Martin Jol was forced to work with his replacement

Martin Jol did a fine job with Fulham Football Club. Despite the disappointing end, when it seemed like he was awaiting the end of his time as manager but refused to walk away, Jol tried to get his time to play exciting, attacking football as often as possible.

Martin Jol was forced to work with his replacement

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December 16th, 2013

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He rarely resorted to negative tactics or rigid, disciplined systems. When he had the chance, the Dutchman encouraged his team to get themselves on the ball, enjoy possession and do things to score goals.

He deserved better than he got as his time with Fulham ended. Under a new owner, he was unlikely to last long. Jol and Shahid Khan had no lasting relationship and there was no obvious loyalty between the two. Fulham’s new chief would be, rather rightfully, a lot quicker to replace his manager rather than Mohamed Al Fayed who brought Jol to the club. He’d expect a constant run of positive results or elect to bring in his own man for the job.

However, the manner with which he brought Rene Meulensteen into the coaching staff was not right.

Having left Manchester United in the summer with a strong reputation as a coach, Meulensteen made it clear he was hoping to earn himself a managerial role. He’d used his time working under Sir Alex Ferguson to learn from the great manager and wanted to step into that capacity elsewhere. He got 17 days with Anzhi before accepting the offer to become Fulham’s new head coach “alongside” Martin Jol.

To everyone looking in on the club, the near future appeared painfully obvious. Meulensteen was never going to accept a role alongside the current manager, unless there was potential for matters to change within a number of weeks. The partnership didn’t last a month and Jol was booted out on December 1st.

Jol, ignoring the five consecutive league defeats that lead to his dismissal, deserved better. He didn’t need his immediate replacement to be drafted in while he remained at the club. It was a disrespectful act by the new owner, even if Rene has made a strong start to life in the job.

There have been encouraging performances against Everton and Tottenham in the face of defeat and a confidence-restoring win over Aston Villa last weekend. Dimitar Berbatov is starting to find his sparkle again, having worked with Rene at Manchester United previously.

A change needed to be made. That can’t be argued with, but the club shouldn’t have forced Jol to do a handover like he did.

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