Freedman explains Bolton move

Dougie Freedman claims Bolton’s long-term potential persuaded

him to end a long and successful association with Crystal


Freedman left the south London outfit last week to succeed Owen

Coyle at the Reebok Stadium, despite Wanderers lying 16th in the

npower Championship and Palace riding high in fourth.

Saturday’s loss at Middlesbrough dropped Bolton – many

observers’ favourites to earn an instant return to the Barclays

Premier League – to 18th position with 15 points from 13


Former Scotland international striker Freedman scored more than

100 goals across two spells with Palace spanning 10 years.

He then led them to the League Cup semi-finals after famously

beating Manchester United in his first full season as manager last


But the 38-year-old insists he has moved to further his career

with a club geared towards top-flight football.

“It was a decision I made for the long game,” Freedman said when

addressing his first press conference as Bolton manager on Monday


“I’ve got a long-game strategy where I feel this club will give

me the tools that will get us to the Premier League.

“Crystal Palace have been fantastic for me. I was there as a

player and as a manager and I’ve got a real bond with the fans.

“I feel that I owed this opportunity to myself and my family.

It’s not really what they (Palace) are lacking, it’s what Bolton

have got.

“I don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to say that promotion is

the key to the season.”

Such goals may sound a touch lofty for a team 13 points behind

leaders Cardiff – the side Freedman welcomes to the north west for

his first game at the helm this weekend.

Indeed, it was Freedman and not Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside

that forced the issue of promotion during the interview


“The chairman played it down,” he said. “It was me – my hunger

and desire to succeed that was asking him the questions in terms of

what tools have I got to succeed.

“I think it’s a wonderful squad. I’m going to try and figure out

why certain players are not performing to their potential.

“I’ve come to a wonderful club with a great tradition and I

believe we should be playing there (the Premier League).

“It’s achievable if we make sure we work every single day to the

standard that I expect.

“We feel at this club that if we can get things right quickly

then we’ve got a very realistic chance (of promotion).”

When news of his departure broke, Palace chairman Steve Parish

spoke of Freedman having an “obsession” with the Premier


While the phrasing does not sit well with him, Freedman did

little to hide his burning ambition.

“Steve Parish puts words in people’s mouths – he won’t put that

in my mouth,” he added.

“I am a young manager in a rush, I won’t hide that. I’m very

ambitious and I do want to manage right to the top level.

“When I met the chairman (Gartside), the ambition I got from him

rubbed off on me even more so. I felt ‘I want some of that’.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being hungry and

having some desire.”