The road to Jol: how we got here, what it means

Putting the snippets together into a small home-made blanket:

It appears that Mark Hughes very nearly didn’t survive 2010. After the West Ham defeat he was in big trouble, but senior players persuaded MAF to put his axe away. This was partly because they understood how important Bobby Zamora was to the team, and partly because of a general belief in what they were doing under the new manager. However, there may also have team meeting around that time in which the players asked to revert more to their old style of playing.

They then beat Stoke 2-0 – the narrative here would be that they were determined to make a point, but in the cold light of day that away game was like many others, except Chris Baird scored two screamers. Whatever, Fulham started to play much better – in part because of an easier run of fixtures – and the pressure was off.

Nevertheless, wheels had been put in motion, and about this time Alastair Mackintosh may have been in touch with Jol about replacing Hughes (Jol was out of work as of early December). (Clearly this goes against the prevailing thought that Jol had messed Fulham around in the summer, and that he really had been blocked by a determined Ajax board.)

So there we were, Jol teed up but then not required, as form improved.

Meanwhile, could our friends up the road have had a whisper in Mark Hughes’ ear? The season ends, Hughes resigns, and for reasons outlined above, Mackintosh is able to act fast and get the man he wanted all along.

Is he the right man?  Time will tell.

Raphael Honigstein of the Guardian has been quick to prick our balloon. From Twitter today:

“I always thought Jol was a good manager. Then I talked to some Hamburg players/agents…”

“Ask anyone at Ajax! He was terrible there.”

A retweet: “Check only his last season with Ajax. 3rd place, terrible football with Suarez in squad and fired.”

Q: “You’re judging a manager on his reputation with agents?”
A: “No, on his actual work, in training.”

Q: “he’s still a good coach. Didn’t work out at Ajax. Did a great job at Spurs and there after at Hamburg. Has eye for good players.”
A: “That’s the perception. Reality somewhat different, sadly.”

“there’s a wider point here. because there is little to no transparency at PL clubs, UK media have little idea what managers do or don’t do..”

“… that’s why opinions are formed on the basis of pressers and interviews.”

All of which overlooks a decent managerial career in which he won 45% of his games at Spurs (acceptable), 60% at Hamburg and 65% at Ajax. All of those are well into the “competent” level of management (Spurs) and depending on what was expected of him, well beyond that since.

We’ll just have to see, won’t we?  It’s nice to have a charismatic manager who will reassure some of the better players that we still mean business. It’s less nice that they’ll all have to prove themselves again, find a new style, etc, etc, but such is football.  Under the circumstances I believe we ought to be happy with how things have turned out. Welcome, Martin Jol!

13 thoughts on “The road to Jol: how we got here, what it means

  1. I’m happy. Seems a good fit for Fulham in terms of character, and Spurs fans clearly liked him. Glad that’s sorted, looking forward to the season now…

  2. I did worry when Honegstein was saying that he is trouble – but you cannot overlook his record at every club he has been to.

    In his year at Ajax, they finished 2nd by 1 point, to an FC Twente team that were very good. Interestingly Ajax scored an amazing 106 goals whilst conceding only 20.

    I am not sure how long he will stay, but I am excited about the football next year, and I am also much more confident about our Europa League chances.

  3. Spurs fan here, Honegstein sounds whatless, Jol was excellent at Tottenham, was the manager who took us to 2 5th place finishes and Redknapp has been living off his squad ever since.

    Fans loved him and we never wanted him to go, players loved him, he was excellent in press conferences, ask many a spurs fan and they would have him over Redknapp.

    He had one bad managerial game agaisnt Chelsea when we drew 3-3 but then again we beat them 2-1 that season for the first time in donkies years.

    I kinda feel he over achieved and Levy though Juande Ramos would take us to the next level, that never worked out.

    Just trust me he will sign you a few great players and will get the best out of the decent ones you have now.

    1. Welcome Spurs fan Jay! Thanks for the perspective about Honegstein too. I maintain there was much to Jol’s departure from Ajax than meets the eye, and would like to ask Johan Cruyff, even though he wasn’t hired yet, about it…

  4. A slight alternative to your scenario Rich. At the West Ham game, the crowd chants “Hughes out”. Hughes decides then and there that Fulham don’t deserve him, and whatever happens, he’ll leave at the end of the season. Macintosh / MAF see the writing on the wall, line Jol up. Make Hughes a token offer which he happily turns down. In comes Jol. I doubt if the board would have sacked Hughes in mid-season, but anything is possible I suppose.

    1. Oh, I wasn’t just speculating, this is based on what I’ve read and heard in various places. But I’m sure there’s an more than an element of what you say, too.

  5. I’ve got a lot of respect for Honigstein, so those are slightly worrying tweets. That said, I’m pretty happy with this appointment. Jol was my first choice last summer, so lets hope he lives up to expectations!

  6. I wonder whether Chris Hughton fits in here somewhere.

    He was Jol’s coach at Spurs but very quietly in the background.

    He did much better at Newcastle than anyone expected but somehow he didn’t have a big enough profile for Ashby and hasn’t managed to tempt a big club to give him a chance.

    Maybe he’s Peter Taylor to Jol’s Clough. and together they’re more than the sum of their parts.

  7. Jol is a bit of an asshole with his players. Vincent Kompany was not a big fan while at Hamburg nor was Suarez who was manhandled by the guy once or twice on the sidelines. Two brittle guys in a row and you’ll see some heart and soul guys leaving the club soon.

  8. I’m pleased with this appointment but I hope that he will see what works at this club already and leave that alone. i thing much of hughes success in the second half of the season was not disrupting what Roy built, especially in the back.

  9. Honigstein is a top journalist and definitely worth listening to, but he should have known better than to retweet such incorrect information. At Ajax he finished 2nd, not 3rd, and they got 85 points, which would have been enough to win the league in every other season except one since they changed it to three points for a win. He also won the cup there.
    He did a great job at Spurs, there were some disappointments, but I think Fulham fans should be delighted to have him in charge.
    This is the piece of written on his appointment if you have a moment.

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