First of all I’d like to point out that these views are my own and not that of other Lion of Vienna Suite writers. The last thing I want is for hate tweets and messages going to wrong people, especially when I probably deserve them.
Okay, if you've watched the team perform this season, looked at the league table, and even just listened to some of Dougie Freedman's post-match press conferences, then you’d think that we should be looking elsewhere. I'm not looking for a quick fix at the moment and I'm not looking at this season. I'm not even looking at the season after but looking into the future and I want Bolton Wanderers to survive. It’s a huge possibility that in a few years time if the club isn't run in the correct way and we don’t make clever choices that we could go down a similar route to the likes of Portsmouth a find ourselves not only struggling in League Two but finding it hard to stay afloat as a business. If you have listened to Mr Freedman talk after games in the past then you’ll know that he repeatedly emphasizes looking after the club financially and that he’s always making sure the books are balanced and that they are going to be ready for any financial fair play checks.
When Dougie refers to how he’s dealing with the club behind the scenes and how he’s looking to fix the club from within, these remarks are often overlooked as they’re on the back of a disappointing loss. They are ignored as he’s not talking about signing players or how he’s going to play 4-4-2 for the rest of his life. When looking for a manager I think it was important for our club to hire a manager that had knowledge of the game and knew how to run a football club with damaged foundations, and he’s doing that.
Let’s look at what he’s done so far in less than 18 months at the club, which hasn’t yet included a full season for the young Scottish manager;
Wage bill slashed: He’s come in and done what every manager should do for a club in our position. The thing he’s done differently is to remove players from the squad without disrupting a the nucleus of the team. He managed to keep players who where important to the first team. He opted out of offering some of the younger players who hadn’t broke into the first team previously a new contract. He also went against the wishes of many Wanderers fans and let Kevin Davies go.
Youth set-up improved: A few fans have been frustrated that, despite Freedman’s self proclaimed philosophies, he hasn’t turned to the developmental squad as much as we’d like. What people seem to have missed is that Freedman has often expressed that at the moment he doesn’t feel the younger players are ready for the first team and after watching them all a few times this year, he’s right. Let’s not forget that at the start of the season some of the budget Freedman had went towards the younger players. He seems to never shy away from trusting his scouting system. Hayden White is one of the players that Freedman seemed to bring in as a project and when he made his debut in tough circumstances against Queens Park Rangers he was no world beater, but he did well.
Style of play changed: Few people would agree with me here, but I find the style of play refreshing. From what I’ve seen at the Reebok Stadium, he’s trying something new and not giving in to the pressures that Bolton fans have put on managers since the Allardyce era. Sammy Lee, Gary Megson, Owen Coyle and even the caretaker managers in between all have had the same problem; they gave in to the old system. We haven’t seen good results consistently since Big Sam was in charge and he had a certain way to win games and would rarely move away from this style. So when a manager comes in and tries something new with the team and it doesn’t work straight away then a certain group of Bolton fans apply pressure and previous managers have given in, reverting back to an old style. And it failed. The type of fans that still live in a Sam Allardyce age are the fans that don’t like it when we string more than two passes across the back line or when instead of hitting a hopeless ball into the box, we play it short from a free-kick. I, for one, love it when we get Mark Davies on the ball and Jay Spearing/Medo Kamara actually show up to games and want to be on the ball.
A few people will think this is me being blinded and that I can’t see how bad we’re playing at the moment. I can see it, and it really isn’t good enough for a club of our structure. On the other hand, I’m not going to be a fan who wants my club to sack a man trying to do the right things with little or no backing from above, just for another manager, who may not have the club as his main focus, to come in and start all over again.