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26 Oct 2007 10:13
Tottenham Hotspur have sacked their Dutch manager, Martin Jol, the Premier League club said in a statement on Thursday.
“We can confirm that the board has this evening asked Martin Jol, the club manager, and Chris Hughton, the first team coach, to stand down from their positions with immediate effect,” the statement read.
In a bizarre end to his three-year reign at the north London club, Jol was in the dugout for the 2-1 Uefa Cup defeat by Spanish side Getafe despite rumours circulating around the ground that he had already been sacked.
Fans sang the Dutchman’s name in the closing stages as a stony-faced Jol stood largely in silence on the touchline.
Jol’s departure has been widely tipped since Tottenham, regarded as potential top-four challengers this season after successive fifth-placed finishes, lost their opening league game against promoted Sunderland.
Tottenham officials were photographed meeting Seville’s Juande Ramos in August, although chairperson Daniel Levy publicly offered his backing to the beleaguered Jol.
The team’s performances have not improved and a 3-1 defeat at Newcastle United on Monday left them third from bottom with just one win from their opening 10 games.
They have the second worst defensive record in the division.
“I can understand the position of the club in light of the results,” Jol said.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. Tottenham Hotspur is a special club and I want to thank the terrific staff and players.
For me the fans were always amazing with their support, so I would also like to say thank you—I shall never forget them.”
The club did not say who would replace Jol, although Ramos is expected to take over.
Chairperson Levy said sacking Jol and Hughton, who enjoyed a distinguished playing career with the club, had been regrettable.
“Our greatest wish was to see results turn in our favour and for there to be no need for change,” Levy said.
“We feel honoured that Martin has been manager at our club, having seen us qualify twice for Europe.
“Chris has been with us since 1977, bar a three-year period, both as player and coach and he has been an excellent ambassador for the club.
“They have been professional, popular and respected members of the coaching staff and there will always be a warm welcome for them both at the Lane.”
Jol originally joined Tottenham from Dutch side RKC Waalwijk in 2004 as assistant to Jacques Santini, but took over when the Frenchman left the club just three months into the season.
After years of mid-table mediocrity, Jol revived Tottenham’s fortunes in the league and they failed to make the Champions League qualifiers only on the final day of the 2005/06 season with a defeat at West Ham United.
He followed that with another fifth-place finish, raising hopes that Spurs could break the stranglehold of the established big-four teams in England, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.—Reuters
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