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Martinez's woe at wretched Everton

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Holloway backs 'iconic' Jackson statue

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has defended Fulham's decision to erect a statue of Michael Jackson at Craven Cottage, insisting the tribute to the late pop sensation is a "terrific" idea.

• Fulham's off the wall tribute to Jacko

Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed has come under intense scrutiny from fans for his erection, with Cottagers supporters feeling that the statue will make them a laughing stock.

A number of fans will be staging a protest outside the ground ahead of Blackpool's visit this Sunday, but Holloway does not understand their opposition.

"I can't wait [to see the statue] because love or loathe him Jacko is one of those iconic figures," Holloway said. "I know some fans are grumbling about the statue but I think it is terrific.

"He was a very special bloke and one of a handful of people I am proud to have been on the planet at the same time as. The Beatles, Elvis, Muhammad Ali... they are the great figures of our age. David Beckham will be one day too. They are icons.

"I've got a model of Ali at home, back when he was Cassius Clay, in that famous pose over a prostrate Sonny Liston. It's one of my most treasured possessions and if I could get one of Jackson, I would.

"In fact, when we go to Fulham I'll take a little hacksaw, smuggle the statue on the team bus and take it home with me. Mind you, what if it does go missing now? They will be straight round to my house. It's not me, Mr Fayed. I won't nick it, honest!"

Jackson, who died in June 2009, was a close personal friend of Al Fayed and once visited Craven Cottage to watch a Second Division match between Fulham and Wigan in 1999.

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