Is removal of 'lucky' Michael Jackson statue to blame for Fulham relegation?
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Following the death of Michael Jackson in 2009, Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed honored the pop superstar with a giant statue outside the club's Craven Cottage stadium in west London.
Celebrity soccer fan
Fulham seal fate?
- Did removal of Michael Jackson statue end Fulham's 13-year Premier League stay?
- Former owner Mohamed Al Fayed blames dismantling of statue on Fulham demise
- Al Fayed installed tribute to the late singer at Craven Cottage stadium in 2011
- New Fulham owner Shahid Khan removed statue which is now in the National Football Museum in Manchester
Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook
(CNN) -- When it came to relegation from the English Premier League Fulham could not quite "Beat It" -- but things could have been very different if the London club had kept its lucky statue of Michael Jackson.
Fulham's former owner Mohamed Al Fayed has blamed the club's demise on the removal of the statue he erected in memory of the late King of Pop outside the club's Craven Cottage stadium in 2011.
After buying the club from Al Fayed in July 2013, American billionaire Shahid Khan had the two-and-a-half meter tribute dismantled.
Jackson's statue now has a new home at the National Football Museum in Manchester, but Al Fayed says it is too late to save Fulham's fate.
"This statue was a charm and we removed the luck from the club and now we have to pay the price," Al Fayed told reporters as the statue was unveiled at the museum.
"When (Khan) asked me to move it I said, 'you must be crazy'. This is such a fantastic statue which the fans are crying out for.
Moving the 2022 Qatar World Cup
Could Neymar join One Direction?
Hear newly-released Michael Jackson song
"But now he has paid the price because the club has been relegated. He called me because he told me he wanted Michael to return. I told him, no way."
Al Fayed was a friend of the Jackson and the late singing superstar accepted an invitation to watch Fulham take on Wigan at Craven Cottage in English football's third tier in 1999.
Following Jackson's death in 2009, the businessman split opinion among the club's fans with his decision to install the statue, with Al Fayed saying that fans who did not like his tribute could "go to hell."
Jackson's statue now has a place in the English National Football Museum as part of the sport's folklore.
"This is a great place visited by thousands of people and I am very proud to present them with one of the greatest artists and singers in the world," said the 85-year-old Al Fayed.
"Michael is a fantastic example for everyone. He came from nowhere and showed fantastic determination to be a superstar and I am very glad that he is now in this great institution for people to enjoy."
Al Fayed ended 16 years at the helm of the London club last summer when he sold the club to Khan, owner of American football team the Jacksonville Jaguars.
After a period of stability under Al Fayed, the club's form plummeted and it dropped down to the Championship after 13 years in the top flight of English football.
Read: Al Fayed sells Fulham to billionaire NFL owner
Read: Fulham relegated from Premier League
Part of complete coverage on
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
May 30, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.
Today's five most popular stories