Would Jol and Berbatov really walk out on Fulham?

Clive Brunskill

Rumours suggest both player and manager want out of the club who, again, have been accused of lacking ambition.

If the typically spiteful tabloid rumours are to be believed, we have another Mark Hughes on our hands in the shape of Martin Jol. Another man who cites a lack of Fulham ambition as a reason to walk out of Craven Cottage and try something a little more aspirational, a little more purposeful. And, supposedly, Dimitar Berbatov doesn't want to hang around either.

It just goes to add further disdain to a season that has, ultimately, disappointed. We possess a team that is very much here for the temporary, signed merely to fill some cosmic gaps that were left last summer. We have five first-teamers in on loan, and a number of players on contracts which expire in barely two month's time.

And while we have, gratefully, reached the marvellous 40-point mark, we have proved unable to build on it. We've stagnated, one foot on the beach. That's not something a professional football club does.

But still, if the tabloid rumours are to be believed, things are about to get worse. Our manager will go, as will our best player. The loan signings we hooped would become permanent - Sascha Riether, Eyong Enoh - will not. We'll be left in the mire.

But, then again, that's only if the tabloid rumours are to be believed. Every news story has its source, of course, but not everything comes to fruition. Quite the contrary.

If there's any time in the last ten years where a Fulham manager has been asked to work on a tight budget, it is unlikely to be now. We still have money from the sales of Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey while Mohamed Al Fayed himself is sitting on £1.5 billion after the sale of his Harrods store.

Granted, January was hardly inspirational in terms of signings, but we all know it's not the time to do real business. The market is over-priced and lacking in genuine talent. Instead, the best deals are done in the summer.

The idea that Jol would leave at all is strange in itself. This is a man of great principle, still somewhat sore after his treatment at Tottenham Hotspur. He promised much when he joined Fulham. He wanted a better youth academy, a younger starting eleven and, most importantly, he wanted to stay for the long-term.

He had ideas for this club, and he hasn't fulfilled all of them. In his mind, there is clearly still work to do, not least bringing down the average age of our first team.

And then, of course, there's Berbatov. If Jol were to go which, I feel, is unlikely, then yes, Berbatov will most likely leave too. But otherwise, why would he depart? He is enjoying his football in South West London where he undoubtedly rules the roost.

This is a club where he is guaranteed first team football and yet his talents can still shine. There are few clubs of a better pedigree than ours who would be prepared to stump up the kind of weekly wage Berbatov requires - considering his age - and then, further, ensure he is the centre of attention, starting every week.

The Bulgarian gets that here at Fulham, and there is no doubt he is enjoying himself.

So yes, perhaps there is slight reason to worry. Maybe Jol will leave on his own accord this summer, and maybe Al Fayed will continue to tighten the purse strings, making us that little bit less attractive to prospective managers.

But maybe, and you get the feeling this is more likely, this is the summer in which Jol finally gets his way. He will be able to spend with certain freedom and will be able to build a squad which reflects his own ideologies.

It could, if you want to be overly optimistic, be the start of something very promising indeed.

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