Jol still 'bruised' by clashes with Comolli at Spurs

 

Brusque and charming in equal measure, Martin Jol made a welcome return to English football yesterday as the new manager of Fulham, almost four years after his bitter and badly-handled dismissal from Tottenham Hotspur.

The Dutchman heard of his imminent sacking in a text message from his nephew midway through a Uefa Cup tie against Getafe at White Hart Lane in October 2007, after Tottenham's clandestine overtures towards the Seville manager Juande Ramos had been exposed.

The cack-handed delivery and overwhelming injustice of his dismissal must be a bitter memory for Jol, who did not shy away from questions yesterday about his time at Spurs on the occasion of his official unveiling at Craven Cottage.

Jol said he has no "hard feelings" and no "unfinished business" with Tottenham and their chairman Daniel Levy although he admitted to having felt "bruised" by the experience. He was far less charitable towards the former Tottenham director of football Damien Comolli, now at Liverpool, with whom he clashed repeatedly. It was Comolli who told Jol after Michael Carrick had been sold to Manchester United for £18.6m in 2006 that he had found an even better replacement in Didier Zokora, who is now playing for Trabzonspor in Turkey.

Jol said everything would have worked out at Tottenham had he been left in peace. "I said to Daniel when I came to England, 'If you leave me, if you let me work for you, they will push you around the streets of London like a king'. And they never did," Jol said. "There was never a problem with Comolli. The only thing was, he was responsible for most of the football things." Jol also revealed that Comolli had wanted to replace him with Ramos three months earlier. "He [Comolli] came up with Ramos, but that was before, that was already in July. And that was a bit strange, to say the least."

That episode is all water under the bridge for Jol, who moved on to work with Hamburg and Ajax before signing a two-year deal with Fulham worth £2m a year. The recruitment of Jol is something of a coup for Fulham, who tried and failed to sign him a year earlier when Ajax refused to release him.

Jol said he had been hoping for a return to England, where he also had spells with West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City as a player in the 1980s. "I love England, I was in Walsall and I loved it, even though maybe it's not the best place. Everyone knows I wanted to come back to England. When I left Spurs I said I was like Arnold Schwarzenegger – 'I'll be back' – and now I am."

Jol replaces Mark Hughes, who walked out of the club last month after taking the club to eighth place last season. Fulham chairman Mohamed al Fayed was furious at the decision, and could not resist a dig at his former employee when he declared after appointing Jol: "Now we have a long-term manager."

Jol said yesterday he would "like to stay here at least three or four years" and promised he would not be using his time at Craven Cottage as a chance to put himself forward for a better job in the Premier League.

"I don't have to use this club as a stepping stone because I was at bigger clubs before. I love the people here," Jol said. "If I would have that ambition [to work at a bigger club] I would have done that. It's about relationships. They [Fulham] were very good to me last year, this year again. Fulham is as not as big as Arsenal or Spurs. But it is a great club, the oldest in London. That's why I came here."

News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice