BWFC Guest Article: The Way Forward
Thanks, moonpig1 for contributing some valid and well written points. If Dougie has any doubts with what he's doing, this write-up will alleviate those worries.
Dougie Freedman has been equally criticised and defended by the dwindling numbers at the Reebok since his arrival. Many fans think that we should be walking this division given the amount of money spent on players and the size of the pay packets of many of those players and in a way, I believe they are right. However, there is a big HOWEVER, it seems some people have short memories and have deleted the past few years from their minds.
We are not what we were; well, in theory, we are what we were, BS-Before Sam.
At that time we were stuck in a rut, dubbed a yo-yo team, we hadn`t secured automatic promotion back to the PL, Colin Todd was getting increasingly frustrated with backroom unrest, Per Frandsen sold to rivals Blackburn for £1.75 million just days after a £9 million price tag was slapped on his head, this was enough for Todd and he walked. We were in turmoil financially, unstable on and off the pitch and we needed a period of consolidation and to rebuild with a clear forward strategy. Big Sam brought that…
We are in much the same situation now and it is important that as a whole we get behind Dougie and his staff, along with the team, and realise that they have a plan that hasn`t worked so far but will bear fruit in the future.
I like Dougie`s thinking but I think he thought the players he had at his disposal were more capable and more intelligent than they actually are. He set the team up to play a certain way but too many players weren`t at the races. Eagles and Lee swapping wings but Eagles inability to play his position and lack of awareness leaves us short at fullback, Wheater and Knight`s persistent failures in the air, Medo and Spearing`s lack of mobility, N`Gog`s unwillingness to shoot and Beckford`s poor first touch all evident early in the season and as a result he had to go right back to basics with a rigid formation and simple play along with more of a focus on the defensive solidity of the team. I don`t think there is any doubt that when we became more solid defensively last season we went on a magnificent run, almost ending up in the play offs. This season, after becoming more solid we are unbeaten in 3 and arguably could have won all of those games had the woodwork been a little bit thinner.
He has found an unlikely CB partnership of Ream and Mills who were seemingly on their way out, he has given them a chance and they have grabbed it. Ream has become Mr Consistency in a number of positions and Mills is finally showing why someone paid £4 million for him at one point. He has stuck with Beckford who has missed sitters and been anonymous but has still been finding the positions with his movement and finally got off the mark. He has brought in 'nobodies` (unfair on them all) who have points to prove and are willing to work for a team with whom they have no affiliation and who have shown the 'big` names the way forward. It is now how those 'big` players respond to the gauntlet laid down by the loanees which will be a big factor in the remainder of the season.
While Dougie shows loyalty to his players, he has also shown that he is not afraid to drop the likes of Eagles, Knight, N`Gog, Wheater, Medo, Lee, Beckford this season and Spearing last season. He wants players who are prepared to fight for their places and show commitment in the way that Ream and Mills have to get themselves back into contention. We as fans want this kind of attitude, most of us would sacrifice a certain amount of skill and ability for someone dedicated and giving their all and that is what Dougie has had to do.
The corner hasn`t been turned but we are peering around it and with backing Dougie can build us back up with shrewd signings and developing our younger players to make us more self sufficient. Stability is the key. For too long we have hired and fired; patience is required and I believe if we are patient then we will be rewarded…eventually.