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The inside track on Jol's split from Spurs

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Mihir Bose | 16:15 UK time, Friday, 26 October 2007

Martin Jol's time with Tottenham may have come to an end on Thursday but the roots of this story stretch back to last year.

The first problems came when he gave an interview in which he said Tottenham couldn't expect to be a big club like the top four. This did not go down well with the board.

The Carling Cup semi-final against Arsenal followed in January of this year, in which Spurs let a 2-0 first-leg lead slip and that raised the feeling in the board that Jol did not get his tactics right.

This was reinforced two months later in the FA Cup tie at Chelsea when Spurs led 3-1 before Berbatov came off for Mido. They lost the lead and were beaten in the subsequent replay at White Hart Lane.

The feeling among the board was that Jol was good, but not good enough. They were very aware of the gap to the top four growing with every season that Tottenham missed out on the Champions League.

There was also tension between Jol and sporting director Damien Comolli - Jol would say that Comolli and the board did not buy the players he wanted.

The board were set on signing players whose value would 'appreciate', not 28-year-olds. They preferred deals like that which saw Michael Carrick go to Manchester United for £18m, a transfer that Jol felt left him and the team exposed and which he felt the board could have prevented.

Martin Jol wears his Spurs cap by the pitch

Jol also had a habit of going into the board room and telling them how much he was in demand from other clubs - another move that did not go down well.

Still, the board knew they had managed a public relations disaster regarding the Juande Ramos situation and I'm told they privately tried to smooth things over with Jol because they could not find a replacement.

A measure of their desperation was that the board also pored over statistics - one doing the rounds was that Spurs were one point and four goals down on the corresponding fixtures last season.

That's fixtures, not the corresponding time of the season. They were clutching at straws.

The feeling was that nothing would happen until the EGM in November, which coincidentally would have been exactly three years since Jol took over.

The board was haunted by the thought that if they got rid of Jol without having an agreement with a replacement they would have a repeat of the fiasco following Glenn Hoddle's sacking four years ago, when they thought Giovanni Trapattoni would come but didn't.

It meant for most of that season they were under the caretaker management of David Pleat and flirted with relegation.

But talks with Ramos, which had not been abandoned, progressed to the stage where they were certain they could persuade him to come.

And following the Newcastle match on Monday, the board felt that Jol had lost the senior players in the dressing room.

Their fear was that if the situation continued the players would perform less well, and their value would decrease.

From what I hear there was a row between Jol and Berbatov, although Jol's side are saying that the Bulgarian had told him as far back as the summer that he wanted to leave Spurs.

The first story that emerged on Thursday was that Jol had resigned but I am told that this was a leak that backfired, as they got the story wrong.

Jol himself heard the rumours sweeping around the ground like everyone else and when he went into the dressing room afterwards he told the players, "That was my final game."

Apparently, Berbatov said, "If you're going, I'm going too." Jol then went up to the boardroom and met Levy and other directors, and was offically told his days were over.

Sources close to Jol say he responded: "You have a terrible way of managing people." Boardroom sources, however, are trying to paint a rosier picture of an amicable split, saying Jol was allowed to say goodbye to the players on Friday.

So the Dutchman has gone, and far as replacements go it looks like it will be Ramos. Mark Hughes was considered, along with Gerard Houllier, but that was a non-starter as Comolli does not get on with his fellow Frenchman.

Much of this saga is down to the board having an eye on selling the club in the future. Tottenham are seen as a club with big potential and they want to maximise their asset.

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