– Phil Gartside.
Records continue to tumble for Bolton’s Dougie Freedman. After presiding over the club’s worst start to a season for 111 years, he saw his his side concede seven goals in a league game at the weekend – the first time that’s happened to the Whites since 1982.
On that occasion, the artificial pitch belonging to Queens Park Rangers was blamed. On Saturday at Reading, the fault lay with an artificial manager.
Freedman was quick to pass the buck onto his players. “We’ve got to recruit, it’s as simple as that. We’ve got to make sure we bring players in here that show a little bit better than we’ve just seen,” he told Greater Manchester Radio, alienating the remaining members of his staff who don’t already feel like outsiders.
“As you’ve seen for the last three years, maybe four years, in the relegation as well, you know the nucleus is still here. It’s a very difficult job to try to trade with players that are not sellable assets, so you got to make sure that you get on the training ground and coach them. We seem to be doing that, sometime to good effect and as you’ve seen today and this season, sometimes not taking it on board.”
This isn’t what he said on 29th September 2012. On that day Crystal Palace, managed by Dougie Freedman, won 1-0 at the Reebok. Against a very good side apparently.
“There is no doubt in my mind that they will be in the top two or three at the end of the season and this has to be our biggest scalp so far this campaign.” One wonders at one point Freedman decided that he’d inherited a massive crock of poo.
But then taking ownership isn’t the done thing for those at the top of the Wanderers hierarchy. Chairman Phil Gartside spent much of the week trying to convince supporters that the club’s enormous debt wasn’t a problem, whilst not mentioning that consecutive losses of £13 million, £35 million, £26 million, £22 million and £50 million happened on his watch.
What to do with Freedman? At almost any other club, he would be in possession of a P45 by now, but that’s an expensive option. Perhaps the Scot can be placed on gardening leave, like his soul mate Gary Megson.
Alternatively, the fans can play a part. In 1978 Jose Ramon del Cueto tendered his resignation as mayor of Coacalco, a town just North of Mexico City. He came to this decision after residents had stormed his office and forced him to eat twelve pounds of bananas. Manny Road takes full responsibility for any run on fruit and veg supplies at Bolton’s greengrocers.
Not that this absolves the players. Whatever the failings of Freedman and his coaches, they were a disgrace. Which brings us to Jay Spearing who has been chosen as this week’s mouth of PR.
“We’re in it all together,” said the midfield midget, echoing the words of Prime Minister David Cameron and his party. If reassurance is the aim, then quoting another bunch of incompetent, spineless wankers isn’t the way to go.*
*Just for political balance, it’s worth noting that Ed Milliband was created for a Wallace and Grommit cartoon and then discarded for not being realistic enough, whilst Nick Clegg’s granny is still in hiding, fully aware that he’ll stab her for the price of a gin and tonic. The apt one-word description for Nigel Farage can’t be used on a family site. A clue: it rhymes with ‘bat’ and has a ‘t’ at either end.
– Richard McCormick