When a former Premier League manager joins Men United and offers to promote Football to Amsterdam 2016, it’s really helpful that he’s both Dutch and vastly experienced at the beautiful game. We met up with Martin recently to find out about more about his time in London and Amsterdam, and his love affair with Tottenham Hotspur.
With nearly 400 games under his belt across London, Amsterdam and Hamburg, Martin Jol is a manager with plenty of experience.
And in the N17 post code of London, he is most fondly remembered as the man who took Spurs into Europe in two consecutive seasons – the first time the team had done this since 1982/3.
As Martin explains, he’s always been a Spurs fan making his managerial career at White Hart Lane all the more special:
Jol returned to England 20 years after his playing career ended to fulfil a boyhood dream to join Spurs. He'd followed the London team since the 1966 World Cup, sympathising with Tottenham Hotspur legend Jimmy Greaves and the injury which denied him the chance of playing in a defining tournament for English football.
“It was almost like a fairy-tale to go to England to my favourite club. I managed to stay there [Spurs] for three-and-a-half years, which was nice. On average, managers nowadays will be in a club for maybe a year," said the former Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham, Hamburg and Ajax boss.
At White Hart Lane, Jol led Spurs to their highest finish since 1990 and earnt a place in the UEFA cup, narrowly missing out on a place in the Champions League.
“We were in the top four for seven months…maybe you will remember the game against West Ham? When we had all the boys coming in sick and couldn’t play. That was difficult but we had some great times in Europe as well.”
Martin joined us at an invite-only Football to Amsterdam 2016 event recently to help promote our epic two-day 145-mile cycling challenge, which will see 500 fans lead Men United into Europe on bicycles from London or Yorkshire a week before the European Championships.
“It’s a great test. And it’s a great cause. And I think we have to try to beat this prostate cancer, because it’s a big enemy if you think about the fact that one out of eight men in the UK will get it.
"It will be special to get so many people over from England, going on the bike to the Amsterdam Arena, which is a great stadium.”
Martin Jol is calling on Spurs fans to give prostate cancer a real beating this season. He’s done London and Amsterdam, now it’s your turn (He’s not done Yorkshire but we're overlooking that). Find out more about Football to Amsterdam 2016.