Almost a year after the removal of the controversial Michael Jackson statue which stood outside Fulham’s Craven Cottage grounds, the football club’s present owner, Shahid Khan, is reportedly set to unveil a new statue at the same spot.
Unlike the club’s former owner, Al Fayed who went for the bizarre choice of a pop idol, the present owner has chosen to erect the statue of a true football legend, Austin Ejide. The 30 year old Nigerian goalkeeper, who plays in the Isreali Premier League, became an instant football legend at Craven Cottage on Wednesday when he netted a freak own goal against Scotland in an international friendly.
Although the goal was disallowed for an apparent foul, football fans around the world are still amazed by the skill and technique with which Ejide cunningly palmed the ball into his own net. One football fan tweeted, “It’s not everyday you see a goalie hurl a ball into his own net. This is as legendary as Maradona’s Hand of God goal against England in ’86 #OmoNaija”
The impressive life-size statue which stands behind the Hammersmith Stand was reportedly paid for by an international network of benevolent football fans known as Le Mafia Del Futbol and it is expected to be unveiled before the start of the new season.
Ejide’s fine goal scoring form has made him the bookmaker’s favourite to be the highest scoring goalkeeper at the World Cup in Brazil.