POOL’S trip to Fulham on Sunday could be interesting in more ways than one – the home fans are staging a demonstration against owner Mohamed Al Fayed’s statue of Michael Jackson outside the ground.
But while the idea has gone down like a lead balloon with many Fulham supporters, there is one man looking forward to it ... Ian Holloway.
In one of the more surreal developments of the season, Al Fayed announced his tribute to the late pop star, who was a personal friend, and the statue is set to be unveiled on Sunday.
But given that Jackson had nothing to do with the football club – though Al Fayed did invite him to watch a Second Division victory over Wigan in 1999 – it hasn’t gone down well with all supporters.
Hundreds of fans have signed a protest petition and a demonstration is planned on Sunday. However, Holloway is looking forward to seeing the statue and may even take a photograph of it.
“I can’t wait, because love or loathe him Jacko is one of those iconic figures,” said the Pool boss, who likes his music.
“I know some fans are grumbling about the statue but I think it is terrific.”
“He was a very special bloke and one of a handful of people I am proud to have been on the planet at the same time as.”
“The Beatles, Elvis, Muhammad Ali... they are the great figures of our age. David Beckham will be one day too. They are icons.”
“I’ve got a model of Ali at home, back when he was Cassius Clay, in that famous pose over a prostrate Sonny Liston. It’s one of my most treasured possessions and if I could get one of Jackson, I would. In fact, when we go to Fulham I’ll take a little hacksaw, smuggle the statue on the team bus and take it home with me.”
“Mind you, what if it does go missing now? They will be straight round to my house. It’s not me, Mr Fayed. I won’t nick it, honest!”
Holloway would do well to smuggle it on to the coach unnoticed. The statue is six feet tall and will show Jackson with ammunition belts strapped across his chest and with what appear to be underpants over his trousers.
The pop icon will join Fulham Fifties footballing legend Johnny Haynes as the only two club “figures” immortalised at the stadium.
Fans have complained that Mr Fayed is using Craven Cottage as a “dumping ground for his weird statue”, which will make Fulham a “laughing stock”.