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5 Things We Learned: Bolton Wanderers 2013/14 - Part One

Chris takes a look back at the 2013/14 season

Matthew Lewis

So the curtain has come down on another Bolton Wanderers league campaign following Saturday's disappointing draw against Birmingham City.

It feels odd that we've reached the end of the season and we have nothing left. No Play-Offs, no promotion, no relegation. There can't have been many seasons like this in the last twenty years.

There probably has, but I just can't be bothered looking.

In my mind it has been a season to forget - of disappointment and often of disillusionment.

Feedback from this season's raft of 'Five Things' pieces has been pretty positive, and so I thought I'd look back on the season as a whole and consider what we might have learned from our performances.

Whether you agree or disagree.....feel free to use the comments box below.


1) Is Dougie Freedman 'The Man'?

Not for me.

Predictable answer perhaps, and I've spent most of the season being of the same opinion.

At the end of the 2012/13 season, when his Bolton Wanderers side missed out on the Play Offs on the final day following a disappointing draw with Blackpool then I was fully positive that this 2013/14 season would see us build on the progress made and have promotion clearly in our sights.

However that has most definitely not been the case.

We were soon brought back down to earth with a bump as the season began with Bolton's worst start to a season in over 100 years. Throughout all this, and indeed throughout the season the manager has reminded us of his 'project' that takes time to build.

Well, last season wasn't a 'project' and we did a damned sight better than we have done this year.

As I mentioned in a piece the other week, I'm not blind to the constraints within which Dougie Freedman has to work, but let's also ourselves not be blind to the fact that he has been backed by the chairman and owner this season, and, in my opinion, has failed to reward that backing with results.

The signing of Jay Spearing, for example, was one that every single fan demanded. But it was expensive. Since then we have been forced to rely on loans. A lot.

These loans are not free, and Bolton Wanderers have brought in no fewer than NINE players on a temporary or permanent basis. Fair's fair, we have shipped plenty out but loans are not free. We still have to pay a loan fee and wages to the incoming players. I don't even think I can be bothered going into the effect of this constant state of flux on the existing squad.

The manager has come out recently and spoken of his desire to avoid having to rely on the loan system next year. I would love to believe him, but I don't.

I don't like being 'against' the Bolton Wanderers manager, but I just can't see anything in Freedman to hang on to. His progress last season has stalled and we have, without question, regressed. From the brink of the Play Offs in May 2013 to a relegation battle by March of the following season is disastrous and were I in charge then I'd dispense with his services.

In fact, were I in charge he would have been sacked towards the end of that club record run without a win at the start of the campaign.

I've written before about replacing the manager and I am of the opinion that if we are to progress then we should look to this.

Freedman out.