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Freedman's exit has shaken my faith in the game
2:29pm Wednesday 24th October 2012 in Sport
EAGLES columnist SAM ROSS admits he has lost a bit of faith in professional football after club favourite Dougie Freedman quit yesterday to join Bolton.
I WAS hoping to be writing my column this week on the fantastic London derby between Millwall on Saturday and how Palace could really achieve something special under Dougie Freedman this season.
But events over the last few days have changed all that and instead of an optimistic excited fan, I am now a deluded pessimistic one who is slowly losing faith in professional football.
Freedman has done a lot for Palace over the years, something Steve Parish was quick to point out when the announcement the Scot would be leaving to join Bolton was made public by him on Tuesday.
But the fans have a right to feel angry and betrayed.
The acknowledgement of his success as Palace manager will come in time but like at the end of a failed relationship, the fans are allowed the instant heartache.
One of the most annoying aspects of Freedman leaving is the fact he has continually said he was on a mission at Palace.
Now it seems that aim was to just secure them as a Championship squad before moving on to what he believes are a club who have a better chance of reaching the Premier League.
I was convinced Freedman was in it for the long run and continuously drummed on about his so-called mission at Palace.
Whether things had changed behind closed doors, who knows?
But it was disappointing he left without acknowledging the fans on Saturday and instead heading straight for the tunnel – not at all in his usual nature.
I fear the biggest damage his move has done has hugely dented the belief around Selhurst, which Freedman had been a big part of ever since the club came out of administration.
The younger fans were galvanised by the appointment of Freedman, someone they had watch play and was now managing their club – he was a true Palace legend to them.
He still is, let us never forget that, and that is why his move is hard to take.
But I feel he has let a great opportunity go at Selhurst, one he cannot simply come back and pick up where he left off.
Every manager has aspirations of coaching in the Premier League but I am surprised Freedman has made the decision so quickly, especially after hypocritically claiming Wilfried Zaha was not ready for the supposed big time.
He also previously stated it was a great shame former youngsters like Ben Watson and Wayne Routledge made the leap too soon, something I believe he has now done.
From both parties, Freedman and Bolton, it is a huge gamble but there is one thing the 38-year-old will have, and is something he has craved - a decent transfer budget.
At Palace he often spoke about his frustration at missing out on potential signings like Robert Earnshaw because the Eagles could not meet wage demands.
He is also probably relishing the challenge at the Reebok after not being able to do a lot wrong in many people’s eyes, mine included, at Palace.
There is no doubt when he returns to Selhurst in the future he will rightfully be applauded for what he has done with the club, whether that is in January with Bolton I am not quite sure.
But for the moment Palace fans have a right to feel betrayed and should be left to grieve.
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