Maarten Jol’s Black & White Army

Well hello again. It’s been a while, I hope you’re all keeping well.

Last season I attempted to maintain some level of Fulham writing by providing occasional top fives for this esteemed blog. Time rather got the better of me and the extensive research required (i.e. reading Wikipedia) to produce a top five due to my appalling memory for facts hampered me even further. A recent round robin email discussion initiated by Timmy has reignited my desire to write about Fulham so I thought I’d try and produce a weekly post. Hopefully a fairly lighthearted compliment to the excellent analysis done by Richard and Timmy. Let me know if I outstay my welcome.

The other week I made the short trip to Kingston for the Fulham XI friendly against AFC Wimbledon. I was born in Kingston and with the ground only a 20 minute train ride and a short walk away it would have been rude not to go. Whilst the team was always going to be largely made up from Development Squad players (are they still called that?) it’s nice to see some of the academy kids, players you otherwise only know by name. Lork wrote a fairly extensive report on so I won’t go into great detail suffice to say that we played some decent football but lacked a bit of guile in the final third of the pitch.

Stockdale marshals Fulham defence

It was lovely to stand on a terrace again. I know a lot of us 40-somethings probably sound a repetitive droning on about how much we miss be able to stand, but it really is the best way to watch football. The low roof over the Kingston Road stand gave the game a sort of wide-screen appearance I rather liked. It was also nice to be able to mingle with home fans. I chatted with a few Wombles fans and enjoyed a spell of “identify the player” for both teams, it seemed The Don’s had almost as many trialists and academy players in their side as we did.

A rare example of an in-focus picture that includes some action & a ball

A small group of Fulham fans put in a good effort on the singing front which helped give the match a bit of atmosphere it might otherwise have liked. Within the first quarter of an hour we’d managed a call of “Maarten Jol’s Black & White Army” and received a cheery wave from our new manager who was sitting in the stands. This was interesting I thought. I don’t remember us attempting a version of “Mark Hughes Black & White Army” until several months into his reign. Was this because we didn’t warm to the man very quickly or just a result of the lack of syllables in his name? Maybe this lack of early support contributed to the Welsh man’s decision to cut an run. I think it’s a good sign that we’ve got off on the right foot.

Mr Jol seems happy to be here and I’m excited about the adventure ahead in a way that I didn’t feel last season. Clearly selecting a manager with a three or four syllable name is the right way to go and should be a factor for consideration in future managerial appointments. Actually, I’ve not entirely thought that through. Lawrie Sanchez had four syllables but had a difficult possessive apostrophe. Don Mackay, who I believe was the first boss on whom we bestowed the honour, proved to be a great song leader but a poor manager. On the positive side we have Adams, Keegan, Tigana, Coleman & Hodgson. If Jol can live up to the achievements of that group we’ll all be happy.

2 thoughts on “Maarten Jol’s Black & White Army

  1. Bravo! It’s good to see this blog continuing to grow.

    I reckon that chant worked best for Tigana. Just fitted so well. He also had the ‘ooh ah Tigana’ thing going for him so it was happy times all round. And that was the era in which I became old enough (i.e. my voice had broken) to start chanting. I used to be well up for it, home or away, whatever the score. More discerning now.

    1. Yes. That year in the Second Division (or whatever it was called then) with Tigana was birlliant for singing. Probably up there with the Adam’s promotion season as the most fun I’ve had at Football.

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