Martin Jol is Fulham's choice to take the club on to the next level. Following Roy Hodgson's move to Liverpool at the end of June, Dutchman Jol's appointment sees Fulham going continental for the first time since Jean Tigana took the Whites up to the Premier League a decade ago.
The local paper in Fulham went big with the story last week, with the tabloids and Sky trailing in their wake. Ray Lew was giving nothing away after Saturday's friendly at Bournemouth, saying only the Chief Executive knew who was in the running and when an appointment would be made. However, as the squad left London this morning for a 10-day trip to Sweden they would have found all the morning papers singing the same tune - see the Telegraph's take on it here. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/fulham/7897913/Martin-Jol-poised-to-become-Fulham-manager-after-one-season-at-Ajax.html
Unfinished business and a point to prove for the bristly Jol seem bizarre motives for a major career change, prompting a move from the biggest club in Holland and the prospect of Champions League football to a homely little outfit beside the Thames. The Amsterdam Arena it aint...or WHL for that matter.
Leaving Jol's motivation aside, all credit to the Chairman for pledging the cash to attract a Big Figure from European football. Jol has taken a pay cut to come, but at £2 million he certainly tops out Roy's salary, and was only persuaded on the promise of a sizeable transfer kitty. When al Fayed's people realised turning Fulham into the 'Manchester United of the South' and that some of Tigana's signings were actually pants (Marlet) meant injecting shedloads more money into the club, a more prudent strategy from 2004 on saw the side slowly decline in the Coleman-Sanchez era to the very brink of demotion.
Jol will be judged on results, and he needs to make a quick impression. Roy was always going to be a hard act to follow. But considering the reaction to some of the other candidates touted for the job, Fulham fans today must acknowledge this brave and ambitious move to keep Fulham competitive among the Prem's big guns for next season. What do you think?
One thing's for sure, our trip to the Lane will be a spicy day out...