Jol stamping his mark on Fulham
While no-one has been directly recruited to replace Murphy in the team so far, it won't be far away and it won't be for too much money.
July 17th, 2012
When Martin Jol was in charge of Tottenham Hotspur, he allowed Bobby Zamora and Danny Murphy to leave White Hart Lane. The players weren’t part of his plans with the club and he took swift action in moving them on.
Zamora ended up at Fulham via West Ham United. Murphy was sold directly to the Craven Cottage club.
When Jol took over as the Fulham manager, it was expected to be a different story between the Dutchman and the two key men in the Fulham side. Both players had been star performers during the 2010/11 season and as the 2011/12 season loomed, they were expected to be just as pivotal for Jol’s Fulham as he moved forward.
Murphy, the club captain, had been constantly praised as the ball-playing midfielder in the centre of the park for Fulham. Coupled with sublime technical abilities and enough grit to defend resolutely for an entire game if need. Zamora, of course, had finally become the front man he had always promised to be. Blessed with two excellent feet, an ability to play with his back-to-goal and racing into the channels and an instinctive finisher, Zamora’s performances had been such that he was comfortably in England contention as the season started.
However as Fulham started their first season friendly of the summer, both players were missing from the squad. In fact, they are no longer players for Fulham Football Club. Bobby left in January when he was sold to Queens Park Rangers. He was quickly replaced by Pavel Pogrebnyak, who was in turn replaced by the much more consistent Mladen Petric.
Jol has always been merciless with players in his time and he has been similarly so in charge of Fulham. After five superb years at the South-West London club, many would have argued that Murphy should have been retained for his services to the club.
However, fans shouldn’t worry too much about seeing Murphy leave. At 35, he was unlikely to play as frequently as he has done in the past and his move to Blackburn Rovers arguably indicates an ambition to move closer to home than continue pushing himself to play at the highlest level.
As Jol has shown with his astute accquisitions of Pogrebnyak and Petric, he knows what players he needs to compliment his team. Pog has always been an inconsistent player who scores goals in fits and starts. His six months with Fulham exemplified that to a tee. Petric is a more reliable forward who won’t go missing in games as often as the Russian did towards the end of the season.
While no-one has been directly recruited to replace Murphy in the team so far, it won’t be far away and it won’t be for too much money.
Having gained the signature of Hugo Rodallega since his departure from Wigan, Jol has quickly implied he’s able to go toe-to-toe with other Premier League clubs and walk away with a prized new player. The Colomobian striker had caught the interest of many rival clubs and it is to Fulham and Jol’s credit that he elected to sign for them over others.
Last season, Jol was rightfully praised for doing such a fine job given the lack of preparation he was allowed. 13 days after being installed as manager, his season kicked off in the opening round of the Europa League qualifying rounds. He still managed to lead Fulham to a fine European campaign and an admirable top-half finish in the league.
For now, next season should go even better. Fulham retain the services of Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele as well as the solid defence that has become something of a trademark. The positives last year were very clear.
Jol is starting to build a team that he is happy with and in his own image. It promises to be excellent.