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May 26, 2009

Hamburg boss Jol takes over at Ajax

Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam have appointed Martin Jol as their new head coach on a three-year deal, after landing their man for free.

The Dutchman, who was under contract at SV Hamburg until 2010, succeeds Marco van Basten who resigned with one game of the Eredivisie season remaining after missing out on a Champions League spot, but Hamburg have admitted to letting him walk away from the club for nothing.

''The developments of the last few days were very surprising,'' Hamburg chairman Bernd Hoffman told the club's website. ''We had many conversations. At the end of them we realised it would be for the best if we went our separate ways.''

Jol had one year remaining on his Hamburg deal, but Hoffman said the club saw no reason to demand compensation.

''We have not asked Jol to fulfil his contract until 2010 because Ajax have offered him a longer-term deal with more far-reaching powers. He has better prospects there,'' he said.

Hoffman revealed the disagreement between Jol and the club was over the direction of transfer policy, suggesting the coach wanted to spend more than the board were prepared to authorise.

''It is in the interests of the coach to want the best players available,'' he said. ''We also have the same idea. But you can only take as many risks as you can justify economically. We have invested a lot on the team in recent years, and we will continue to do so.''

Jol, who took Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur to the brink of the Champions League qualifying places, was appointed Hamburg coach last summer and led the club to a fifth-place finish in the recently-completed Bundesliga campaign.

The 53-year-old also guided Hamburg to a UEFA Cup semi-final, but lost to German rivals Werder Bremen.

Jol, who last worked in Holland with RKC Waalwijk before moving to Tottenham to take up the role of assistant to head coach Jacques Santini in 2004, is relishing a return to his homeland.

He said: ''Ajax gives me a great opportunity, with an eye for the long term. 'I get a very wide array of responsibilities. Ajax is a fantastic club and I very much want to get started.

''I enjoyed my stay at HSV. It's a great club and Hamburg is a nice city to live and work in. I have in recent years worked abroad and once again return to the Netherlands, so I very much look forward to this.''

Van den Boog was equally delighted with the appointment.

''It is the most important position in a football club, so we gave it very careful consideration,'' he said. ''Martin has all the qualities the new coach of Ajax in our view should have.

''He is experienced and has experience both domestically and abroad. He has worked in large and smaller clubs and got the maximum from his players.

''He is a trainer who has shown that he gives talented young players a chance - our basic interest.

''I am very pleased with the way we have worked to achieve this. It was an exciting and challenging period, with an excellent result for Ajax.''

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