Jol returns to Premier League as Fulham manager

Martin Jol was hired as manager of Premier League side Fulham on

Tuesday, returning to London four years after an acrimonious exit

from Tottenham that burst his burgeoning reputation in England.

The 55-year-old Dutchman signed an initial two-year contract

with Fulham – with the option of a 12-month extension – as a

replacement for Mark Hughes, who resigned last week after just one

season in charge.

Fired by Spurs despite becoming a popular figure at White Hart

Lane after guiding the club to two fifth-place finishes in his two

full seasons in charge, Jol will feel he has some unfinished

business to attend to as he returns to England’s top division.

”I could have gone to other countries but I was waiting for the

opportunity to come back to England,” Jol said. ”I’m very happy

to be back and especially at a club like Fulham.”

Jol, who will be Fulham’s third manager in as many seasons, was

close to joining Fulham last offseason, but Ajax – the team he was

coaching at the time – refused to release him from his

contract.

He has been out of work since quitting the Amsterdam club in

December, following a slump in fortunes after leading the side to a

second-place finish in the league and a spot in the Champions

League.

Jol will start working at Fulham from June 23 and has a campaign

in the Europa League to look forward to after the team qualified

for the competition via the continent’s Fair Play standings.

Jol is already looking at bolstering his squad at Craven Cottage

to cope with the demand of playing on both domestic and European

fronts.

”The last time Fulham were in the Europa League (when it

reached the final in 2010), they were 12th in the table, but it is

my hope that we can build a squad that is strong enough to compete

in all of these competitions,” Jol said.

”But it would be ridiculous to say that I’m not happy with

being in the Europa League.”

Fulham, which has never won a major trophy, finished eighth in

the Premier League last season after a strong run of results

following the turn of the year.

It is a club that, considering its size and relatively meager

spending in recent seasons, has overperformed since 2008, initially

under Roy Hodgson and then belatedly under Hughes.

”I know that he will dedicate himself to helping us move

forward, and is with us for the long term, to help us build and

progress,” chairman Mohamed Al Fayed said.

”We have enjoyed three incredibly successful years, and my

hopes and dreams for this club are for that journey to continue. I

know that with his wealth of experience and success, Martin is the

right man to help us do this.”

A former player with clubs including Bayern Munich, West

Bromwich Albion and Coventry City, Jol coached Dutch teams Roda JC

Kerkrade and RKC Waalwijk before moving to Tottenham.

After being ditched by Tottenham two months into his third

season in charge, Jol coached Hamburg for two seasons before

joining Ajax.