A big man who took on a big job at Tottenham when he stepped into the shoes of Head Coach Jacques Santini, who left his post after just 13 games in charge in November 2004, but his tactics were in the true Tottenham style, which endeared him to many of the Spurs fans.
Jol was a giant of a man and his stature fitted that he gained as a manager in taking Tottenham from a defensive outfit under Santini to a free-scoring side that almost reached the Champions League with two fifth place finishes.
In a varied playing career, Martin has played for Berg IL, ADO Den Haag, Bayern Munich and Twente Enschede, with 71 appearances for Twente, scoring nine goals. Jol had won caps at schoolboy, Under-21, Under-23 and B levels, going on to win three Holland caps, with his debut v West Germany at Eindhoven on 11th October 1980.
The combative midfielder was signed by West Bromwich Albion from Twente in October 1981, with the Dutchman making 64 appearances (including a League Cup semi-final appearance against Spurs when he got sent off for hitting Tony Galvin and Galvin got sent off for getting hit !) for the Baggies scoring four goals and then moved to Coventry City in July 1984 to play 15 games for the Sky Blues. He moved back to Den Haag to end his playing career, before moving into coaching with Scheveningen, Roda JC and RKC Waalwijk before joining Spurs in July 2004 as assistant coach.
Having played in the old First Division for West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City during his career, Martin was aware of the rigours of the English game. This allied with his attacking philosophy linked with the "Tottenham Way" and he had an undoubted understanding of what was expected of him by the supporters and the Board. To play exciting football but that he would ultimately be judged on results.
Formed a good squad with some astute buys, forging them into an effective unit with a mix of younger talent, alongside some experienced old hands to add a winning mentality. The side showed steel on occasions and while they did not threaten the very top of the league, the fact that Jol achieved successive fifth place finishes and only missed out on a Champions League place thanks to half the team suffering from a gastric vomiting virus just before the final game of the season speaks volumes of the strides he made at White Hart Lane.
Taking Tottenham back into Europe, the team reached the quarter-finals before losing to subsequent winners Sevilla and then reaching the Round of 32.
However, there were some who felt that he had taken the team as far as he could and that is limited experience in managing top clubs might hold Spurs back and there were rumours of the players losing respect for him. Certainly, there were times when his lack of decisive action in introducing substitutes or countering opponents' tactics cost Spurs. A home defeat by Getafe in the UEFA Cup proved to be his last game, with the embarrassing situation arising that most of the crowd appeared to know that Jol was going to be sacked during the match or straight after the game, while he was left to show a dignified face to the public. A loss in that game, was perhaps the final straw, but Martin left the club with assistant manager Chris Hughton soon after. Spurs handled the dismissal poorly and had been courting Spaniard Juande Ramos before the sacking and installed him with great haste once Jol was removed from his post.
Perhaps a little hard done by, but Martin Jol will always be remembered fondly by a lot of Spurs fans.
After leaving Spurs, Jol was in demand once available and took over at Hamburg in May 2008, but left a year later for Dutch club Ajax, where he won the 2010 KNVB Cup.
He was a target for Fulham when Roy Hodgson left to manage Liverpool in the summer of 2010 and although the Dutchman seemed unsettled at Ajax, where there were rumours player should be sold without his knowledge, he eventually stayed at the Amsterdam club, but quit in the late part of the year, as speculation linked him to a number of jobs in England (Newcastle United, West Ham United).
Without work since leaving Ajax, he was finally taken on in June 2011 by Fulham.