Following the 3-0 defeat by West Ham, Fulham FC yesterday announced the sacking of Martin Jol, who's role as head of first team duties is to be replaced by head coach Rene Meulensteen. Club owner Shahid Khan said:
“I spoke with Martin to thank him for his efforts on behalf of Fulham Football Club over the past three seasons and, in particular, since my becoming Chairman earlier this year. Martin was very gracious and I appreciate his understanding of the situation. There's no question Martin is an excellent football man and he has my utmost respect for the commitment he made to our Club.
“However, our poor form and results this season are undeniable, and Fulham supporters deserve better. With more than half the season still ahead, an immediate change was necessary.”
Accompanying the announcement, Jol said "It was a priviledge to manage Fulham", adding he knows "there are better days ahead".
Meulensteen is in no doubt about what he needs to do after taking over:
"Don't even speak about getting into the top six, top 10, whatever it is. You need to make sure you close your ranks, and you make sure you start winning again. It's a massive challenge. But when you're faced with a challenge like this it comes down to making sure you get the basic things right. You need to stay mentally strong and make sure the fans are getting behind the team. We need to make sure the players are mentally strong and believe."
Today also confirmed a change around in coaching staff. Billy McKinlay leaves after 9 years at the club, alongside Jol appintements Cornelis Jol and Michael Lindeman. Promoted to the first team set-up is Kit Symons, who has been doing fantastic work with the U21 team. Jonathan Hill is also a new appointment, joining as first team coach after 10 years coaching at youth level with Manchester United, between which he was Technical Director at the FA and coach at Tromso and Manchester City.
The managerial change follows a run of six straight defeats in all competitions, and the Trust regrets that Martin Jol's reign at Fulham did not work out as we wished it would have done, but would like to thank him for his services to the club over the two-and-a-half years - especially the three wins over QPR (including the 6-0 hammering). With a fresh impetus provided by Meulensteen and the rest of the new set up, we and everyone else connected with Fulham will be hoping we recover and climb back up the table. Committee members Chris and Lorcan have penned some further personal words on HammyEnd.com for those looking for a deeper evaluation of where the club is at and where we can go from here.
Amended: After asking for clarification from the club, Rene Meulensteen remains head coach after Martin Jol's departure and does not take the title of manager. Jonathan Hill is First Team Coach, and not Head Coach.