Juande Ramos is to be the new manager of Tottenham Hotspur after Martin Jol was last night subject to one of the most bizarre sackings of any Premier League manager. In charge for Spurs desperate 2-1 defeat to Getafe in the Uefa Cup, news of his impending exit filtered through to the crowd during the game with even his players not sure of their manager's fate.
It was an appropriately shambolic end to one of the most poorly-handled sagas in English football in recent memory. The club finally admitted in a statement at 11.31pm last night that they had sacked Jol and his long-serving assistant Chris Hughton. The Spurs chairman Daniel Levy described the decision as "regrettable", which was certainly an apt description for the manner of the dismissal.
It is understood that during the course of yesterday, Jol was made aware of the reports from Spain that Seville manager Ramos had negotiated a deal to take the manager's job at Tottenham. Having sought confirmation from the board he came to an agreement on his compensation package and agreed to oversee one more game. Unfortunately for Jol the Spanish side consigned him to his sixth defeat of the season.
Levy said: "For me, Martin and Chris' departure is regrettable. Our greatest wish was to see results turn in our favour and for there to be no need for change. We feel honoured that Martin has been manager at our club, having seen us qualify twice for Europe.
"Chris has been with us since 1977, bar a three-year period, both as player and coach and he has been an excellent ambassador for the club. They have been professional, popular and respected members of the coaching staff and there will always be a warm welcome for them both at the [White Hart] Lane."
The game, which was televised on ITV4, became something of a farce with the broadcaster finally learning of the Jol story at half-time but unable to gain any confirmation from the club itself. On the pitch things got even worse as Spurs fell behind in the 70th minute having taken the lead through Jermain Defoe. In the stands, Levy grinned awkwardly as the news spread around the stadium.
Afterwards, Jol left the stadium without giving his usual post-match press conference having first visited the boardroom. It ended two painful months for the Dutchman who has effectively been a condemned man since the board first met for discussions with Ramos in August. Even he could not have envisaged the absurd circumstances in which his reign ended. His players were informed after the match.
In a statement from Jol released by the club he said that he could "understand the position of the club in light of the results". He added: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. Tottenham Hotspur is a special club and I want to thank the terrific staff and players. For me the fans were always amazing with their support so I would also like to say thank you – I shall never forget them."
The new partnership in charge of Tottenham is set to be Ramos and former Spurs and Uruguay international Gus Poyet who is currently Dennis Wise's assistant at Leeds United. However Ramos is not expected to be in place in time for Sunday's game against Blackburn Rovers. In the meantime Tottenham have said it will be the club's development coach and former Spurs striker Clive Allen who will take control of the first team. He will be assisted by youth team manager Alex Inglethorpe.
The atmosphere at White Hart Lane went from the rebellious to the sympathetic in the space of one night. The team were booed off at half-time and at the end of the game, but then supporters broke into their traditional song about Jol after he had walked down the tunnel. By the dugouts, Jol himself was not particularly animated but instead went through the motions of a man who knew his fate was sealed.
So ends the saga of the man who led Tottenham to two consecutive fifth-placed Premier League finishes but had not really enjoyed the confidence of his club's board since early last year. He was close to the sack in February after a run of three straight defeats but a 4-0 away win at Fulham saved him. Some elements at the club wanted Jol out in the summer but Levy was not prepared to do it.
Instead they gave him around £40m to invest in new players which has so far earned Tottenham one win from 10 Premier League matches – they are 18th. Spurs approached Ramos in August and then had a last minute change of heart. When Jose Mourinho left Chelsea last month he was offered Jol's job on more than once occasion.
The very public feud between Jol and striker Dimitar Berbatov, who was a reluctant substitute at St James' Park on Monday night, has also not helped the Dutchman's cause. While the episode has also shown the Bulgarian in a different light – after he took the Premier League by storm last season – he remains the club's biggest asset and Spurs are keen that he signs a new contract.
Martin Jol at Tottenham
* The former Dutch international took over the manager's job in November 2004 after Jacques Santini's departure, losing his first game 3-2 at home to Charlton a day later.
* Spurs finished ninth in the Premier League in his first season. The following year they improved to fifth and only missed out on a Champions League place after losing at West Ham on the final day.
* Last season Jol guided Spurs to fifth again, the last four of the League Cup and the quarter-finals of the FA and Uefa Cups.
* Jol departs, with Spurs in the Premier League's bottom three having won once.Reuse content