Jol: A man with a history of always wanting more

Fulham are not the first team to experience the Dutchman's prowess in the art of negotiation

A few months into his time at Tottenham Hotspur, Martin Jol was sitting in his office at the training ground when there was a knock at the door. A club official appeared in the doorway dangling some car keys and outside was a brand new Porsche, a present from chairman Daniel Levy to Jol to mark the manager's 49th birthday.

The £70,000 sports car was also Levy's way of saying "thank you" after Jol turned the team's fortunes around with the minimum of fuss. The Dutchman had taken over and steadied the ship after the ill-judged appointment of Jacques Santini had left Levy with egg on his face. Jol took one look at the car, stuck out his Desperate Dan chin and joked: "It's a pity it's not a Cabriolet."

Fulham can't say they haven't been warned. Jol appears to be one of those insecure types who are constantly concerned that the grass might be greener on the other side of the fence, that he could do better somewhere else. He is the guy who wins the lottery but complains that it's not a rollover.

During his three-year spell at Tottenham he was jovial at times, spiky at others, but always driven. Jol is not alone among managers in wanting to better himself and in showing little shame in using one club as a stepping stone to manage another, bigger, one elsewhere. No one is criticising Roy Hodgson, for example, for walking away from Fulham.

However, Jol does have previous when it comes to playing one side off brazenly against another. He did it in 2007 when he was doing well at Spurs, but was only too happy to court the attentions of Newcastle until he was spotted by club officials in the company of the Newcastle chairman, Freddy Shepherd, who at that time was in search of another new manager.

The winner three years ago was Jol, who was able to use the interest from Newcastle to engineer himself another pay rise at Tottenham. In many respects the situation was a forerunner of the recent battle for his services between Fulham and his current employers Ajax.

The significant difference with this year's stand-off is that Jol is not trying to negotiate a fatter pay packet for himself, but a transfer budget that will allow him to build on narrowly finishing second behind Steve McClaren's FC Twente side in the Dutch Eredivisie. Some in the Ntherlands don't believe he is all that good anyway and claim that his stock is higher in England, which is one of the attractions for Jol of a return.

It is not unusual for any employee to use the threat that he might leave to take up a post elsewhere as a bargaining chip to negotiate himself a better deal in his current job. Perhaps it is simply that Jol is more ruthless about the situation, that he is unconcerned about leaving those involved with a bad taste in their mouths. He seemed to show little mind for Levy's feelings regarding the birthday Porsche. The Spurs chairman is understood to have been hurt at Jol's apparent lack of gratitude for the car, and the grievance remained until Levy gave the manager the sack in October 2007 after an indifferent start to the season. They have patched up their differences and are now back on cordial terms again.

The events in Amsterdam of the past two days show, however, that Jol remains as belligerent as ever. He can be a tough person to deal with, as Fulham owner, Mohamed al-Fayed, and chief executive, Alistair Mackintosh, have been finding out over the past 48 hours. They had set their hearts on Jol as the man to replace Hodgson, and believed they had secured his services before they found he was using their interest as a lever to strengthen his position at Ajax.

One thing has been made abundantly clear to Fulham in the chaotic last couple of days. Jol is not totally committed to Fulham, or to Ajax. Even if he did agree to take over at Fulham there can be little doubt that it would only be considered by Jol a stepping stone towards moving to a bigger club as soon as possible. The example of Hodgson taking charge at Liverpool is all the incentive Jol needs to see that Fulham could be a bridge for him to greater things.

In which case it would only be a matter of time before Fulham were caught in the same dilemma in which Ajax now find themselves. And there would be a good chance that Jol would be heading off to pastures new at high speed, probably driving that birthday Porsche that Levy gave him.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little