Premier League - Al Fayed defends Jackson statue
Sun, 03 Apr 12:01:00 2011
Al Fayed, a close friend of the late performer, caused controversy after announcing he had decided to place the tribute to Jackson outside the Cottagers' stadium.
The statue was commissioned following Jackson's death in June 2009 and was due to be erected at Harrods before Al Fayed sold the Knightsbridge store.
"Why is it bizarre?," Al Fayed said after the unveiling. "Football fans love it. If some stupid fans don't understand and appreciate such a gift they can go to hell."
He added: "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."
Kit Symons played during Jackson's appearance against Wigan in 1999 and is now U18s manager at the Cottagers.
"It is great," he said. "The big thing is it is obviously something that the chairman feels very, very passionately about and he has decided to erect this statue and fair dos to him."
Speaking on the time of Jackson's visit, he added: "It was just happy times. They were great times back then.
"The chairman obviously used to bring high-profile people down to the games.
"Tony Curtis was here a few weeks after and it was just fantastic times."