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Dougie Freedman

Douglas "Dougie" Freedman (born 25 May 1974 in Glasgow, Scotland) is a Scottish footballer who plays as a striker for League One side Southend United. He is most famous for playing for Crystal Palace, for whom he has totalled ten years of service over two spells.

Playing career

Early years

Freedman began his career with top flight Queens Park Rangers in 1992, but never made their first team. Instead, he moved to Third Division Barnet on a free transfer in July 1994. He made his league debut in August 1994 and quickly became the club's leading player as he struck 24 goals in his debut season. A bright start to the following season convinced Crystal Palace to bid £800,000 to take him to Selhurst Park in September 1995.

Crystal Palace

Freedman instantly showed he could continue his goalscoring antics at the higher level when he netted 20 times in the 1995/96 season. This haul included the fastest hat-trick in Crystal Palace history - 11 minutes - against Grimsby Town on 5 March 1996.

The following season saw a less prolific 11 goals but was enough to help the club to the promotion play-offs. He then scored crucial goals in the 89th and 90th minutes of their semi final tie with Wolves after coming off the bench with 17 minutes left. Palace went on to win promotion in the Wembley final, beating Sheffield United 1-0.

Freedman's Premier League experience proved short-lived though as he only managed seven top flight games before he was sold to Wolves, ironically the club he had helped deny promotion, for £800,000 and defender Jamie Smith after impressing on loan.

Midlands moves

Freedman had initially only moved to Molineux on a loan spell in October 1997, but after scoring two goals in as many games, the club quickly signed him permanently. However, his spell with the club would only last until the end of the 1997/98 season. He was the team's top goalscorer with 13 in total in a campaign that failed to mount a serious promotion challenge. The emergance of Robbie Keane during the season helped convince Wolves to cash in on Freedman though, and he was sold to Nottingham Forest for £950,000 in August 1998.

Nottingham Forest offered Freedman his first full season in the top flight in 1998/99, but his 9 goals couldn't prevent relegation. He remained with the club for a further full season as they languished in mid-table in Division One under David Platt. He famously told David Platt to jog on. He had scored 23 goals in total for the club before rejoining Crystal Palace again in October 2000, this time for £600,000.

Return to Palace

Freedman joined the club during a relegation threatened campaign, but one which ended with perhaps his most famous goal for the club. Relegation to the third tier loomed in their final game of the season at Stockport County, with three minutes left and no score. Dramatically, Freedman then scored the vital goal that kept Palace in the division, and relegated Huddersfield Town.

The following campaign saw him bag 21 goals in all competitions, his best seasonal tally for the club. This also earned him a call-up to the Scottish national team, to add to his earlier Under 21 caps. However, the next season was less of a personal success as he was dropped from the Scotland side, and began to find his appearances limited at Palace, as manager Trevor Francis largely preferred Ade Akinbiyi, Dele Adebola, and Andy Johnson to him.

His fortunes were revived in 2003/04 though, as re-established himself as a first choice regular under new manager Iain Dowie. A strong surge in the second half of the season saw the club go from relegation contenders to the promotion play-offs. Freedman scored during the penalty shootout victory at Sunderland in the semi finals to help the club to the final. He was an unused substitute in the final though, which saw the club beat West Ham, the second time he had been promoted with the club.

However, life in the Premier League in 2004/05 saw Freedman often overlooked as the team employed only one striker in most games, with Andy Johnson being the preferred choice in this role. Despite attracting interest from Leeds United midway through the season, he remained committed to the Palace cause of consolidating Premiership status by rejecting a loan bid from the Championship contenders. He stayed to score his only top flight for the club in their vital final fixture at Charlton, drawing them level at 1-1. However, the eventual 2-2 result saw the club endure a record third Premier League relegation.

Back in the Championship, he remained down the pecking order behind England international Andy Johnson and Republic of Ireland international Clinton Morrison. However, injuries to Johnson and Jon Macken, and lack of form from Morrison brought him back into the team and he scored his 100th and 101st goals for Crystal Palace in a 3-2 win at rivals Brighton & Hove Albion on November 20, 2005. This made him only the seventh player in Palace history to have reached the century mark.

He managed to stay in the line-up after Johnson's return, having made a great impression on Palace boss Iain Dowie, who, later, made a public call to Scotland boss Walter Smith for the striker to be given another chance in the national side. He ended the season with seven league goals, as the club comfortably reached the play-offs. However, they were beaten by Watford in their semi final tie to deny him a chance of a third promotion.

The appointment of Peter Taylor as manager in Summer 2006 limited Freedman's chances, and he could only manage three league goals. However, he extended his contract by a further two years at the conclusion of the season. Taylor was replaced by Neil Warnock early in the 2007-08 season, but strong goalscoring form of Clinton Morrison limited Freedman to rare substitute appearances.

Loan at Leeds

With Morrison keeping him out of the Palace side, Freedman, after initially rejecting the move (as he had done during the 2004-05 season), decided to move to League One club Leeds United on loan until the end of the season.

He was in excellent form for Elland Road club, scoring five goals to ensure a play-off place, and also receiving praise from Leeds manager Gary McAllister. This form earned him League One's "Player of the Month" award for April, while another vital late Play-off goal in the first leg of Leeds' semi-final tie with Carlisle United helped the Whites to Wembley, where he featured in the Play-off final on the day of his 34th birthday, as Leeds were downed 1-0 by Doncaster Rovers.

The end at Selhurst

After returning to Palace at the end of the season, Dougie was granted a testimonial match to reward him for ten years' service at the club over two spells, with the match to be a first-team pre-season friendly fixture against Fulham at Selhurst Park which ended in a 0-0 draw.

Following this match, Warnock allowed Dougie to depart Selhurst. He was heavily linked with a permanent move to Leeds, but on transfer deadline day, signed for Essex club Southend United, scoring on his debut for the Shrimpers.

Club career statistics

(correct as of 27 September 2008)
Club Season League Cup Europe Play-Offs Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Barnet 1994-95 42 24 - - - - - - 42 24
Barnet 1995-96 5 3 2 0 - - - - 7 3
Total 1994-1996 47 27 2 0 - - - - 49 27
Crystal Palace 1995-96 42 20 2 0 - - - - 44 20
Crystal Palace 1996-97 37 11 3 1 - - 2 2 42 14
Crystal Palace 1997-98 8 0 1 0 - - - - 9 0
Total 1995-1998 93 31 6 1 - - - - 99 32
Wolves 1997-98 29 10 6 2 - - - - 35 12
Total 1997-1998 29 10 6 2 - - - - 35 12
Nottingham Forest 1998-99 31 9 5 3 - - - - 36 12
Nottingham Forest 1999-00 34 9 7 2 - - - - 41 11
Nottingham Forest 2000-01 5 0 1 0 - - - - 6 0
Total 1998-2001 70 18 13 5 - - - - 83 23
Crystal Palace 2000-01 26 11 2 0 - - - - 28 11
Crystal Palace 2001-02 40 20 2 1 - - - - 42 21
Crystal Palace 2002-03 29 9 5 2 - - - - 34 11
Crystal Palace 2003-04 35 13 4 2 - - 1 0 40 15
Crystal Palace 2004-05 20 1 3 2 - - - - 23 3
Crystal Palace 2005-06 32 6 4 2 - - 2 0 38 8
Crystal Palace 2006-07 34 3 3 0 - - - - 37 3
Crysal Palace 2007-08 19 1 1 1 - - 0 0 20 2
Total 2000-2008 237 64 24 10 - - 0 0 261 74
Leeds (loan) 2007-08 11 5 - - - - 3 1 14 6
Total 2008 11 5 - - - - 3 1 14 6
Southend 2008-09 4 4 - - - - - - 4 4
Total 2008-present 4 4 - - - - - - 4 4
Career totals 491 158 51 18 - - 9 3 543 177

International career

Freedman finally made his Scotland debut on 6 October 2001, in a crunch match against Latvia at Hampden Park, for a place at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The Scots won the match 2-1, with Freedman scoring the equalising goal in the process (a header past then Palace teammate, goalkeeper Aleksandrs Koliņko), after Andrejs Rubins (another Palace teammate at the time) had given the Latvians the lead. Despite this victory, Scotland failed to gain a place in the Finals, and manager Craig Brown resigned, being replaced by Berti Vogts.

He only got one more Scotland cap following Vogts' appointment, playing the first 45 minutes of Scotland's 5-0 defeat at the hands of France in a friendly.

Coaching career

His coaching career began when he was appointed as the reserve team manager of Crystal Palace in November 2007. He was in this role alongside his playing duties for the club's first team. Many see this appointment as his first step towards a managerial/coaching career when he eventually retires from playing.

Trivia

  • According to Freedman, his name is pronounced "Duggie", and it is a common mistake for people to mis-pronounce his name "Doo-gee".
  • When Freedman scores at Palace's home games, ''Who Let the Dogs Out? by The Baha Men is played and fans sing along, replacing the word 'Dogs' for 'Doog'.
  • Scored the first non-Northampton Town goal at Sixfields Stadium for Barnet on October 15, 1994.
  • Scored his 100th Palace goal against Palace's fierce rivals Brighton in a 3-2 win for the Eagles
  • Married to Sarah, sister of Leicester City midfielder Stephen Clemence and daughter of Ray Clemence, making his former Barnet manager his father-in-law.
  • Despite only spending a short spell at Barnet at the beginning of his playing career, Freedman was voted as the fans' favourite player in the club's all-time history in late 2007.

References

External links

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