Fulham v Stoke

Hughes: Madness to sack Martin Jol

October 4, 2013
By Ian Edwards

Mark Hughes knows that victory on his first return to Fulham, since walking out on the club, would give Martin Jol greater reason to fear the sack at Craven Cottage -- but believes Shad Khan would be "crazy" to relieve the Dutchman of his duties.

Martin Jol touchline v Manchester United
PA PhotosMartin Jol could be sacked if Fulham lose at home to Stoke on Saturday.

- Mison: Jol on the brink

Hughes works for one of the most patient, supportive and understanding chairmen in the Premier League in Peter Coates, but he cannot understand why any football club would want to make managerial changes before the season has been given chance to take shape.

Sunderland have already dismissed Paolo Di Canio and Jol is under increasing pressure after a miserable sequence of just one point from Fulham's past seven home games.

Martin O'Neill, the former Sunderland manager, has already been linked as a possible replacement for Jol, who is believed to have informed close friends that he fears he is on borrowed time.

Hughes walked out on Fulham in June 2011, in acrimonious circumstances. Jol may not be given that choice should Stoke add to their opponents' problems in front of their own supporters, but the Stoke manager feels all owners should be more patient.

"It is too early to talk about managers leaving their jobs and it’s ridiculous that a quality manager like Martin Jol is under pressure," said Hughes.

Khan has not had any major decisions to make in terms of management personnel since buying control of the club from Mohamed Al Fayed and Hughes feels the new owner has to be brave and trust the knowledge and experience of his manager, rather than pander to supporters who want a change.

"Martin Jol has worked at a high level throughout his career and he has the knowledge and the experience to get through a perceived period of uncertainty. There’s a lot of disruption at the start of the season with international breaks and transfer windows.

"The league doesn’t settle down until 10-15 games in, it’s only then you really know exactly what kind of situation you’re going to be involved in.

"Until you get to that point in the season then you can’t be quite sure what the season holds for you. After five or six games, when you’ve got a manager with the experience of Martin Jol in the position, you just need to let him get on with his job because he knows what’s required. He knows what he needs to do and he’ll get the job done."

Hughes is uncertain as to what kind of reception he will be given on his first return to the club after resigning two years ago, despite leading Fulham to an eighth-place finish that secured them a Europa League place.

He was described as “a strange man” by Al Fayed after claiming that Fulham failed to match his ambitions, but has admitted that it was a mistake to leave.


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