DOUGIE Freedman has made a plea to fans to “respect” the club’s hierarchy amidst a difficult time at Wanderers.
After emerging from the transfer window without expected defensive reinforcements and having reduced his attacking options by loaning Craig Davies to make way for another midfielder, Liam Trotter, there were understandable questions of concern being fired in the direction of owner Eddie Davies, chairman Phil Gartside and the manager himself over the weekend.
But Freedman has appealed for calm heading into a run of four home games out of five, asking supporters to take a broader view and understand the shackles that have been placed on Davies and the club by Financial Fair Play rules introduced this season.
“It’s difficult now on and off the pitch,” he said.
“People have got to make sure they look at the whole picture, the financial side as well. Sometimes you do have to take two steps back to go forward and that’s what we’re doing right now.”
Just a fortnight ago, the manager said that the sale of David Ngog to Swansea would allow him to bring in much-needed reinforcements, including a recognised full-back.
But that failed to materialise – suggesting that the need to reduce the squad’s wage bill is even more urgent than first thought.
The last set of financial figures showed that the wage bill was at its lowest level since 2007, a figure of £32.7million. But it is understood that Freedman is being asked to reduce that level considerably over the next 12 months.
If Wanderers fail to bring losses within the allotted limits they could be hit with a transfer embargo by the Football League.
“I understand what fans want, they want to win every week and they want the best players,” Freedman said. “But I am trying to be honest and put my head above the parapet and tell the fans ‘this is where we are.’ “We’re £165million in debt – I mean, come on guys, you know where we are right now.
“We have got to stick together. There’s no use blaming.
“Eddie Davies has been so supportive to me, and his money to this football club has been so supportive, and it’s about time we respect it and don’t go along with that mindset.”
Freedman’s problem is that while his hands may be tied in the transfer market – his side are slipping ever-closer to the Championship’s bottom three.
But the Scot is still confident that Wanderers will not be dragged any further into the relegation issue.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the group of players we have, when they play at the right level, are more than capable of winning games at this level,” he said.
“We’ve got four games at home and we’ve got to make sure we take points from them.”