Dougie Freedman aims to trade his way to success with Bolton Wanderers
BUY low, sell high – Dougie Freedman believes Wanderers have to start adopting better business sense in the transfer market heading into the future.
Despite the club’s finances continuing to come under heavy scrutiny following the announcement of £50.7million losses last year, the Whites boss insists he is still looking at a plan of long-term growth at the Reebok.
While money appears to be tight in the current transfer window, Freedman is looking to add players to his squad for the right price.
Crucially, the Scot is also looking further down the line – something critics of his predecessors point out has not always been the case.
From Johan Elmander and Gretar Steinsson to Marcos Alonso and Sam Ricketts, the big fees that have been frittered away go some way to explaining why debts have mounted up in recent years.
Chairman Phil Gartside has been quoted in the past as saying Wanderers are a “trading club” but, in a call that harked back to the days of Colin Todd at Bolton, Freedman accepts it is a side of the game in which the club must improve.
“Personally – and I have tried to sell this to the board – we have got to be more of a trading club,” he said. “I don’t see many players getting sold over the last 10 years. “We have got to get the right deal in and the right price out, re-generate that money, while at the same time trying to get success.”
News of escalating debts came as no surprise to Freedman, who claims he has been kept fully informed since arriving at the club in October 2012. As someone who experienced financial hardship at Crystal Palace, the Whites boss should recognise the warning signs.
But, sharing the views aired by Gartside last weekend, Freedman is confident plans to rationalise the club’s finances will bear fruit in the future.
“The fans owe a lot to Eddie Davies but I believe it is common sense to stop losing ‘X’ amount every year,” he said. “That is the road most want to take and maybe the view of Eddie is that we have got to make it run as a business as well.
“The biggest factor is that the Eddie Davies’ of this world are being put in a corner with Financial Fair Play.
“The chairman has never hidden the debt but he has also never hidden the fact we have got to get into line because of FFP.
“There are other clubs who will have a financial penalty but the message is simple from our point of view: we have a fantastic stadium and training ground, we have a good business with the hotel and education and we have a couple of assets in the team. Of course, we all want to be at the other end of the division. And I promise everyone that we are working very hard to do that.
“But if there are any fans worried about the club right now, look at the team. I haven’t had easy decisions to make.”
Freedman says he is working on a “four or five-year” plan, the first steps of which included the recruitment of Medo Kamara, Jay Spearing and Robert Hall to bring the overall age of the squad down.
And while it might be assuming some degree of stability in a notoriously unstable profession, he is happy to plan for the future.
“I take it for granted I am going to be here because I am putting things in place,” he said. “I take it for granted when the Hayden Whites or Cian Bolgers come through, I will still be here.
"We all hope we will be in the next division but the fans should know a plan is being put in place.
“Trying to get results is always the hardest thing. But behind the scenes we are a very forward- thinking club.
“Every manager has different traits. It’s just what I believe.”