I felt as if Jol reached a tipping this weekend with regards to how he sees his future at Fulham. I haven’t got some kind of inside opinion, but his fairly unprofessional quotes at the end of the match – about literally wanting to fight the (very) small section of Fulham fans who chanted ‘Jol Out’ after the match on Saturday – suggest that Jol is pretty much fed up with criticism from the stands. He will, I’m sure, feel as if he’s doing a good job in difficult circumstances, and considering the money we have spent and players we’ve lost that’s probably not unfair, but I get the impression from his words and his nature that he is now thinking “If they don’t want me here then why should I be here?”. Add to that how he doesn’t usually last long in jobs and it all seems to add up. So, should he leave this summer, I think this weekend would have been the tipping point.
I’m not going to get in to a debate over whether Jol is doing a great job or whether he is disappointing here. That is an entirely different discussion in itself. However, I do feel the overwhelmingly negative response to Saturday is unfair. While we were not magnificent, I felt we were good and delivered a cohesive performance that on most weekends would have delivered a fairly routine 2-0 win, having remained untroubled through most of the match with an overdose of misfortune manifesting in three (!!) offside goals (one of them clearly incorrectly called), as well as Berbatov and Ruiz missing a couple of very good opportunities. Don’t misinterpret that as being content with dropping two points because I would bet very safely that I felt more anger and frustration at conceding than most reading, but had that header not dropped in most would be commenting on the improved display of Fulham, Sidwell’s showing and how Parker continues his impressive form with Amorebieta looking accomplished on his debut out of position. For me, the line is drawn too arbitrarily like this for football fans, which is why I feel as if I need to offer some balance.
What I am saying is, there is a time for negative reaction and doubts about Martin Jol. After starting the season with three disjointed displays, culminating in a woeful second half up at Newcastle, when we were all looking for some improvement following an abysmal 2013 thus far, I was certainly doubting him more than any time during his tenure, and his preference for experience over youth irritates me greatly. I try not, and don’t find it constructive, to be a ‘Jol apologist’. However, I felt there were signs of promise against a struggling but well coached side, and while the late equaliser was absolutely anger-inducing on another level (I felt as if we really needed a win here because the caustic mood shows signs of spiralling out of control) if we can build on this performance, which featured an absence of arguably four first team players, we might do okay this season. Which is why I’m not sure there was so much residual anger and negativity. There’s a time and a place to boo, and being turned over by a terrible team perhaps begins to justify it (although I will never condone it, it accomplishes very little and only serves to achieve the opposite of what fans desire) but drawing 1-1 unjustly is not it. Tell you what, a cup run wouldn’t go amiss, so let’s hope we start one properly on Tuesday.