Bolton Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman insists derby win was for the fans
JOYOUS songs of celebration could still be heard from Wanderers fans who had filed out happy from the Reebok into the surrounding pubs on Saturday evening when Dougie Freedman emerged from his office.
We had all longed to celebrate a result, a performance, this emphatic. And to do it against a team most regard as the biggest local rival made it all the more sweet.
But those expecting Freedman to revel in a derby win, beat his chest in defiance against the criticism he has received in the last few months in particular, or indeed start making bold predictions about the future were to be left disappointed.
The result, he confirmed immediately, was for the fans to celebrate, not him.
“Of course I do enjoy it,” he told The Bolton News. “But though it might sound strange, it’s the working with the lads day-in, day-out that I enjoy most.
“The fans turn up and pay very, very good money. It’s been a difficult time for them because they’ve been in the Premier League for a long time and then just missing out last year, a few are bound to think ‘what are we going to do?’ “This result is for them to go and enjoy.
“But through all the difficult spells I’ve tried not to blame injuries, or referees, or luck, I have tried to keep level headed and say that we’re working towards something.
“That’s why I can’t really enjoy this one too much because I’ve got to go in on Monday morning and carry on working towards success.
“This is one very good result. But the work continues.”
It is hard to recall 90 minutes where everything has gone quite so according to plan for Freedman since he walked through the doors of the Reebok 18 months ago from Crystal Palace.
There have been results of clinical precision – Bournemouth away, Brighton at home – and occasions in which opposition were swept away early on – Hull City and Wolves at home last season – but this was a complete package.
“I honestly think our performances have been good over the last couple of months,” Freedman added. “But we have struggled to take our chances or to see games out.
“I felt today there was a great intent and work ethic about us (against Blackburn).
“This division is a workmanlike division, nothing comes easy. It was all about how hard we worked.
“From the first whistle we were at it, and I’m really pleased for the fans. That was for them, really, because it has been a difficult season. The majority have stuck by us and made sure we had support in the right games.
“These are the sort of days that make you proud to work for Bolton and be a Bolton fan.
“We have let ourselves down in certain weekends but we’ve not let our heads go down, we’ve fought back. I felt that was the key.
“We fought for each other and came through with a very strong win.”