No Jolly For Fulham! Now It's Sven!

Fulham are turning to Sven Goran Eriksson to fill their managerial vacancy after they missed out on securing Martin Jol. The former England and Manchester City boss is Fulham’s first-choice option after the expiry of a break clause in Jol’s contract brought an abrupt end to their interest in the Ajax chief.

Fulham’s hierarchy were forced to admit defeat in their pursuit of Jol after the Amsterdam club stood firm in their refusal to allow the former Spurs boss to quit. With the start of the Barclays Premier League season just three weeks away, Fulham have wasted little time moving on and the Swede will now be approached to replace Roy Hodgson.

Eriksson does have significant support at the club and it is understood owner Mohamed Al Fayed and chief executive Alistair Mackintosh were originally split on who should take over. The controversial former England coach, who worked alongside Mackintosh at Eastlands, was always a strong contender in the eyes of his former colleague. This should help smooth negotiations and allay fears that Fulham will enter the season in disarray as their current tour of Sweden continues.

Fulham were, however, surprised at the collapse of talks with Jol this week when it became clear a £1million break clause in his contract was no longer valid. Ajax had finally relented and agreed to see a delegation from south-west London on Wednesday night. But what was to be a new dawn for Fulham turned out to be a false one.

They, along with Martin Jol, believed the Dutchman’s determination to quit the four-time European champions, allied to the escape clause, would force his paymasters into accepting defeat. But upon closer inspection it was found the window of opportunity had closed on Sunday. Had it still been in operation, Fulham would have been able to hand over £1m and speak to their target, irrespective of Ajax’s wishes.

But with a vital Champions League qualifier next week, Ajax officials stood firm, leaving chief executive Rik van den Boog to crow: "We would not let Martin go for €10m to Fulham. It’s been hard that it lasted an entire week but for us the most important thing is the result — and it’s good. Martin is staying with Ajax."

Jol was then pushed into a very public U-turn, saying: "I had immediately rejected offers from other clubs which came in April and May, but this time my manager Mino Raiola had serious discussions with the English delegation.Ajax let me know they didn’t want me to go. And I don’t think I can bring myself to leave at this time."

So with the Jol chapter closed, Fulham are seeking to open another one with Eriksson.

Source Associated Press

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