New Fulham manager Martin Jol said today he was relishing his return to the top flight of English football. The 55-year-old Jol, who has been without a club since leaving Ajax last year, spent three years in charge of Tottenham between 2004 and 2007.
"Everybody knew I would like to come back. I said that when I left, like Arnold Schwarzenegger I will be back, and I am back," said, Jol who was on today unveiled as Mark Hughes' successor at Craven Cottage.
The Dutchman also revealed one of the main attractions in taking the Cottagers job was that he would be in charge of a club with a proud tradition. "I think Fulham is a traditional club, like Spurs, West Ham and all the London clubs. They gave me a good feeling and when we played here (with Spurs) we had a couple of good results, and I like the colours, black and white as well. I could go on but Fulham are happy, I am happy, so hopefully we can keep it that way."
Jol's first game in charge will be against NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League on 30 June, with the away leg following a week later. Fulham got into the tournament due to their fair play record.
"This is only the second or third time Fulham have been in Europe," he said. "So I could have said let's start (training) early in June but I thought it was a bad idea. You could consider it a friendly game with a serious touch."
Jol also said he had no frustrations about missing out on a move to Craven Cottage last summer, as Ajax refused to release him. "Don't forget there was another problem last year as Ajax had to play in the Champions League qualifiers and there was no (release) clause and it was really difficult, but I think this was okay.
"We talked again a couple of weeks ago after Mark Hughes left and I had the same feeling and I made a decision to go back and talk to them and I decided to take the job."