, more like in a delusional sense.
My heart goes out to all Fulham fans.
I know this isn’t your fault.