Fulham are to return the statue of Michael Jackson outside Craven Cottage back to the club’s former owner Mohamed Al Fayed.
The sculpture was installed at the back of the Hammersmith Stand in 2011, in tribute to the late entertainer, whom Fayed insisted was a fan of the west London club. Fulham were bought by NFL owner Shahid Khan in a £150million deal during the summer, and initially it had appeared the Jackson statue would remain in place.
However, it now appears Fayed will take the statue to one of his other properties as the club press on with plans to revamp their home on the banks of the Thames.
A Fulham spokesperson said: "The statue is not part of the Riverside development of the stadium and will be returned to the former chairman in due course."
Khan, who said his takeover preserves Fulham’s debt-free status, hopes the association with the Jaguars will help to attract sponsors to Fulham.
”Certainly Jacksonville coming to London, that helps getting sponsors, but I’d love for Fulham to come to Jacksonville,” he said, speaking beneath midfielder Kerim Frei’s jersey for the new season.
Khan avoided making any lavish claims about how much of his fortune – estimated by Forbes magazine to be $2.9 billion – will be pumped into the squad. There were also no outlandish targets set for manager Martin Jol, whose side finished 12th place last season.