With nothing encouraging to say on the first team front, Douglas ‘Record Breaker’ Freedman has turned his attention to academy matters. Based on his experiences at Crystal Palace, the Bolton manager is keen to claim credit for a successful youth policy.
He also doesn’t think much of the efforts made at the Reebok in recent years.
“The young players at this football club – the Under-21s especially – if they’re not going to make the first team then they’ve got to be loaned out and a little bit of money has got to be brought back in for the next crop of players coming through,” he said.
“I believe the club has been guilty in the past of not being a training club and not being a club who would loan players for either of the two benefits.”
It’s true that despite investment, the youth programme at Bolton has been a failure. This is especially disappointing since a side containing mainly players under the age of nineteen won the reserve league back in 2007, with a pass and move game that was easy on the eye. No efforts were made to build on that comparative success.
It is also notable that a number of ex-Wanderers staff are plying their trade in the lower leagues after being released without attracting a fee.
However, it is untrue to say that the loan system has not been used. Here’s a list of individuals who have been lent to other clubs, at the youth development stage, sometimes more than once, in recent years.
Getting back to the main stage, Freedman is relaxed about Bolton’s position, four points above the relegation zone, with a good deal more than half a season gone.
“I am not concerned as the next four games out of five are at home. We have to pick up points. There is no doubt with the group of players we have, when they get into their rhythm, they are capable of winning games at this level,” he told Greater Manchester Radio
The Whites have won two games at home all season, and haven’t tasted victory in the league in 2014. With such a Megson-esque slant on the facts it’s no wonder that an increasing number of the Reebok faithful are starting to feel as if they’ve had a Doug overdose.
– Richard McCormick