MARC ILES' BIG MATCH VERDICT: Leeds United 1 Bolton Wanderers 0

Former Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford in action for Wanderers at Elland Road

Former Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford in action for Wanderers at Elland Road

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

A PENNY for the thoughts of Eddie Davies and Phil Gartside as they viewed another fruitless afternoon’s work down on the pitch at Elland Road.

Wanderers’ owner and chairman will have a had a good view from the directors’ box as their manager Dougie Freedman twisted, grimaced and gritted his teeth through 90 tortuous minutes of football.

The man cutting such a crestfallen figure in front of the dugouts was the one they installed just under two years ago to change the face of a football club.

Such was the task at hand, whoever took the post needed to have rhino-thick skin and more than a degree of ruthlessness about them. Some unpopular decisions needed to be made.

By 4.50pm on Saturday, Davies and Gartside faced another season-defining choice: Admit their appointment had failed, or batten down the hatches.

Evidence over the weekend suggests the club’s hierarchy are prepared to hold firm, regardless of the manager’s dwindling support on the terraces or the evidence presented by the league table after five games.

Even had Wanderers found an answer to Stephen Warnock’s early goal during a largely one-sided contest, Freedman would have found it hard to escape his critics over the international break.

That Joe Mason, Jermaine Beckford and Chung-Yong Lee failed to convert clear-cut chances is symptomatic of a campaign that is somehow managing to be less palatable than 12 months ago.

Freedman has played the “bad guy” through most of his time at Wanderers, whether that has been by cutting popular players from the squad, providing reasoning for dwindling finances far beyond his remit as a football manager, or by explaining away performances just like this.

His defence of recent results has conflicted somewhat with empirical evidence, and yet in this instance, he was entirely right to say his team should have won.

When the young manager really needed a break, he got a kick in the teeth.

Perhaps it’s the Glaswegian genes but Freedman came out fighting, insisting that he would not “give up” and that both Davies and Gartside knew the size of the task at hand.

“I have been asked to do a job and that’s to lower the wage bill but also try and keep the football club moving forward – it’s very difficult,” he reflected after the match.

Some fans are still to grasp the full magnitude of cost-cutting measures that Freedman has undertaken compared to the luxuries involved in the Premier League days.

It has been a very bitter pill to swallow.

But whether you sympathise with the manager’s plight or not, the situation boils down to a simple question: Will someone else do a better job with the available resources?

Cash for new signings, we are led to believe, is non-existent, although Freedman still has his eyes on the loan window for salvation.

Where the Scot has to be judged is on the squad he has whittled down in the last 22 months. And on that front, it is hard to make a positive case.

As the old adage goes, football is a results business. Saturday’s defeat means that Wanderers have made their worst start to a season for 30 years, beating even last year’s annus horribils in the first five games.

Freedman knows the assertion that his team are “not far away” has worn paper thin. If he has, as we are led to believe, been given a stay of execution, it is very much the exception in the modern game.

Dave Hockaday had precisely 70 days in the Leeds post before being gobbled up by Leeds chairman Massimo Cellino, known back home in Italy as “The Manager Eater.”

His temporary replacement is Wanderers youth team graduate Neil Redfearn – an honest coach who fully deserves to be considered for the Elland Road post full-time based on the fight he seemed to inspire in his side over the course of Saturday’s game.

Mason had already seen one shot pushed on to the bar by Marco Silvestri before Warnock, the former Wanderers loanee, opened the scoring with a cross-shot that nestled into the bottom corner.

Marking around the penalty box had been non-existent, and Warnock strolled nonchalantly into space rather like Carlos Alberto’s famous strike in the heat of Mexico 1970.

Leeds looked susceptible to pace but both centre halves Jason Pearce and Giuseppe Bellusci used every trick in the book to keep Wanderers at bay.

Mason was having the kind of day strikers dread. Twice more he found a clear route on goal before the break only to stab a shot straight down Silvestri’s throat.

Spearing signalled Bolton’s intent in the second half with a fierce drive that was pushed away by the Leeds keeper, later helped out by Pearce who made a fine last-ditch tackle to block Mason’s follow-up.

Puzzlingly, Jermaine Beckford only entered the fray with 10 minutes to go despite having been stripped off and ready for significantly longer.

When he came on for Craig Davies it was no surprise the reception he got from the Leeds fans, who remember fondly his incredible scoring exploits in their League One days.

Quite what the striker was thinking acknowledging their chants during the game is another matter.

His “thumbs up” gesture to the home support is hardly the heresy it is being made out to be in some quarters but won’t be found in the pages of any public relations manual. All the bad feeling would have washed away had Beckford found the target with a late header, clawed away by Silvestri who then performed more heroics to block Chung-Yong’s snap-shot on the line.

Freedman – who had defended his striker from the terrace boo-boys during the week – shook his head in despair when the matter was raised with him after the game. But in fairness, he had bigger fish to fry.

It is unfortunate that the Scot has become so singularly vilified in what has been a thankless task. From top to bottom, the whole football club is culpable for what has happened since they tumbled out of the Premier League.

Fans’ frustration is both obvious and understandable. But it isn’t just Freedman who has failed in his task to move the club forward thus far.

Comments (13)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:54am Mon 1 Sep 14

Balboa says...

Good piece Marc, some pretty strong words. Hope they don't withdraw your matchday cuppa!
Good piece Marc, some pretty strong words. Hope they don't withdraw your matchday cuppa! Balboa
  • Score: 10

9:10am Mon 1 Sep 14

white rioter says...

JB will never score against us - he's Leeds through and through. You boys should be fine, DF was someone we liked over here and wanted him as player mgr. Good luck.
JB will never score against us - he's Leeds through and through. You boys should be fine, DF was someone we liked over here and wanted him as player mgr. Good luck. white rioter
  • Score: 0

9:49am Mon 1 Sep 14

christong says...

Davies and Gartside need to make their mind up what they want quickly! Either back Freedman with the cash to keep us up and competing until we are in the position to start blooding the youth that is coming through or sell up to someone who will. Whether you like the guy or not, Freedman has been given a rough ride by Gartside and has become the public face of his backroom tactics. If the board don't invest quickly, their investment will be worth a lot less with certain relegation a mere 8 months away!! It's D Day Eddie!!!
Davies and Gartside need to make their mind up what they want quickly! Either back Freedman with the cash to keep us up and competing until we are in the position to start blooding the youth that is coming through or sell up to someone who will. Whether you like the guy or not, Freedman has been given a rough ride by Gartside and has become the public face of his backroom tactics. If the board don't invest quickly, their investment will be worth a lot less with certain relegation a mere 8 months away!! It's D Day Eddie!!! christong
  • Score: 9

9:55am Mon 1 Sep 14

liss white says...

Excellent piece Marc....very balanced and hard to disagree with any of it.
Excellent piece Marc....very balanced and hard to disagree with any of it. liss white
  • Score: 13

12:26pm Mon 1 Sep 14

HungerHillBilly says...

At last!!An honest appraisal of the situation.Why are we constantly
given Dougie´s youth as some justification for this ongoing misery?
What will be told when we are in non-league football?Our manager is only 45?
He´s been nasty about players not worth their salaries--does he feel that he and the rest of his south London comedians are or have been remotely worth theirs?

We have had some good managers in the past and the shabby drivel offered every week reflects very badly.I cannot imagine the likes of Rioch,Todd,Allardyce
,Coyle--who really was unlucky--or even Mystic Meg insulting fans intelligence in this way,they respected the club and its fans.If anyone is treating BW as a meal-ticket its the present Management and its imported hangers-on.No wonder Crystal Palace
had a clear-out.This lot is a real culture-shock
At last!!An honest appraisal of the situation.Why are we constantly given Dougie´s youth as some justification for this ongoing misery? What will be told when we are in non-league football?Our manager is only 45? He´s been nasty about players not worth their salaries--does he feel that he and the rest of his south London comedians are or have been remotely worth theirs? We have had some good managers in the past and the shabby drivel offered every week reflects very badly.I cannot imagine the likes of Rioch,Todd,Allardyce ,Coyle--who really was unlucky--or even Mystic Meg insulting fans intelligence in this way,they respected the club and its fans.If anyone is treating BW as a meal-ticket its the present Management and its imported hangers-on.No wonder Crystal Palace had a clear-out.This lot is a real culture-shock HungerHillBilly
  • Score: 0

12:36pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Balboa says...

I can't consider Coyle to be unlucky, just incompetent.
I can't consider Coyle to be unlucky, just incompetent. Balboa
  • Score: 4

12:41pm Mon 1 Sep 14

aydeepee says...

Spot on Marc - this piece again absolutely captures both the feeling on the terrace and reflects the actual performances.
My view is that it costs very little to organise, motivate and prepare a team - something that Dougie clearly lacks. That is not down to the players. His tactics are predictable, negative and our pedestrian football is easy to play against. We seem to go into games wanting to defend and then nick a goal - but we cant stop 20+ shots per game against.
The worst thing is - it costs so much to watch them these days - even a small pie is £2.90(!) that the supporter wants at least some return on that investment - and we get very little.
I really worry for us this year.
Spot on Marc - this piece again absolutely captures both the feeling on the terrace and reflects the actual performances. My view is that it costs very little to organise, motivate and prepare a team - something that Dougie clearly lacks. That is not down to the players. His tactics are predictable, negative and our pedestrian football is easy to play against. We seem to go into games wanting to defend and then nick a goal - but we cant stop 20+ shots per game against. The worst thing is - it costs so much to watch them these days - even a small pie is £2.90(!) that the supporter wants at least some return on that investment - and we get very little. I really worry for us this year. aydeepee
  • Score: 10

12:42pm Mon 1 Sep 14

supajohnmcginlay says...

Bolton fans need a reality check.....and that is coming from me - a Wanderers supporter since 1972, and a season ticket holder every year since. For me a major problem is that for any supporter under the age of say 30 all they will have known will be the "glory days" of the years from say 1996 - 2013 when we were either in the Premier League or at the top of the Championship fighting our way back up there. The older fans like myself will remember the horrendous times in the old Division Three, as well as the season we spent in Division Four. Whilst some people might still perversely look back fondly on these days, as I do myself sometimes, in reality we had a very poor set up from the top to the bottom of the club, and other than for the odd shining light on the pitch (e.g. Andy Walker) we had to endure some pitiful BWFC teams and footballing performances.
The current fans of BWFC need to understand that our years in the Premier League are not the norm for a club like ours these days. We outperformed ourselves year after year and survived on a tight budget even then compared to other teams in the PL.
Our fans these days seem so fickle and are disappearing in their thousands from match days because the don't like what they are seeing. However, these same fans need to understand that it can get a lot, lot worse than this before it gets better!!! A lot of us older fans have seen the good days AND the bad days and we are still here. Unfortunately many of the "younger" fans only seem to want to support the club in the good times. That for me is a real shame.
Bolton fans need a reality check.....and that is coming from me - a Wanderers supporter since 1972, and a season ticket holder every year since. For me a major problem is that for any supporter under the age of say 30 all they will have known will be the "glory days" of the years from say 1996 - 2013 when we were either in the Premier League or at the top of the Championship fighting our way back up there. The older fans like myself will remember the horrendous times in the old Division Three, as well as the season we spent in Division Four. Whilst some people might still perversely look back fondly on these days, as I do myself sometimes, in reality we had a very poor set up from the top to the bottom of the club, and other than for the odd shining light on the pitch (e.g. Andy Walker) we had to endure some pitiful BWFC teams and footballing performances. The current fans of BWFC need to understand that our years in the Premier League are not the norm for a club like ours these days. We outperformed ourselves year after year and survived on a tight budget even then compared to other teams in the PL. Our fans these days seem so fickle and are disappearing in their thousands from match days because the don't like what they are seeing. However, these same fans need to understand that it can get a lot, lot worse than this before it gets better!!! A lot of us older fans have seen the good days AND the bad days and we are still here. Unfortunately many of the "younger" fans only seem to want to support the club in the good times. That for me is a real shame. supajohnmcginlay
  • Score: 8

1:01pm Mon 1 Sep 14

aydeepee says...

supajohnmcginlay wrote:
Bolton fans need a reality check.....and that is coming from me - a Wanderers supporter since 1972, and a season ticket holder every year since. For me a major problem is that for any supporter under the age of say 30 all they will have known will be the "glory days" of the years from say 1996 - 2013 when we were either in the Premier League or at the top of the Championship fighting our way back up there. The older fans like myself will remember the horrendous times in the old Division Three, as well as the season we spent in Division Four. Whilst some people might still perversely look back fondly on these days, as I do myself sometimes, in reality we had a very poor set up from the top to the bottom of the club, and other than for the odd shining light on the pitch (e.g. Andy Walker) we had to endure some pitiful BWFC teams and footballing performances.
The current fans of BWFC need to understand that our years in the Premier League are not the norm for a club like ours these days. We outperformed ourselves year after year and survived on a tight budget even then compared to other teams in the PL.
Our fans these days seem so fickle and are disappearing in their thousands from match days because the don't like what they are seeing. However, these same fans need to understand that it can get a lot, lot worse than this before it gets better!!! A lot of us older fans have seen the good days AND the bad days and we are still here. Unfortunately many of the "younger" fans only seem to want to support the club in the good times. That for me is a real shame.
I agree - but the main issue here is not about taking a reality check (I too was supporting them during those big lows). The main issue is that the tactic are so negative, suppress what talent is within the squad and fail to give any team many problems. I was there against Bury and we were awful - so predictable. They were LEAGUE 2 and played us off the park. We plod forwards and are more concerned about what the oppo does than what we do so no - this isnt about losing the glory days, its about what we expect as a minimum in a Bolton shirt - desire, pressure and an intended positive game plan. Dougie doesn't set us up that way at all. Its like being on a ship that is heading for the rocks under the watch of an incompetent captain and saying that we have to accept that we're gonna sink!
[quote][p][bold]supajohnmcginlay[/bold] wrote: Bolton fans need a reality check.....and that is coming from me - a Wanderers supporter since 1972, and a season ticket holder every year since. For me a major problem is that for any supporter under the age of say 30 all they will have known will be the "glory days" of the years from say 1996 - 2013 when we were either in the Premier League or at the top of the Championship fighting our way back up there. The older fans like myself will remember the horrendous times in the old Division Three, as well as the season we spent in Division Four. Whilst some people might still perversely look back fondly on these days, as I do myself sometimes, in reality we had a very poor set up from the top to the bottom of the club, and other than for the odd shining light on the pitch (e.g. Andy Walker) we had to endure some pitiful BWFC teams and footballing performances. The current fans of BWFC need to understand that our years in the Premier League are not the norm for a club like ours these days. We outperformed ourselves year after year and survived on a tight budget even then compared to other teams in the PL. Our fans these days seem so fickle and are disappearing in their thousands from match days because the don't like what they are seeing. However, these same fans need to understand that it can get a lot, lot worse than this before it gets better!!! A lot of us older fans have seen the good days AND the bad days and we are still here. Unfortunately many of the "younger" fans only seem to want to support the club in the good times. That for me is a real shame.[/p][/quote]I agree - but the main issue here is not about taking a reality check (I too was supporting them during those big lows). The main issue is that the tactic are so negative, suppress what talent is within the squad and fail to give any team many problems. I was there against Bury and we were awful - so predictable. They were LEAGUE 2 and played us off the park. We plod forwards and are more concerned about what the oppo does than what we do so no - this isnt about losing the glory days, its about what we expect as a minimum in a Bolton shirt - desire, pressure and an intended positive game plan. Dougie doesn't set us up that way at all. Its like being on a ship that is heading for the rocks under the watch of an incompetent captain and saying that we have to accept that we're gonna sink! aydeepee
  • Score: 9

1:26pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Say It As You See It says...

I said in a different column on Saturday that if this clown was still in charge on moday morning, then my direct debit would be getting cancelled. Well it has been. This club is not having another penny off me. The board need to know it wasn't the fans that put the club in debt, but it's the fans getting punished for their inept decision making. I left school 10 years ago and since pretty much then most of my money has gone into following this club. Don't get me wrong the European adventures where amazing. But on the flip side, we have 4 biz managers, 3 of which where never wanted here (Lee, Megson and Freedman). We are apparently potless, how I don't know, as even in the prem it took 3 years to spend anything, and even then it wasn't massive. We sold Anelka, Cahill, Nolan and I think Matty Taylor for a profit, had parachute payments and had match day and merchandise revenue. At the end of the day, Bolton wanderers is no longer a family club. Its a cash cow for the slimey board room members. Sorry but I ain't contributing to your pension fund no more. Good luck but it's adios from me, I have had enough
I said in a different column on Saturday that if this clown was still in charge on moday morning, then my direct debit would be getting cancelled. Well it has been. This club is not having another penny off me. The board need to know it wasn't the fans that put the club in debt, but it's the fans getting punished for their inept decision making. I left school 10 years ago and since pretty much then most of my money has gone into following this club. Don't get me wrong the European adventures where amazing. But on the flip side, we have 4 biz managers, 3 of which where never wanted here (Lee, Megson and Freedman). We are apparently potless, how I don't know, as even in the prem it took 3 years to spend anything, and even then it wasn't massive. We sold Anelka, Cahill, Nolan and I think Matty Taylor for a profit, had parachute payments and had match day and merchandise revenue. At the end of the day, Bolton wanderers is no longer a family club. Its a cash cow for the slimey board room members. Sorry but I ain't contributing to your pension fund no more. Good luck but it's adios from me, I have had enough Say It As You See It
  • Score: 11

6:50pm Mon 1 Sep 14

genesis22 says...

since Gartside took over near £700 million has passed through the accounts, as club chairman he is a disgrace, failing to have automatic wage cuts written into the players contracts in the event of relegation is utter negligence. Moonshift is a scam, to hide the true facts, E Davies is anything but a saviour, he has ripped millions from the club and now owns all the assets. We have no money, no income, no players of any value, no assets, a useless manager, we sit bottom of the championship, the only legacy E Davies has created is £200 million of debt and a football team that resembles a dead carcass, the sooner these scumbags walk away the better.
since Gartside took over near £700 million has passed through the accounts, as club chairman he is a disgrace, failing to have automatic wage cuts written into the players contracts in the event of relegation is utter negligence. Moonshift is a scam, to hide the true facts, E Davies is anything but a saviour, he has ripped millions from the club and now owns all the assets. We have no money, no income, no players of any value, no assets, a useless manager, we sit bottom of the championship, the only legacy E Davies has created is £200 million of debt and a football team that resembles a dead carcass, the sooner these scumbags walk away the better. genesis22
  • Score: 6

6:59pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Reebok Al says...

One good thing these days is that we have a sports writer for the Bolton News who tells it like it is. Gordon Sharrock used to do the job and he was no more than an apologist for the BWFC hierarchy.
Keep it up, Marc.
One good thing these days is that we have a sports writer for the Bolton News who tells it like it is. Gordon Sharrock used to do the job and he was no more than an apologist for the BWFC hierarchy. Keep it up, Marc. Reebok Al
  • Score: 4

7:04pm Mon 1 Sep 14

genesis22 says...

I note its reported we lost £50 million during the last financial year, how can that be credible ? its claimed this was all down to the huge wage bill, if 5 players were earning £30,000 a week, that equates to £150,000 a week or £7.8 million for the year, assuming the rest were earning half that you have another £4,7 million giving us £12.5 million in first team wages, add another £5 million for the rest of the squad, in total £17.5 million covers all wages so where did the other £32 million go ?
If the Bolton News had the guts to investigate properly what lies behind the veneer of lies peddled by the board I am certain matters are not as they are portrayed
I note its reported we lost £50 million during the last financial year, how can that be credible ? its claimed this was all down to the huge wage bill, if 5 players were earning £30,000 a week, that equates to £150,000 a week or £7.8 million for the year, assuming the rest were earning half that you have another £4,7 million giving us £12.5 million in first team wages, add another £5 million for the rest of the squad, in total £17.5 million covers all wages so where did the other £32 million go ? If the Bolton News had the guts to investigate properly what lies behind the veneer of lies peddled by the board I am certain matters are not as they are portrayed genesis22
  • Score: 4
Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree