Search

The Selhurst Soapbox: Freedman’s steel has rubbed off on Palace

12:22 12 October 2012

Dougie Freedman as a Crystal Palace player. Photo credit: Steve Morton/EMPICS

Dougie Freedman as a Crystal Palace player. Photo credit: Steve Morton/EMPICS

EMPICS Sport

It was as a player that Dougie Freedman first captured the hearts of Crystal Palace fans. But now as manager of a side on the back of a seven-game unbeaten run, playing attractive attacking football, he is making them fall in love all over again.

About our Blogger

Name: Simon Campbell

Twitter handle: @Si_Campbell_

Regular attendee/Viewer from abroad

Favourite player: Current, Wilf Zaha

Most memorable game: Crystal Palace 5 Brighton 0

Predicted finish: 8th

Freedman was a striker of finesse and unpredictable finesse. Not so perceptible was a steely side to his character that protected him from burly defenders but would also, on occasion, get him into trouble.

It has taken some time but, after a season-and-a-half in charge, he has crafted a Crystal Palace side playing in a manner that recalls something of Freedman the player. There is flair, fast breaks, quick passing and long dribbles. There is also steel.

In recent years Selhurst Park regulars have become used to anti-climatic defeats. Heads would drop at the slightest misfortune, both on and off the pitch. More often than not Palace tended to lose when they went behind, and the crowd would berate them – not anymore.

Before this season you had to go back to 1969 to find the last time Palace overcame a 2-0 deficit, but under Freedman they have done it twice in two weeks. When his Palace side are on the ropes they come out swinging.

"The Crystal Palace glass jaw is a thing of the past"

Simon Campbell

Last Saturday Burnley boss Eddie Howe could have been forgiven for feeling comfortable with his side two goals up after 30 minutes. This barrier did not faze the Palace players though - they struck back with forceful purpose.

What was notable against Burnley was the composure – from the players, from the bench, from the stands – no one was moaning. You could sense the confidence in the players, with hard work and belief, victory was theirs for the taking. And take it they did.

Eighteen months ago Crystal Palace offered the cherubic Howe the chance to be their manager. He opted to leave Bournemouth for the Clarets instead and the Eagles directors turned to Freedman - a decision that appears increasingly foresighted with each passing day.

When the Scot took over at Selhurst Park, Palace were floundering. After advice from fellow Glaswegians Kenny Dalglish and Alex Ferguson, he concentrated on strengthening a porous defence. Once his side were harder to beat he eventually introduced more attacking license.

Crystal Palace manager Dougie Freedman. Photo credit: Adam Davy/EMPICSCrystal Palace manager Dougie Freedman. Photo credit: Adam Davy/EMPICS

While Howe has spent considerable sums assembling an expensive squad, Freedman has worked with relatively meager resources, but by trusting his instincts in the transfer market and adhering to his tactical beliefs, he has slowly built a side with a creditable chance of contesting promotion this season.

Palace’s current situation is all the more remarkable given their dreadful start to the season where they lost their first three league games and were spanked 4-1 by League One Preston in the League Cup.

It takes a strong manager to emerge from such a sequence with the squad, board and supporters still on side. It takes an even stronger one to then take his team on their best run of form in years.

Where once consecutive defeats would have been the catalyst for a season of strife, this Palace side seem galvanised by setbacks. Like their manager, they have their steely side. The Crystal Palace glass jaw is a thing of the past.

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Tottenham ended their run of defeats at Wembley Stadium by beating CSKA Moscow 3-1, finishing third in Group E of the Champions League and thereby qualifying for the last 32 of the Europa League. Here are five talking points.

Yesterday, 15:26

The 10th edition of the London Open finished at the weekend, with Englishman Charles Sharpes and Egypt’s Nada Abbas emerging victorious at Cumberland Lawn Tennis Club.

Yesterday, 12:34

Hendon fought back from two goals down in the final 20 minutes to secure their second successive draw at home on Tuesday evening.

Yesterday, 12:14

Mark Stephenson’s hat-trick took his tally to five goals in three games as Islington & Camden Under-14s overcame Tower Hamlets 4-2 to end the year on a high.

Tue, 14:50

Wendy Martin says Spurs Ladies’ ability to win games while not performing at their best shows how much the squad has matured since last season.

Mon, 15:41

Hampstead Ladies’ second team were narrowly beaten 15-12 by Kilburn on Sunday, despite two tries for Barbara Sike.

Mon, 13:07

Saracens were dealt only their second defeat of the Premiership campaign on Saturday as Bath put in a strong defensive display to overcome the league leaders and stop them from opening up some breathing space at the summit.

Mon, 12:00

Heung-Min Son rates his scissor kick against Swansea as the best goal of his career – and the Tottenham midfielder says he is now feeling fresher than in previous months, when his efforts were being undermined by niggly injuries and tiredness.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now