Is Freedman the right man for Palace?
The recent appointment of Crystal Palace legend Dougie Freedman has brought a new sense of optimism around a club that was in crisis only a couple of months ago.
With the Eagles sitting third-bottom and struggling to improve on only one away win all season, it's fair to say that Freedman has a mammoth task on his hands. And the million dollar question is is Freedman the right man for the job?
Most Palace fans will suggest the appointment was the best option but I disagree.
Throughout his playing career at Palace, Freedman was the catalyst behind many of Palace's famous moments, the most memorable being the dramatic late winner against Stockport County resulting saving them from dropping into the third tier of English football - some say it's deja-vu to what is currently happening.
I have plenty of respect for Freedman, who I've grown up to admire as one of the greatest players to have graced the hallow turf of Selhurst Park, but I just feel he lacks that cutting edge to keep a club in dire need of a resurrection from the bleak picture of having to play the likes of Walsall and Tranmere away on a Tuesday night next season.
The reality is Freedman has inherited a squad that is not his own, although he worked closely with the players when he was assistant manager in George Burley's short-lived reign at the club as well as Paul Hart's relegation battle of last season.
Although he may have the first-hand experience of working with a squad that is lacking moral and spirit when coping with relegation I do think the Scot will struggle to bring in players of a quality that is required in order to keep us from the ever-increasing reality of League One football next season.
As I've previously mentioned, Freedman has only ever had experience in being someone else's number two and at 36, he is one of the youngest managers in the Football League, lacking any real experience at such a level.
In comparison, the other candidates that were rumoured to be in the frame for the job had that extra experience that I feel would have benefited the club far greater than the appointment of Dougie Freedman.
Chris Houghton, for example, did a fantastic job at Newcastle United, picking up great results against rivals Sunderland, Arsenal and a memorable away win at Chelsea in the Carling Cup.
It was only down to Mike Ashley that Houghton was relieved of his position as manager, much to the disarray of the club's supporters.
He would have been perfect for the job, he had experience of managing a club that was indeed struggling in the Premier League, he had the backing of most managers in the country (which can't be said for many others) and he had that aura that would have persuaded many a top level player to join Palace either on loan or on a permanent basis, emphasised by his links to Newcastle and his previous job as Tottenham coach for 14 years.
I'm sure Houghton would have been able to bring in several of the players he had previously worked with, including the likes of Nile Ranger (Newcastle) and Danny Rose (Tottenham).
Instead, from what we are rumoured to believe, Freedman is adamant on going back to previous loan signings such as James Vaughan and putting in interests for players I feel are too good to be at the club, the likes of Jack Cork springing to mind.
The young Englishman has had a fantastic time at Burnley, who I'm sure would not be interested in letting him go without a fight.
In my opinion, Freedman first needs to get the best out of the players that we've already got at the club because it's clear to me that the likes of Neil Danns, Darren Ambrose and Owen Garvan aren't putting in 110%.
Ambrose was in fine form last season, supplying crucial goals and assists when needed and Danns was a player with a great touch and movement who thrived when playing alongside Ambrose.
Garvan has come in and been one of the plus points of George Burley's reign at the club.
Freedman would do well to get these three playing to the same tune and then looking at areas that need improving, such as a concrete defensive partnership and a supporting striker who actually supports the front man, something Pablo Counago has failed to do so since his move from Ipswich.
However, it's all well and good fans making their suggestions as to how the club can improve but only one man can enforce these changes and that man is Dougie Freedman.
The club haven't revealed the size of the budget that Freedman has to play with in the January transfer window, but let's hope that whatever money he has available he spends wisely.
In what is to be a pivotal time in the club's history, there is no chance to ponder ' what if '.
The club is in a relegation battle and with the 3-0 loss to Swansea and forthcoming fixtures against fellow strugglers Bristol City and Middelsbrough, this is Freedman's time to stand up and show the reasons as to why Steve Parish felt he was the right man for the job.
In this section
- Palace sitting comfortably
- Eagles still in period of transition
- Palace blog: Positivity the key for Eagles
- Dougie can prevent a repeat of last year's nervous finish
- Clyne shows what might have been for Bostock
- Freedman should follow Warnock's lead in dealing with Zaha
- Palace give cause for cautious optimism
- A Spurs Olympic win would be a disaster for Crystal Palace
- Stadium move will benefit Palace
- Time for Palace to turn over a new leaf