One of the saddest days for generations brought up on the Jackson 5 and his solo albums. I grew up on his music. It was at every dance party, every radio station. Billie Jean, Thriller, Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, Beat It. MTV’s airplay of Billie Jean was a key to their 80’s success. The last four decades were a living testimony to the King of Pop’s genius.
Michael Jackson was a unique voice, a brilliant musician, a mesmerizing dancer, and a consummate showman. His music touched us all.
He was also a soccer fan. One of his associations with soccer came from his friendship with Mohammed Al Fayed, the owner of Fulham and of Harrods. In an interview with the Daily Mirror in April 1999, Jackson talks about his discovery.
Speaking of their recent trip to a European Football game Michael spoke of his newly discovered love for the sport, “I knew nothing about soccer and I’ve never been to any sporting event, so it was a great experience for me. I’m a soccer fan now, definitely. I’m addicted. It was so exciting and passionate – the fans were like the people who come to my concerts. They were screaming and shouting and cheering their players on. I loved it. I wanted to jump up and start dancing because I’m used to performing on stage when I hear all that noise. The fans were great, although they seemed pretty surprised to see me. I have no doubt that Fulham will be promoted, they seemed a really good team with a great spirit. I met all the players and they were so kind to me.”
When the interviewer, Piers Morgan, informed Michael about a team that was up for sale, the gears in the head of Michael Jackson – business man, began to turn, “I don’t know them, but I’d love to get involved with one of the big teams if it was right to do so. How much are they?” He was told the asking price was 6 hundred million. “Dollars or pounds?” He was told it was pounds, and after a long pause he answered, “That’s interesting, very interesting. I’ll have a think about that. It sounds intriguing. I’m astounded by how much I enjoyed the soccer, that’s for sure.”
The other connection was his friendship with Uri Geller, the eccentric telekinesis guru. Jackson served on the board of Exeter City in 2002 as a honorary director on a recommendation made by Geller. Jackson as a member could take part in boardroom proceedings, make transfer decisions, see games for free, and travel on the teams bus for away games.
“When I asked him what does he know about football he said ‘absolutely nothing but I love Exeter City,'” said Geller.
“We did this out of respect. He put Exeter City on the international map.”
The following year third division Exeter City, was relegated to the Conference. Since then they have improved their fortunes and this season were promoted to League One.
Michael Jackson was planning a comeback with a series of 50 London concerts planned starting July 13 and running until March 2010. Tickets for the concerts had sold out within minutes of going on sale in March.