Tuesday, 20 July 2010
I think Fulham would be doing a fantastic bit of business if they lured Martin Jol away from Ajax and back to the Premier League.
Apart from appearing thoroughly likeable (and we can’t have enough likeable coaches in the division in my opinion) they are getting a manager with a decent track record and European experience – attributes many Cottagers fans probably thought they had seen the back of when Roy Hodgson left for Liverpool.
That move is still in doubt, with Ajax scrambling to keep their man with promises of transfer funds and a stop to player sales. Indeed the reports surfacing this morning suggest The Dutchman has had an about turn and decided to stay in Amsterdam after all (the cynical side of me suggests he has played Ajax and Fulham off each other - maybe he isn't so nice after all!)
If Jol does return he probably fulfills all the criteria Fulham fans will have wanted in a new boss and perhaps more importantly will have a coach that has a point to prove.
I doubt Jol would say it out loud but he was very harshly treated at Tottenham.
A poor start to the 206/07 season saw the board panic and the Dutchman was immediately under pressure (just three games into the season – talk about knee jerk reaction) and Juande Ramos was allegedly offered the job at the end of August while Jol was still in charge.
Who knows what went on exactly behind the scenes but it seems the writing was on the wall before he was bombed out three months into the season.
This was despite leading the club to two successive 5th placed finishes and being a dodgy lasagne away from leading the club into the Champions League.
It also has to be noted some of the players he brought in - Gareth Bale Aaron Lennon, Michael Dawson, and Tom Huddlestone all formed a crucial part of last year’s 4th placed side. Dimitar Berbatov was sold on at a £20million profit just two years after he signed and even two of his perceived failures, Kevin Prince Boetang and Younes Kaboul (who left for Pompey then came back last season), have latterly proven to be handy players.
If Jol had been able to continue his work at Spurs I feel he would have taken them into the Champions League earlier than they already did.
Back to Fulham and with that burning sense of injustice inside him I think he will do a great job. He won’t have the same resources as he did at White Hart Lane but the alleged £20million transfer kitty given to him by Mohammed Al Fayed is handy enough.
And with a decent backbone already in place last year's Europa League final could indeed be the start of an exacting new era rather than the end of one as most people have been predicting.