DOUGIE Freedman has expressed regret for leaving Crystal Palace for Bolton The vagabonds in 2012 as part of an Amazon Prime documentary.
The Eagles’ sporting director, who coached the Whites for 99 games between October 2012 and October 2014, says his experience pushed him to succeed in his second role in south-east London.
Freedman The Scot is a prominent figure in a new documentary series called “When Eagles Dare”, which will be released worldwide on Friday.
It traces the club’s rise from administration in 2010 to winning the Sky Bet Championship play-off final at Wembley three years later and Freedman’s shock exit to the Wanderers at the start of their winning season is the one of the key sections of the documentary.
Speaking in a retrospective interview in episode two, the 47-year-old explained: “I knew I had made the wrong decision very quickly in my career at Bolton, but it was a decision that I made and unfortunately it was the wrong decision.
“Looking back, of course, I wouldn’t have gone, I would have stayed here and we would have been promoted (together) and that’s probably one of the things that motivates me now. To make up for this disappointing decision I made.
The Wanderers came close to making the playoffs in Freedman’s first season after replacing Owen Coyle, missing out on the final day by failing to beat Blackpool. Leicester City, who grabbed last place, had won the Premier League in four years.
Struggling on a shoestring budget in the years that followed, Freedman’s plight with the Whites never managed to gain momentum from there. And several high-profile disagreements in the dressing room have left the Scotsman struggling to gain popularity within the club.
He left Bolton in 2014 and held another managerial position at Nottingham Forest before returning to Palace in 2017.
Previously with a decade of service as a player over two periods, where he scored over 100 goals for the club, Freedman was a key figure when a consortium led by Steve Parish bought Palace in 2010.
An assistant coach at the time, the former Eagles forward was instrumental in the initial rebuilding at Selhurst Park and the five-part series has shed some light on why he is well suited to his current title of sporting director.
Freedman would become manager in 2011 and would remain so until his departure from Bolton 18 months later. During his time as a coach at Selhurst Park, his influence on signings, player contacts and management appointments would have served him well for his future job.
“Dougie was traveling the country between games watching the players,” Parish said as she reflected on their first time together.
“I learned a lot from Dougie, it was a huge learning curve for both of us. Searching for the players together, learning the game and it was great. I loved every minute of it. ”
Retrospective interviews in “When Eagles Dare” are part of the reason why Parish reportedly called for work with the club again in 2017.
Freedman added: “Of course there was a fantastic relationship with the fans from player to coach to manager and I let myself down in the way I acted. There is no doubt and I did. haven’t thought about the consequences.
“This weekend has definitely tarnished feelings towards myself for the past 20 years and that’s what I’m trying to try to make up for. It has to be with me every day, but if I can forgive myself one bad decision, I hope everyone can. ”