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Reflection: One Year With Dougie Freedman

One year ago to this day Dougie Freedman was officially named the new Bolton Wanderers manager succeeding Owen Coyle at the Reebok. 12 months on we take a look back and re-evaluate the situation, have we taken steps forward under Freedman or are things still the same?

Charlie Crowhurst

After winning only 3 of his opening 10 matches in the league Owen Coyle was sacked as Bolton manager on the 9th October 2012. The Trotters had made a disappointing start to the season taking 12 points from 10 games. After Julian Derby, Sammy Lee and Jimmy Phillips took over for 3 games winning one, drawing one and losing the other Freedman was appointed as manager.

In the space of 7 months he slowly transformed a relegation-threatened side into play-off contenders and turned the Reebok into a fortress. In the second half of last season we were unbeaten at home in the league winning 5 in a row, at one point and were unbeaten in 7 games. All of this helped save our season and nearly achieve a play-off spot, but has had a successful 12 months?

He’s also worked very hard behind the scenes tweaking the infrastructure of the club and clearing out Coyle’s old backroom staff. He was also given an extremely strict budget to work with and has made some shrewd signings with the likes of Craig Davies, Rob Hall and Medo Kamara coming in for minimal fees. He’s also reportedly halved the wage budget which is vital due to our poor financial situation and financial fair play.

But if we break down Freedman’s record game by game has he done that good of a job? Since his appointment on the 25th October last year Freedman has managed 45 games in the league, his record is shown below.











This is respectable compared to previous managers,


Win %

Bruce Rioch


Colin Todd


Owen Coyle


Sam Allardyce


Dougie Freedman


Gary Megson


Sammy Lee


In general considering the circumstances at the club and the restricted finances Freedman’s record isn’t that bad. Discarding our awful start to the season he was regarded as a ‘saviour’ from the fans last year and was proclaimed as our hero, but have things turned sour over summer?

After tweeting out about Dougie’s 1 year anniversary we got some interesting and contrasting feedback. Many stated how the progress that’s been made has been steady, nothing incredible but with the injury list and Gartside’s strict finances he’s done a good job. Although many fans aren’t happy with the team’s recent performances they’re confident that Freedman’s the right man for the club for the long term. They stated that the club is a lot more organised now and Dougie has approached the low finances in the right manner looking for bargains and concentrating on the youth.

On the other hand not everyone is going to have the same feelings about our ‘gaffer.’ Many highlighted our poor start to the season as being ‘unacceptable’ and slated the tactics as being negative and archaic. Despite this, in general we received positive feedback with the majority of the fans sticking behind our manager in this tough situation.

1 year on and lots has changed for the better, I think that Dougie did marvelously well to resurrect our season last year propelling us up to 7th, we just need a run of games and to hit some form. Once this is in place and our home record improves there’s no reason why we can’t quickly ascend the table although we do need to re-evaluate. Finishing in the top 6 has to be a priority now, catching up with QPR and Burnley may just be a step too far.