Thursday, April 05, 2007


Here we reproduce an interview with Martin Jol which was published on the eve of the UEFA Cup quarter final first leg against Seville. Jol mentions Spurs' supporters base around the World and says that, "Everywhere you go, people know the club - Malta, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia - there are fans all over the world"

In the interview Jol also talks about Spurs' progress, ambitions and plans for the future. Of particular interest is his comments about players in The Championship who are interesting Spurs. Maybe the Bale (Southampton)rumours are not just that.

A little over two months ago, Tottenham manager Martin Jol could not have been blamed if he was feeling the pressure. An ignominious Carling Cup semi-final defeat to London rivals Arsenal followed a poor run of league form which saw the club drift down the table.

The success of last season was a memory, and there were murmurs of discontent among the Spurs faithful.
However, eight weeks on and sitting with the Dutchman at the club's training ground, Jol cuts a relaxed figure, talking with the confidence of a man who has always known he is building something special.
Five straight league victories have fired Spurs back firmly into European contention and, on Thursday, the club travel to Sevilla for a Uefa Cup quarter-final first leg - their fifth cup quarter-final in three years and first in Europe for 15 years.
It is a sign of the Londoners' huge progress under Jol - and that, he says, is just the start.
"When I first came here, the club was 15th in the league and had been underachieving for a long time," Jol tells BBC Sport.
"I had one simple ambition - to make this club great again.

"And year on year we are progressing. Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course, but you cannot tell me that we are not getting better, not improving on all fronts. "It is not a story, it's the truth."

Jol's reputation was built in Holland, taking ADO Den Haag up through the divisions, winning trophies with Scheveningen and Roda JC, before turning RKC Waalwijk from relegation strugglers to contenders for Europe. He also won the Dutch Football Writers Coach of the Year in 2001 and Dutch Players and Coaches Coach of the Year in 2002, prompting Sir Alex Ferguson to consider him for the assistant manager's role at Manchester United before settling on Carlos Queiroz.

However, it was always Spurs that held a place in Jol's heart; "I told a television programme in Holland in 2000, I think, that one day I hoped to manage in the Premiership and especially Spurs. "Tottenham are one of the few clubs in Europe with real style. I love the history, I love the outfit, I love the players they had.
"This club has over 1.3m supporters in England alone. Everywhere you go, people know the club - Malta, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia - there are fans all over the world.
"Now I am here, it is up to us to fulfil the fans' ambition."

That the Dutchman takes his individual responsibility so seriously, is partly in reaction to recent suggestions his authority is clipped by sporting director Damien Comolli or chairman Daniel Levy. He scoffs at the claims and, while his title at the club has changed to 'Manager' this season, Jol insists the continental structure of a sporting director aiding the team coach is one he totally believes in.

"Both Damien and Daniel give me massive support, and we work very well in this structure."
And it is a structure that is definitely paying dividends. After missing out on a European place by just three points in Jol's first season, he led them to fifth in the league last year - the club's highest finish in the league since 1990.

And this season, the club's continued success in the league has come alongside sustained runs in all the cups, further proof that Jol certainly has the club on the right track. Spurs have already played 50 matches this season - compared with just 40 in the whole of last term - but it is something Jol relishes.
"This is our first season battling on all fronts - in all the cups and the league as well - and I am happy with how it has gone.
"No club outside of the top four can boast what we are doing this season.
"The schedule is tough, much different to what this club is used to, but that is what we want because that is a sign of our progress.
"Next season we want it again, but with more success."
And try telling Jol that Tottenham are unlikely to compete for the title in the foreseeable future. "Why shouldn't Spurs be up there, challenging for trophies and titles?" he enquires.
"Of course it won't be easy, but we have the fans, the name, the history, and we are building a very nice squad. I feel we can get honestly back to where we were 40 years ago. People see the turnover at clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea of course, but it's not all about money.
It is about educating my players that we want to be a top club. We need the mentality that we need to win and perform every single week. And first and foremost it is about potential, and we have that here I promise you."

Jol's ambition is soaked in everything he says regarding Spurs and he insists the club are just "two or three players away from being a really top side".

One area of concern for the 51-year-old, is Tottenham's current reliance on players such as Aaron Lennon and Michael Dawson. Lennon, at just 19, has already been involved in 39 matches at all levels this season, while injuries to centre-halves Ledley King and Anthony Gardner have prevented Jol from resting Dawson at all this campaign.
"You look at the fact that, this season, I have had to play Dawson and Lennon every single week," he says. "They are terrific players, but you can't gamble on one or two players being fit all the time. My ideal squad is 22 first-team players, with four or five youngsters coming through.

"We want the best young players in Europe and England - there are players in the Championship who are very interesting for us, for example. We have players who can play at the very highest level, but we could do with a couple more because we want to be as strong as the Chelseas and Manchester Uniteds of this world. The next step is to get into the top four and to be winning trophies with the first team. That is the ambition."

And, with Thursday's Uefa Cup quarter-final against Sevilla just around the corner, Jol is keen to address the trophy situation as soon as possible.

"We can win the Uefa Cup," he says. "We face Sevilla and they are probably the best side left in the competition. But we are a top team too and you have to beat these teams if you want to win trophies. We have won every match in Europe this season. With the players we have, and with the right mentality, we have no reason to fear anyone."

Fear, it seems, is not something that Jol suffers from as he goes about building his Spurs legacy.


Anonymous said...

we are malta, super malta from the Lane!!!

Robert said...

Jol needs at least one experienced defender and a talented playmaker. And of course he needs to have all his current team confirmed for next season.

Anonymous said...

if we have Ledley King back, central defence will be covered. But we need someone better than Lee in the left-back position together with a player like Lennon on the left wing