In the final third of last season the latter seemed to have re-discovered his predecessor’s touch, essentially making them resolute. However, just 11 days after their final game of the season – a 2-2 draw with Arsenal – the Welshman, who cited ‘personal ambition’ resigned from his post – and was heavily touted at the time to take over the vacant Aston Villa hot seat. Just five days later the west Londoners announced ex-Tottenham manager Martin Jol had been hired on a two-year deal.
Fulham fans experienced a false dawn under Hughes, but now conversely, they must be content with a replacement who boasts plenty of experience of both playing and managing in England. Mohamed Al-Fayed eventually got his man after the same deal for Jol fell through 12 months ago and now the Craven Cottage faithful are entitled to feel buoyed about the club’s new era. In his first full season with Ajax, Jol’s side scored an average of three goals per game and his methods are directed by expansive football. If he can replicate this aesthetic in west London he will be embraced immediately. The importance of appointing a tried and tested Premier League manager should not be underestimated, as he will not have the luxury of a settling in period. Qualifying for the Europa League implies a season beginning on June 30, 2011 against the Faroe Islands’ NSI Runavik.
As well as priming his new side for the premature start, he will need to assess the tools at his disposal. Question marks instantly surround the future of captain Danny Murphy, as their previous working relationship at White Hart Lane floundered, and Zolt