Fulham get set for Jol-ly good show

TAGs: Fulham FC, Martin Jol, Soccer


Italian food is off the menu

All bets are off on the next Fulham manager odds as the west Londoners look as though they have lined up a successor to Roy Hodgson by swooping for Ajax coach Martin Jol and the Dutchman is a fine choice for Craven Cottage.

Jol is well known to the Premier League for his time at Tottenham, which ended badly following a miserable start to the 2007/08 campaign. The affable Dutchman seems to be remembered for that disappointing slump after spending £40m in the close season on expenseive flops such Younes Kaboul and Darren Bent but the fact is those signings were the work of disastrous director of football Damien Comolli who brought them in over Jol’s head. Yet it was Jol’s head that rolled. Only once Comolli had inflicted the damage of Juande Ramos, did they realise their mistake and ditch the Frenchman.

It also goes largely forgotten that Jol became the first Spurs manager since Keith Burkinshaw to qualify for European football in successive seasons. In fact, had it not been for a dodgy lasagne, the Lilywhites would have probably pipped Arsenal to the final Champions League place in 2005/06. As it was half the team when down with food poisoning and the Gunners leapfrogged them into fourth spot on the final day. For Spurs, that was quite literally a shitty day.

Since then Jol has taken Hamburg to fifth place in the Bundesliga as well as the Europa League semi-finals and last season he guided Ajax into the second place in the Eredivisie, behind surprise winners FC Twente.

Many Dutch supporters are amazed that Jol wants to leave the four-time European champions for little Fulham, but Ajax had begun to sell players over Jol’s head, while Mohamed Al Fayed has promised his man a significant war chest chest to help the Super Whites push onwards and upwards. Bodog-sponsored Fulham are an ambitious club these days.

The Cottagers boasted a superb defence last season but their fans can expect to see more attacking football next season as Jol, whose Ajax side won all 14 of their last league matches last season and finished up with a goal difference of +86, is committed to attractive football.

Jol is also an honest coach, who, like Hodgson is passionate about football but graceful in defeat. He earned great respect for the way he stomached his side’s 2006 final day capitulation without looking for excuses and deserves the opportunity to prove himself again in the English top-flight, without any meddling directors.

The 54-year-old has big shoes to fill but if anyone can do it the Jolly giant can. All the best, Martin.


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