The Future Is Freedman

Dougie Freedman, Bolton Wanderers - Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Speaking with the understanding that Dougie Freedman will be the Bolton Wanderers manager, I decided that it was time to take a closer look at the man and what we might be able to expect.

It is common knowledge that Freedman is/was the lowest paid manager in The Championship - earning a lowly £125,000 per year. According to sources, the Bolton offer is £1.5m split over three years, tripling his salary.

Looking back to the start of the season, there was a sizeable group of Palace fans who wanted Freedman out. His Palace side were awful for the second half of last season and even worse for the first few games of this.

The statistics bear this out, as though Palace have won 7 of the last 8, they had only won 3 of the 25 games prior.

As for his style, well he's fundamentally a defensive coach. The most positive impact that he had upon the side - and something that he'll need to bring to Bolton - was to instill real durability, solidity and steel in the side. Whilst Palace became tough to beat, it came at the expense of attacking ambition. They would often let teams attack before trying to nick a goal and then retreat back to the 18 yard box for the remaining half an hour.

The defensive aspect is important - last season Palace had a record equal to the top six in terms of goals conceded, however this season has been fairly poor in that only Peterborough at the bottom of the league have been as helpful as Freedman's Palace to opposition forwards.

His signings by and large appear to have been solid, though he doesn't seem to be the sort to unearth a gem, but I believe he has a good track record of signing good, competent Championship standard footballers and was able to quickly integrate them into the squad and get them performing.

Of course he had good influence and a good record of bringing through the younger players. He has a solid back room staff, with Lennie Lawrence, Tony Popovic, Dean Austin and Curtis Fleming in supporting roles. One fascinating aspect to all this is the integration with the established set up at the Reebok.

His preference for a 4-2-3-1 which suits our style of play, and his contribution to the rise to prominence of young Zaha is especially promising considering we have the most promising group of youngsters in a generation.

Time will tell, but the signs are positive.

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