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They Played For Both Clubs: Nottingham Forest

I'm all about subverting expectations

Martin Willetts/Getty Images

To start with - I know Dougie Freedman didn't play for Bolton Wanderers.

But - bear with me, he absolutely 100% IS the dominant narrative ahead of this afternoon's contest between his former and current employers, Nottingham Forest.

So on we go.

Born in Glasgow in May 1974, he began his career at Queens Park Rangers in 1992, though he had to move to Barnet (then of Division Three) before making his professional debut in 1994. He thrived at the club, and was top scorer with 24 goals in his first season at the club - this success drew the attention of Crystal Palace - a club that he would go on to be associated with for the next 20-odd years.

His good form continued in his first season at Selhurst Park, as he scored 20 goals, with 11 the year after as he led the club towards the Play Offs in 1996/97. His Premier League experience was less than stellar, unfortunately (ha) as he was sold to Wolverhampton Wanderers shortly after.

He only lasted a season, despite scoring an impressive 13 goals. He lost his place to a young scamp by the name of Robbie Keane, and this saw him move on again - this time to Nottingham Forest. Are you starting to see some familiar threads forming here dear reader?

Following two rather underwheming seasons with Forest he was reunited with his beloved Crystal Palace in 2000 - here his somewhat nomadic career thus far would stabilise. He rejoined the club during a relegation threatened campaign, with Freedman going on to score the vital goal that kept Palace in the division.

The following season saw Freedman score an impressive 21 goals in all competitions, his best tally for Palace. This also earned him a call-up to the Scottish national team, to add to his earlier Under 21 caps. However, the next season was less of a personal success as he was dropped from the Scotland side, and began to find his appearances limited at Palace, as manager Trevor Francis largely preferred Ade Akinbiyi, Dele Adebola, and Andy Johnson to him. Ha.

Freedman remained at Palace until 2008 - though each season saw him contribute less and less. He was loaned to Leeds United where he scored five times in 11 games. He saw his playing career out at Southend United, and retired in 2010 to rejoin Palace as part of the coaching staff.

Freedman's coaching career began in 2005 when he was appointed as the Palace's reserve team manager in conjunction with his playing role at the club. Upon his return to Selhurst Park in 2010 he became assistant manager to Paul Hart, and subsequently George Burley.

In January 2011 he replaced Burley as Manager, and moved to bring in Lennie Lawrence as his Assistant Manager and former Palace team-mate Tony Popovic as First Team Coach. Bolton fans, I can hear you sighing from here

Freedman led the club to a 17th place position, and then started the following year with a bang which saw him attract the attention of a bigger club - Bolton Wanderers. He joined us in October 2012 following the chaos of Owen Coyle's first season in the Championship - he stabilised the club and almost led us to the Play Offs . However he mucked this up royally by titting around with the first team on the day of the most important match of the season and we just missed out. The clown.

The 2013-14 season was less successful as Bolton were inconsistent under Freedman's supervision, finishing in a disappointing 14th. Famously, we failed to win a single game until October. Despite this, he kept his job by bleating about the tough financial situation in which he claimed to be working. The 2014-15 season started similarly badly, Bolton failed to win any of their first 6 games and only one of the first ten. He was, at long last, sacked on his arse in October to be replaced by Neil Lennon, a former Forest player himself.

He remained out of work until February, when a desperate Nottingham Forest appointed him as manager to replace the outgoing Stuart Pearce who was, hilariously, allowed to manage a football club. Since then, Forest's fortunes have been somewhat up and down - which given Freedman's career to date seems entirely appropriate.

He makes his first return to the Reebok this afternoon where he is sure to be met with a warm welcome.


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