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|Former manager Mark Hughes, right, pictured with Fulham owner Mohammed Al Fayed, resigned last week after being linked with Aston Villa [GALLO/GETTY]|
Dutchman Martin Jol was named as the new manager of English Premier League side Fulham on Tuesday, replacing Mark Hughes who resigned last week after only one season in charge.
The 55-year-old former Spurs and Ajax boss signed an initial two-year contract with the London side and said he was excited at returning to England.
Fired by Spurs despite becoming a popular figure at White Hart Lane after guiding the club to two fifth-place finishes in his two full seasons in charge, Jol will feel he has some unfinished business to attend to as he returns to England’s top flight.
“I am very happy to join Fulham, a wonderful traditional club,” Jol said in a statement on the club’s website.
“It is a club with good, solid foundations and a great fan base. I am looking forward to being part of the Fulham family and thank the chairman for the trust he’s shown in me.”
“I could have gone to other countries but I was waiting for the opportunity to come back to England.
“I’m very happy to be back and especially at a club like Fulham.”
Hughes resigned after one season last Thursday amid media speculation linking him with the vacant post at Aston Villa.
Fulham finished eighth under Hughes and will play in next season’s Europa League after qualifying via the Fairplay table.
Jol, a former Dutch international, established his coaching credentials with Roda JC and RKC Waalwijk in the Netherlands before moving to Spurs in 2004 as assistant to Jacques Santini, whom he replaced as manager later that year.
A popular figure at White Hart Lane, who had also spent three years playing in England with West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City, Jol led Spurs to successive fifth-place finishes in 2006 and 2007 and took them into the UEFA Cup.
However, he was sacked three months into the 2007/08 season and replaced by Juande Ramos.
Jol then spent two years at Hamburg SV before moving to Ajax in 2009.
He was in talks about a possible move to Fulham last year after Roy Hodgson left for Liverpool but stayed with Ajax, only to resign in December.
Jol, who will be Fulham’s third manager in as many seasons, is already looking at bolstering his squad at Craven Cottage to cope with the demand of playing on both domestic and European fronts.
“The last time Fulham were in the Europa League (when it reached the final in 2010), they were 12th in the table, but it is my hope that we can build a squad that is strong enough to compete in all of these competitions,” Jol said.
“But it would be ridiculous to say that I’m not happy with being in the Europa League.”