Manny Road called time on Bolton’s hapless manager last October in the Dougie Freedman Experiment Isn’t Working, but he was kept in situ – not least because the Scotsman provided a much needed diversion from how badly the club was being run.
“Dougie has worked tirelessly off the field to improve the infrastructure of the football club,” said chairman Phil Gartside announcing the dismissal. Gary Megson was also credited with the same task, which makes you wonder how much restructuring one club needs.
Freedman leaves Bolton at the bottom of the Championship table with five points from ten games, below Blackpool who had only eight players at the start of the season. After today’s fixtures the club may be cut adrift, seven points from safety. Always mediocre, his recent efforts have been disastrous.
Some would argue that Freedman wasn’t backed with transfer funds and there’s truth in that, but there was no shortage of players who arrived (and departed.) The principal fault was the same as that of Megson and Owen Coyle, failing to construct a midfield that could hold it’s shape sufficiently to protect the back four. It’s a damning indictment for a defensive minded manager.
Added to that his constant tinkering with the line up, ignoring how players had performed in the previous game, left members of the squad confused and unmotivated. If a good display won’t result in future selection, what’s the point?
According to one ex-player, Freedman arrived at the club, not with an open mind, but with the idea that there were Premier League egos that needed to be dealt with. Consequently, he alienated parts of the dressing room from day one. Since the sacking, former fringe players Jay Lynch and Gregg Wylde have also expressed dissatisfaction with how they were treated. One suspects more will follow. This site also reported on the premature departure of Andy Robinson and how it wasn’t quite as fed to the media.
Freedman’s treatment of Kevin Davies was also bizarre. Bolton’s then captain may not have been as effective as he once was, but he still had a role to play. His exclusion from the squad was down to politics – an influential figure who had to be side lined.
What will the former Crystal Palace man be remembered for? The worst start to a season for Bolton Wanderers in 111 years and the heaviest defeat since 1982. Apart that, not much. The past two years have been a non-event. Dougie Freedman isn’t the worst manager that Bolton have had, but he’ll be the one most quickly forgotten.
– Richard McCormick