We need patience - Dougie Freedman
DOUGIE Freedman believes everyone connected to Wanderers is committed to realising his long-term vision.
Amidst tabloid speculation that his position at the Reebok is in jeopardy, and with the Whites bottom of the Championship after seven winless games, the manager sent out an open and honest message to supporters on the eve of tomorrow’s game at Brighton.
With no cash to spend, Freedman admits patience is needed in the boardroom and on the terraces as he tries to change the infrastructure of a club he inherited just under a year ago.
But the Scot is also not ready to write off Wanderers’ promotion chances just yet either.
“I see a different attitude with the fans right now and that is why I am trying to talk them through what we are trying to do and where this football club is at,” he said.
“This is their club and right now it is going through a period that it hasn’t had to face for 10, 11, 12 years while they were in the Premier League.
“There isn’t a magic formula. We have to slowly turn things around and concentrate on the future. And I don’t think we are a million miles away – that is me speaking straight from the heart.
“I am a manager who will protect this club in the long term because I believe I will be here in the longer term.”
Despite Andre Moritz ruled out for six weeks with a groin injury and young striker Tom Eaves sent out on loan to Rotherham United, Freedman says there is little chance of him adding to his squad for the foreseeable future.
And while that is not the news Wanderers fans want to hear right now – the manager insists the current hardship might be something the whole club has to grin and bear in the short term.
“It is painful right now for everyone, including the fans, but it is a period we have to go through,” he said. “We have to go through it until the younger players gel together, or we buy in younger players and they gel into the team.
“You look at teams who have won promotion and stayed up there and they always built with a good foundation. I had a good conversation with Steve Clarke last week and he said he was the seventh manager they had before they got to that stage.
“Hopefully there won’t be seven managers here before we get to that stage.
“But this club has got to build around a set of younger players. Money is tight so we can’t do a QPR and spend millions. We have to do it a different way.”
Freedman hinted that the club is looking towards a shift in their recruitment policy and targeting younger players to develop from the lower leagues.
And with speculation over his own post in mind, the manager believes he has the blessing of chairman Phil Gartside and owner Eddie Davies on the subject.
“They haven’t got any option,” he said. “A lot of clubs are the same.
“Ipswich tried to buy in everyone a few years ago and if you don’t get anywhere you find yourself starting all over again.
“You don’t have options unless you are going to throw hundreds of millions at it.
“We are massively into our Academy and have spent a lot of money on it. Yes, we do need to see results.
“But we also need to start buying players like Bolton used to in the early days – players I played against before they got promotion. Then we need the likes of Alan Thompson or Alan Stubbs coming through the youth ranks.
“We can buy players from the lower leagues who perhaps haven’t had that success and you start to build that foundation. I don’t think there is any other option for us.”