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Martin Jol is Kind of a Big Deal in Egypt

Martin Jol is Kind of a Big Deal in Egypt

He was a popular figure during the majority of his time in charge of Tottenham Hotspur, and Martin Jol has finally won a domestic title, almost nine years after his acrimonious departure from White Hart Lane. Jol joined the Cairo-based side Al Ahly in February of this year, and the Dutchman has done a fantastic job during his four month tenure. Al Ahly captured the Egyptian Premier League title this weekend following a 2-1 victory over rivals Al Ismaily in the Egyptian classico. While my knowledge of Egyptian football is somewhat limited, I do know that the football is of a high standard, and that Al Ahly are the most successful club in the competition’s history. Although Martin Jol was walking into one of the top sides in the division, there was significant pressure on the former Ajax man, and with Al Ahly having to play their games behind closed doors due to security issues, Jol’s task was never going to be an easy one. Al Ahly are still involved in the African Champions League, with the club attempting to win that tournament for a ninth time.

Martin Jol did leave Spurs in the best of circumstances, and was harshly treated by Daniel Levy, with the Tottenham supremo having already lined up Juande Ramos to take over quite some time before Jol was given his marching orders. Martin Jol arrived in 2004 as assistant to Jacques Santini, but following the Frenchman’s resignation after just 13 games, Jol took over manager and had an immediate impact. Santni’s defensive brand of football was replaced with a free-flowing, attacking style, and Jol was handed the FA Manager of the Month award in December 2004 after guiding his Tottenham side to five victories in a row. The next two campaigns saw Spurs finishing fifth in the Premier League on both occasions, and Martin Jol establish himself as one of the very best managers in England. things turned sour in 2007 however, the Dutchman becoming the victim of his own success to some extent. Some big money signings were made, but they were brought in by the virus that was Director of Football Damien Comolli, something which completely undermined Jol’s position as manager.

Tottenham didn’t have the best of starts to the 2007–08 season, and Martin Jol was sacked following a 2-1 defeat in the UEFA Cup at the hands of Getafe CF. The rumour spread during the match, and the home fans knew the manager was on his way before he himself was informed by the powers that be. Jol had plenty of opportunity to leave Tottenham prior to this, with Ajax among the side’s courting his services. Martin Jol is arguably the most likeable Spurs boss of the 2000’s, and I’m glad he’s enjoying some long overdue success in Egypt.

Fulham v Tottenham Preview

Fulham v Tottenham Preview

Tottenham make the relatively short journey to Craven Cottage on Wednesday evening to face a Fulham side in serious trouble as they currently sit just three points off the bottom of the Premier League table. The Fulham hierarchy took the decision to part company with manager Martin Jol following the club’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham this past Saturday. Having already brought former Manchester United assistant Rene Meulensteen to the club, they had a ready-made replacement and will be hoping this talented coach can have an immediate impact.

Many sportsbooks like Bovada make the away side the favourites for this encounter, with Spurs on offer at a best price of 8/11. Fulham are on offer at as big as 5/1 in places which will definitely appeal to bet on sports in general punters, while the draw can be backed at 29/10. While the league table tells you that Tottenham are the worthy favourites for all three points, the Fulham squad are likely to be buoyed by the change in leadership and could well put up an improved display here. That being said, Spurs’ record on the road is quite impressive bar the 6-0 thumping at the hands of Manchester City and their defence could well be able to contain the Fulham front line.

Former Tottenham hero Dimitar Berbatov will still be missing for Fulham so another former Tottenham man Darren Bent looks set to continue up front. It will be interesting to see how many changes Rene Meulensteen makes from the side Martin Jol was regularly putting out. Tottenham are still without Danny Rose and Christian Eriksen but will still be able to field a strong looking side. Both Andros Townsend and Gylfi Sigurdsson will be pushing for starting berths having missed out at the weekend.

I don’t think this will be easy by any stretch of the imagination, but I fancy Spurs to get all three points, with 1-0 my favoured score line.

7 Players Signed By Spurs In the January Transfer Window

7 Players Signed By Spurs In the January Transfer Window

Since the transfer window came into force during the 2002-03 season, Spurs have been one of the most active clubs in terms of players arriving at and leaving White Hart Lane.

After a fairly quiet window by their standards – signing trio Yago Falque, Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen all on free transfers, let’s take a look at seven players signed for big money during the January period.

7. Andy Reid
Signed from Nottingham Forest for £4 million (2005)

After building a reputation as one of the most talented players outside the Premier League, Reid joined Spurs in a £4 million move in 2005. He impressed on his debut, a 3-1 victory against Portsmouth, but struggled to recapture the form that persuaded Martin Jol to sign him. He made just 26 appearances in 18 frustrating months at White Hart Lane, scoring once in a 5-1 victory against Aston Villa at the end of the 2004-05 campaign. Reid is now back at Forest after spells at Charlton Athletic, Sunderland, Sheffield United and Blackpool.

6. Michael Dawson
Signed from Nottingham Forest for £4 million (2005)

While Reid failed to make an impact at Spurs, Dawson, who joined at the same time, is now in his eighth season at the club. The defender has had mixed fortunes, playing a key role during the 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons but then finding himself out of favour when the likes of Jonathan Woodgate arrived in 2008-09 and again when Sebastien Bassong joined in 2009-10. But, it was that season where Dawson really made a name for himself. He found himself back in the side after Woodgate and Ledley King were injured and was named captain when Robbie Keane left for Celtic. He was part of the England’s World Cup squad and was named Spurs Player of the Year. Fast approaching 250 club appearances, Dawson could be remembered as an all-time great.

5. Younes Kaboul
Signed from Portsmouth for £9.5 million (2010)

The first of three players to have been signed, sold and re-signed by Spurs, Kaboul returned to White Hart Lane in 2010. He was said to be a “late developer” by manager Harry Redknapp and that he was “much improved” upon his return to the club. Kaboul was key in the winning goal against Manchester City which secured Champions League football for the first time for Spurs – he crossed in the ball that was parried into the path of scorer Peter Crouch. He later went on to score the winning goal against Arsenal after Spurs trailed 2-0 at half-time.

4. Alan Hutton
Signed from Rangers for £9 million (2008)

Hutton is an example of a big-money signing that didn’t really work out for the club. He was restricted to just 40 appearances during two years at White Hart Lane and was sent out on loan to Sunderland during the 2010 January window. The Black Cats were keen on a permanent deal but were not prepared to pay what Spurs were asking. Hutton joined Aston Villa last summer on a permanent transfer and linked up again with Alex McLeish, his manager at Rangers.

3. Wilson Palacios
Signed from Stoke City for £12 million (2009)

Palacios attracted plenty of attention during his time at Wigan Athletic and he sealed a big-money move during the 2009 transfer window, a period where Spurs were splashing the cash like a “hot tip” fuelled punter at a free bets website. He won Man of the Match in just his second appearance for the club following a battling display in the goalless draw against Arsenal and scored his first goal not just for Spurs, but in English football, against Hull City in August 2009. Palacios was a mainstay in the Spurs midfield during the 2009-10 season but was restricted to just 21 league appearances in the 2010-11 campaign – but made a big contribution to Spurs journey to the quarter finals of the Champions League. He joined Stoke City in a £6 million deal in August 2011.

2. Robbie Keane
Signed from Liverpool for £14 million (2009)

During his first spell at Spurs which lasted six season, Keane scored 107 goals in 254 appearances in all competitions. His move to Liverpool lasted just six months before he returned to White Hart Lane in January 2009. This move prompted an advertisement by Virgin Trains to use the slogan: “A Liverpool to London return faster than Robbie Keane”. He scored four goals in 15 Premier League appearances on his return, including a consolation against Liverpool and six in 20 during the first half of the 2009-10 campaign before joining Celtic on loan in the 2010 January window. Keane then joined West Ham United on loan during the 2011 January window and then Aston Villa on loan during the 2012 window – this time from Los Angeles Galaxy.

1. Jermaine Defoe
Signed from Portsmouth for £15.75 million (2009)
Signed from West Ham United for £7 million (2004)

Jermaine Defoe, Tottenham Hotspur and the January Transfer Window is an irresistible combination and saw big money moves in both the 2004 and 2009 windows. After arriving at White Hart Lane from West Ham United, Defoe scored 64 goals in 177 appearances in all competitions but was sold to Portsmouth during the 2008 January window for £6 million. After just one year at Fratton Park, Defoe rejoined Spurs in a £15.75 million deal and scored against his former employers in a 1-1 draw in 18 January. The striker netted three goals in his first four matches before injury meant for the for the second time under manager Harry Redknapp, Defoe would miss a Wembley final – the FA Cup in 2008 and Carling Cup in 2009. Now in his fourth season since his return, Defoe has scored 48 goals in 106 appearances in all competitions, taking his grand Spurs total to 112 goals in 283 games.

I might start supporting Fulham

I might start supporting Fulham

So that was a white lie, but it will hurt seeing Martin Jol at another Premiership side if today’s papers are to be believed. Maarten Cornelis Jol should never have lost his job as Tottenham manager and the way he was treated still gets my goat when I think back to it. Obviously it’s all water under the bridge now, and I wouldn’t swap Harry for anyone, but I was very disappointed when the Dutchman was replaced.

His record since leaving Spurs has enforced the fact he is an excellent manager having tasted success at both Hamburg and Ajax. It’s easy to forget what he achieved at Tottenham and how much improvement and consistency he got from the squad during his tenure. Winning the League Cup under Ramos vindicated the club’s decision to replace Jol in the short term, but Ramos’ overall record did nothing of the sort.

I’ve always had a lot of time for Fulham as a football club anyway but now I’ll be keen for them to do well, just so long as it isn’t at Tottenham’s expense. If Martin Jol does take the reigns at Craven Cottage, it will certainly make for a couple of very entertaining fixtures this coming season and it would be no surprise to see Jol’s Fulham side turn us over in at least one of those Premier League meetings. As much as I’m a fan of our former manager, I just hope it isn’t at White Hart Lane!

We will never know what might have been under Martin Jol. I realise he was going through a slightly rough patch when he was removed from office at Tottenham but that was likely due to the fact his position had been undermined by both Levy and Comolli. Fingers crossed it will be a successful 2010/11 season for both Tottenham and Fulham.

It’s time to beat Man Utd

It’s time to beat Man Utd

Fergie & Harry
Fergie & Harry
I, like many other Spurs fans, am sick of our woeful record against Manchester United. I’ve lost count of the amount of times we have outplayed them and still got beat. The two games that stick in my throat the most are probably the same as the rest of you. Firstly when we were 3-0 up at half time at the Lane only to capitulate in the 2nd half, then the win that never was at Old Trafford under Martin Jol when Pedro Mendes scored only for the goal not to be given under orders of Sir Alex!

This season has been more of the same really. At home earlier this season we were probably the better side over 90 minutes, with the match ending 0-0. The FA Cup match at Old Trafford was bit of a farce. Spurs had a large amount of the play but just it just didn’t look like we wanted to win. Nothing much to be said about the Carling Cup Final. We held them for the full 120 minutes of open play and created enough clear cut chances to have won the game.

Saturday’s game is a realistic chance for Tottenham to erase the pain that Utd have heaped on us for the last few years and really throw a spanner into the works where their title challenge is concerned. They currently sit three points clear of Liverpool with a game in hand but a win for Spurs would make the title race a lot more interesting during the last few games of the season. It would also dramatically boost our chances of competing in the Europa League next season.

Tottenham’s form in recent games is top draw and we are 3rd in the form table over the last 6 games, just in front of Man Utd. Admittedly, not many teams go to Old Trafford and win, Liverpool are the only side to have done so this season, but the way we are playing, we can be confident of giving a good account. The Utd players might be thinking the hard work is over after getting 3pts in midweek against Portsmouth and the visit of an in form Spurs side is the last thing they need at this stage of their season. They have had a number of tough matches in quick succession and I feel like this is a great time to play them. We go their fresh, in form and with a new confidence that seems to increase game on game.

I’ve got an image of myself enjoying a cold bottle of Becks while replaying a Defoe wonder goal in my head Saturday evening, safe in the knowledge we have notched up another 3pts. I hope I’m right!