ABOUT MARTIN JOL
Martin Jol started playing football at the very young age of six. Together with his brother Cornelis and a mutual friend Mick Kok, they decided to enroll themselves at a local football club called SV35; funnily enough they took the wrong turn 500 meters to the left of Duindigt and ended up in front of a huge billboard which had the name of J.A.C (footballclub) written on it in orange. Reminiscing- “we asked a guy standing at the entrance for directions to SV35, and he replied… you are better off joining us! If you come in, we can register you boys immediately. We never looked back and joined JAC where we had a fantastic time”.
At 15 years of age, Martin joined the academy of a professional club named Ado in his hometown The Hague. Things were starting to get serious and he was soon selected for the county and the national team. In the same season he made his debut for the reserve team of ADO Den Haag. Having turned 16, he made quite an impression at an away game against FC Twente, consequently resulting in two offers from FC Twente and Feyenoord Rotterdam. They both offered him a contract which was 30 times more than ADO had offered him at the time (72,000 guilders a season). He played in the best under 18 team Holland had ever had. Players like Johnny Dusbaba,Tscheula Ling,Leen Swanenburg,Martin Toet,Rob Monnee,Boudewijn de Geer,Dick van de Wulp, are a few names who played for ADO and the UEFA- youth(16-18 years) 10 out of the 11 players from their team where signed as professionals for ADO and made their debuts for the first team of ADO Den Haag, later on to be renamed FC Den Haag.
Martin Jol made his debut for the first team when he was 17. His official debut was against AJAX Amsterdam in het Zuiderpark in Januari 1974 having just turned 18. This was a memorable period in the history of The Hague having won the KNVB trophy with trainer/coach Vujadin Boskov. Another historic high in the season after that was reaching the Quarterfinals of the Europa cup 2 (cupwinnerscup), where Ado Den haag lost on a aggregate score of 4-4 against West Ham United from England.
In 1977 Martin Jol signed for the German giants Bayern Munich, with players like Gerd muller, Paul Breitner, Sepp Mayer,Branko Oblak,Ulli Hoeness and many other players who had made a name for themselves. One of the highlights for Martin Jol during this period was playing in the farewell game for his boyhood hero Johan Cruyf; Bayern Munich beat Ajax with a dramatic 8-0 score in the Olympic stadium of Amsterdam.
After one season, Martin Jol left Munich to join FC Twente on a three year contract; here he enjoyed two very good seasons. His debut game for the national team was against Germany which resulted in a 1-1 tie. In the winter of 1980 Martin played in the confederations cup in Uruguay- Montevideo against Uruguay and Italy. In the last match he was presented with the man of the match award.
1981 he transferred to the English premier league club West Bromwich Albion after neglecting an offer from Arsenal – London. The legendary Ronny Allen, manager of WBA, convinced him to come to Birmingham. Martin had a fantastic season at WBA- one of his memorably moments at the time was to score the winner at White Hart lane against the Spurs. Coincidentally the same club he used to support as a lad, and later on his first club abroad as a Coach.
Another unforgettable moment at W.B.A. was reaching the semi-finals of the F.A.cup. Unfortuneatly a game he had to dramatically miss because of a cartilage-operation he had to undergo. He played another 2 seasons for the throstles which saw him play approximately 70 games. A few fine colleagues at the time were Brandon Batson, “Big”Cyrille Regis,Alistair Robinson,Gary Owen,Derick Statham,John Wyle,Andy King,Romeo Zondervan and many more good WBA players.
In 1984 Martin was anxious to go back home. As the moving truck left his street in Newquay road in Walsall, he received a phone call from Bobby Gould, the new manager of Coventry City. At this point he had already told Howard Wilkinson not to try convincing him to go to Sheffield Wednesday; he however said yes to Bobby, who was very persuasive and offered him a good signing on fee. It is here that he learned the concept of “ follow your heart and not your head” After only 5 months Bobby Gould would leave the club. Again reminiscing- “Bobby mentioned to me in the men’s toilet that he was willing tell the new manager Don Mackaay ,that he had promised me a free transfer”. This was truly a message from heaven and a last big favour from Bobby. He would return to his hometown club ADO Den Haag, were it all started!.
1984 was a year not to be forgotten! He was over the moon to have finally made it back to his hometown club and beloved city, The Hague! Martin was born in a beachside village called Scheveningen – a part of The Hague. It was a dream to be fulfilled with regards to helping his club climb back into the Dutch first division league. At the time FC Den Haag were fourteenth in the second division, and only had a spectator count of approximately 1500. He started playing in March and two months later they were playing in the playoffs after winning the last periode-title in front of 15000 fans. They won the first two games in their group, but he was soon suspended because an official in the stand accused him of elbowing a De Graafschap player. This cost him the last 4 games which were all defeats. This unfortunately resulted in them missing out on a hard earned promotion to the first division… The season after that ADO Den Haag won the title in a season, where they stayed unbeaten. This was unprecedented at the time!
Martin Jol won the player of the season award in the first division that year. At the end of the season 86-87 his club ADO Den Haag played the cup final against Ajax Amsterdam which was lost 4-2 after extra time. In that year investor Dingeman Stoop called it a day and decided to suspend all its commercial obligations. ADO got relegated to the second division again. In his last year Martin played a great part in getting promoted back again into the Dutch first division.
Martin finished his career after 18 seasons of professional football in 1989.
In 1989 he took on the duties as the commercial manager for his club FC Den Haag. Here he sought to prove himself on the commercial side of football. He took on the challenge and was able to create a sponsor group that was bigger than ever before with 150 sponsors. He combined this with studying for his coaching licence. This seemed to be a logical step, considering that he had a vast amount of expertise, and what better way to re-enter the stage again, where without doubt he belonged at the very top. Before acquiring his pro-license, he started at the club where it all began for him at youth level,HSV ADO. In his first year 1990 he agreed to train the U-14 of ADO and the first senior team which was situated in the second class of non -league football. After 2 years and two promotions, ADO found themselves at the highest non-league level . For the very first time in their history, they played with local boys and finished second in the highest top class in their first year. After 4 seasons Martin Jol decided to leave his beloved ADO [ 1994 ], in order to work for one of the biggest clubs in our region SVV Scheveningen. They were playing in the highest division of non-league football. Non-league football in the Netherlands consist of Saturdays and Sundays football.
1995,1996 and 1997 were historic years for his new club SVV Scheveningen. They won all 3 period-titles and won their league (Hoofdklasse A ) for the first time in the club’s history. After that achievement they had to compete for the Saturdays football title which they won after legendary games at Houtrust- their home ground. The icing on the cake though was winning the final against the Sundays champions, Baronie. This accomplishment resulted in them becoming champions of Holland at a non-league level.
During this period in Scheveningen, Martin completed his last course for his pro-license where he graduated cumlaude. In 1996 in his secon season at SVV, they won the first period title again and were top of the division. Martin accepted an offer from a first division club RODA JC. In his first season at Roda he won the Dutch Cup- the first prize in 30 years. The main core of his team was sold after a very good first season, and players like Gerald Sibon(Ajax), Andre Ooyer(PSV), Marco Van hoogdalem(Schalke), Ruud Hesp(Barcelona), Ramon van Haren (Feyenoord), were sold to bigger clubs. This in his opinion was the reason why the second season was less successful. At this point, he was glad to part ways with Roda and be relieved of his duties.
1998 was the year he decided to leave the Dutch channel CANAL PLUS, in order to take up the big challenge of keeping RKC Waalwijk in the Dutch eredivisie. He started the job in November when the club only had 3 points- a low point record at that stage of the season. They managed to stay in the Eredivisie after a nerve wrecking season. Martin stayed in Waalwijk until June of 2004. He and his people transformed the ‘black sheep’ of Dutch football into a beautiful Swan. RKC played in the top half off the table during his time and the points tally of 59 points were an unbelievable achievement for a club like RKC Waalwijk. This process was known as “het wonder van WAALWIJK ” or The fairytale of WAALWIJK. In 2002 Martin Jol was voted Coach of the year by the press and in 2003 he won the Coach of the year award chosen by his colleagues and professional players.
In 2004 Martin Jol joined Tottenham Hotspurs FC. Spurs were always was his childhoods favourite club and to become manager in November 2004 was a dream come true for him. When he took on the job they were 14th in the league, and by the end of the 2004-2005 Spurs had just missed out on qualification for Europe by 1 point. In the next 2 seasons Spurs finished in the top 5, which was a first in over 20 years that the Lilly-whites qualified for Europe through the league. In October 2007 Martin Jol was relieved of his duties after an indifferent start to the season. A new sporting director [Commoli] had been appointed an unsettling time for him and the players ,when the new sportdirector Commoli lined up Juande Ramos as their new manager, Martin had to leave his beloved Spurs. Martin Jol had a great time at Spurs and built up a nice record at White Hart lane. His team played some memorable games in the FA and Carling cup (reaching both semi finals). Unfortunately their European dreams vanished in the quarterfinals of the Europe league. Martin Jol had a fantastic connection with his Spurs fan. They gave him the greatest farewell game ever by chanting his name for minutes long during his last game against the Spanish club Getafe.
In 2008 he joined the German traditional giant club HSV Hamburg. Martin was the first coach at Hamburg to achieve the semi- finales of the Europa league and the semi- finales of the DFB cup, and not to mention a top five position in the Bundesliga. He was able to pull it off again, and in the space of one year managed to put together a strong competitive team which was unthinkable the year prior to this. He did however see his best 3 players, Rafael van der Vaart, Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong leave in the first 6 months of the season; nevertheless he had a relatively successful season. HSV were back in Europe again. He always had regrets about leaving the Germans to Ajax Amsterdam at the end of the season.
Martin signed a 3-year contract in 2009 at Ajax Amsterdam, where he succeeded Marco van Basten, who had finished fifth in the first division the season before. Martin Jol needed 2 months to build a new team which then remained unbeaten for 10 months. A loss of 21 million Euros from the season before was almost washed away because Ajax managed to qualify for the champions league for the first time in six years. With an enormous amount of points of 85 they still missed out on the title because of a number of inexplicable circumstances. In the same month Martin Jol and his team won the Dutch cup over 2 finals against Feyenoord Rotterdam.(2 wins) Martin Jol left Ajax the year after with mutual consent. There was a lot of politics involved and Johan Cruyff started his coup against the Ajax board. Ajax still hold the record of only conceding 4 goals in the Arena, their home base, in that season. two of which were penalties. Luis Suarez scored a record 53 goals in all competitions that year.
Ajax made a vast amount of money by selling players that Martin Jol had transformed or debuted under his regime. Players like Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Vernon Anita, Gregory van der Wiel,Demie de Zeeuw,Urby Emanuelson,Christian Erikson,Maarten Stekelenburg ,Siem de Jong ,Luis Suarez (over hundred million). He gave Marco pantelic and Dennis Rommedahl a new lease of life and they signed lucrative contracts in Greece. Strangely enough they were all of Martin’s players that were sold; up until now, no player over a period of 5 years have been sold?!
2011 saw Martin sign a two year contract with Fulham FC in London. The city which has become a second home to the Jol family and where they still own a home house in Chigwell. They settled in Esher where they live at the old hunting grounds of Henry the 8 th. In his first year Jol finished in the top half of the table with Fulham with a record of 52 points I.c.w. European football. In his second season his two best players Mousa Dembele and Clint Dempsey were sold to Tottenham hfc by mr. El Fayed,the chairman of the whites ,for 21 million pounds just before the transfer window closed.
Closed at the 31 of August, Mr Al Fayed had chosen to sell the club and was unwilling to reinvest even though Fulham FC had finished a commemorable 12 th in the league. With 43 points under his belt, it was basically made impossible for him to establish Fulham in the top half of the table. He had inherited the oldest team in European football with an average age of thirty. His ambition to invest in younger players to reinforce the hard work and momentum were left in tatters. In his last season Mr.Kahn an American investor took over Fulham. He told Martin in his first conversation: ” I am not here to burn my money”. It was obvious that Mr. Kahn had no intention nor the ambition to build on a potentially growing club. This backfired on the club and they were unable to get beyond the bottom 5 of the premiership. Martin Jol left Fulham FC at the start of November in the same season. The timing was perfect and he was able to be at the birth of his first grandson Martin. After that 3 consecutive managers tried to establish Fulham in the highest English league (Rene Meulensteen, Alan Curbishley and Felix Magath) but failed.
Martin Jol moved from Esher to Chigwell and yearned to finish his club career at the age of 57. Numerous clubs approached him from all over the globe, but he felt that it would be wise to call it a day, especially after more than 1300 games at the highest club level. The only ambition he still had was to manage a country and experience a world championship as a coach.
A nice detail is that Martin Jol refused 2 Egyptian clubs in 2014 and 2015, only for him to succumb to Al Ahly [North Africa]; the job was challenging and they were fairly persistent. The appeal of the training pitch was too great and this is what he after all loved doing. On the first of March 2016-Martin Jol started at Al Ahly.