Though I managed to recall Michael Jackson’s cameo appearance at a Fulham v Wigan Athletic match in 1999, it wasn’t until having a peak at The Guardian’s weekly roundup of YouToob miscellany that I was aware the late entertainer was once introduced as an honorary director at Exeter City.
Jackson’s 2002 speech was obviously quite inspiring — The Grecians were relegated to the Conference in ’03 and didn’t return to the Football League until last season. Soccerlens‘ Gary Andrews remembers the fateful day in question.
On 14 June 2002, a group that would have been bizarre by any showbiz standards, but was completely weird in the context of a Westcountry city, arrived at St James Park. First soul diva Patti Boulaye belted out a number. Then David Blaine, sans box, shuffled a few cards. Then the King of Pop falteringly took to the stage.
œHello to you wonderful people of Exeter, he said to much screaming, before going on to talk (in the loosest sense of the world) about helping children with Aids, eradicating malaria and then urging the crowd to hold hands and tell their neighbour how much they loved each other. This hasn™t yet caught on at home game
For good measure, Uri Geller invited Jackson onto the board of directors, an offer the King of Pop accepted, although he never made it to any meetings. It would have been nice to think, though, that the singer was sat in his Neverland ranch pouring over reports of sausage roll sales from the Big Bank catering shack.
Geller and John Russell didn™t stop there. Further announcements were made about a series of concerts at St James Park featuring some of the biggest names in pop. Russell is reported to have told one fan he would œget his arse out in the window of Burton™s if Madonna didn™t end up playing the Park. Madge may not have joined Jacko in visiting Exeter, but the high street window of the men™s clothes shop has, thankfully, remained a nudity-free zone to this day.