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The Freedman Legacy: A Bolton Wanderers Horror Story

Wanderers meet an old flame this weekend, I wonder how it'll turn out

Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

So the mighty Bolton Wanderers facing Nottingham Forest really isn't the dominant narrative. Saturday's Championship fixture sees the Whites face former manager Dougie Freedman for the first time since the dour Scot was sacked by chairman Phil Gartside back in October.

Freedman's reign of terror at Bolton is, in my opinion best remembered for two major crimes (I was going to pick Danny Butterfield twice):

1) Forcing out Kevin Davies

The captain was coming to end of his career, or so we thought, and so not much of a fuss was raised when Freedman sidelined and eventually released Super Kevin Davies following nigh on 350 appearances and almost a decade of loyal service.

Maybe he was trying to take on the big personalities in the dressing room. Some sort of alpha male dominance thing. In the end he just left everyone thinking that he was a bit of a prick.

Davies, whilst perhaps diminishing, was hardly done, and Freedman's actions came across as petty and vindictive. We have of course heard this accusation laid at the manager's door by others since he left the club. He was reportedly cold with many members of the backroom staff, and downright despised by junior members of the playing squad.

I'm not blind to the fact that Davies would have needed to be replaced at some point, but Dougie's decision to force out one of the club's finest servants seemingly on a whim will never be forgotten, nor will it be forgiven.

2) Holding Back Zach Clough

We've seen in the past weeks that young Zach is MORE than ready to be unleashed on the Championship. The trouble is, he's been ready for the past two years.

Dougie arrived as a champion of the youth, supposedly. Despite this reputation he did virtually nothing to give the kids a fair crack of the whip. Granted he'd stick in an Oscar Threlkeld here and there, or an Andy Kellett for 45 minutes once in a while - but did he leave any sort of lasting legacy at the club? No.

Josh Vela is another one of our promising crop who felt sidelined by Dougie. The lad was unceremoniously chucked out on loan to Notts County when he was clearly a better bet than some of the manager's favourites including Jay Spearing and Medo Kamara. It would have been a shock to precisely nobody had Vela moved on from Bolton Wanderers this past summer.

So Zach and Josh both have first-hand experience of the wonder of Dougie Freedman's man-management. I suspect that if they're selected by Neil Lennon this weekend they'll be playing with an extra spring in their step, eager to prove their manager wrong in his approach.

So Dougie, excuse me for not shaking your hand and reminiscing about the good times.

From my point of view they weren't especially good.