Inside Michael Jackson’s ‘strange’ Fulham trip where he congratulated 30 players
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Michael Jackson scribbled away on a programme while in the stands watching Fulham's third tier clash against Wigan back in 1999 – and congratulated their entire squad afterwards.
The King of Pop, a close pal of eccentric Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed, was tempted into a Craven Cottage trip after a tour around Al Fayed's Harrods department store.
He was treated to a routine victory having been shielded from the sun by an umbrella before taking his seat, with Kevin Keegan's players greeted by the singer in the changing room afterwards as their cruise to the title continued.
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Among those in Keegan's squad was striker Barry Hayles, who would go on to impress in the Premier League and remain an active player into his 50s thanks to his recent return to Windsor.
Speaking exclusively to Daily Star Sport, Hayles said of MJ: "It was amazing meeting Michael Jackson… I have to say it was strange though. A lot of people thought it wasn't actually him but it definitely was.
"He was a character in himself, I remember him walking along the line saying 'great game' to the whole squad but only 14 of us played, not the 30 he said it to!"
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While not known as a huge football fan, Jackson was given a statue tribute at Craven Cottage back in 2011 after the planned destination of Harrods was sold by Al Fayed.
The plaster and resin sculpture appeared outside the ground by the River Thames and remained there for two years before being removed by new owner Shahid Khan – and having a stint on display at National Football Museum in Manchester.
Following an initial backlash at the time of the announcement, Al Fayed had a rather stern message for any supporters who weren't a fan of the effigy.
He said: "If some stupid fans don't understand and appreciate such a gift this guy gave to the world 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."
Having said of his appearance at the Wigan game: "The last game he attended here with me, he was running like a child, he loved the place. He loved Fulham and he wanted to attend all of the matches."
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- Michael Jackson
- Premier League
- Fulham FC
- Wigan Athletic FC
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