Martin Jol has lauded Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed as one of the best in the business ahead of tomorrow’s trip to QPR.
Al Fayed’s personal touch was a key reason why Jol agreed to replace Mark Hughes, who will be in the opposite dugout tomorrow, at Craven Cottage in the summer. The Fulham chairman had kept in touch with the Dutch coach despite Jol deciding against taking over from Roy Hodgson in 2010. Al Fayed’s investment has helped Fulham complete their rise from the Second Division to ten years in the top flight and a European final and Jol rejects Hughes’ assertion that the club lacks ambition.
He lavished praise on Al Fayed, who he said has been nothing but supportive since he arrived back in England.
At Fulham we are quite sound, we’re healthy and we have got the chairman. Every time we want something, like Bryan Ruiz – although maybe not the reported £10million fee – he has been very willing to help us because he is almost a legend here.
He wants to help us and I don’t think you can find a better chairman than him. When I was at Hamburg, for example, we did not have a lot of money. After I left they spent 30million. I don’t know where that money came from but that is another issue. And at Ajax we had a big debt so I had to find other solutions.
Here I have to go to his office every two or three weeks and the only thing he always asks is ‘can I help you?’ and ‘are there any problems?’ If there are any problems he will help us, which is what he did with signing Pavel (Pogrebnyak on transfer deadline day last month).
Jol also rubbished talk of a shift in the power balance in west London, insisting that despite Bobby Zamora’s decision to join QPR last month, Fulham still had greater stature than their newly-promoted rivals.
I think that is something you don’t need to think about. We have been in this league for years now and QPR came up (in the summer). The first year is difficult and the second year is probably even more difficult if you look at the facts. We are established and they have to try and get established in the next couple of years.
The Fulham manager once again reiterated that he’s trying to construct a more expansive side.
I want to develop my team playing-wise. I want to create a culture where we don’t rely on one or two players. Of course you have one or two like Clint Dempsey who can make a difference, but it would be nice to create something up front. If you score 60 goals, you have a chance to be in the top eight.