In the spotlight is a Scot who made a massive impact at the club but in a very short space of time.

Exciting, prodigious, breathtaking, exhilarating are all words used to describe special players at a club but surely Dougie Freedman, who was only a Barnet player for 14 short months, had all these and more.

After a turbulent 1993/4 in Division 2, having lost the majority of the squad from the previous season due to administrative problems, the Bees were effectively relegated by Christmas. Gary Phillips as Player-Manager had performed miracles along with Chairman Ricky George however for the start of 1994/5 Ray Clemence was in charge. During that summer Ray had procured the services of three key players, Mark Cooper, Lee Hodges and Douglas Freedman a 20 year old Glaswegian on a free transfer who had failed to break into the QPR first team.
In a pre season at Southbury Road, Enfield the Barnet supporters could sense something very special had been acquired.

League Debut: Barnet 1-2 Scunthorpe United Saturday August 13th 1994 Att 2,208
Gary Phillips, David McDonald, Shaun Gale, Alan Walker, Mark Newson, Carl Hoddle, Lee Hodges, Micky Tomlinson, Paul Wilson, Mark Cooper, Dougie Freedman. Subs: Peter Scott, Paul Newell, Linvoy Primus.

Dougie was headline news all season and his 24 League goals from an ever present 42 appearance tally plus five more goals in Cup competitions heralded a prodigious talent and Underhill was alive once again. The four goals in the 6-2 drubbing of Rochdale was obviously a highlight but his performances against Manchester City in the League Cup illustrated his pedigree as he opened the scoring on a fantastic night at Underhill after just 27 seconds before giving City the fright of their season equalising in the second leg at Maine Road before class eventually told and Barnet were beaten 4-2 on aggregate.
When Freedman received the ball you could feel the lift in the home crowd and that expectation was normally fulfilled as he was not just a scorer of goals but a quite brilliant provider, extensively for centre forward Cooper who scored 15 goals during that season. Dougie was quite rightly voted Player of the Season by Supporters in what was a landslide poll.
Dougie and Mark Cooper

The rumours over the summer of 1995 were rife that Freedman was soon to be hooked by a big Fish! Supporters were realistic too as a club at our level should never stand in the way of a talent like Freedman and we should be grateful we had the briefest chance to witness his abilities. More so when he had given the club a massive much needed adrenaline boost and been a model professional towards the supporters.

He opened the new season on fire again scoring three times in seven appearances before Crystal Palace tabled an incredible £800,000 bid in September 1995. Signing off at home to Lincoln City with a brace of goals Freedman received a standing ovation at the end of the game the fans knowing full well that he was to become a resident of South East London.

Dougie spent three years at Selhurst Park before another £800,000 move to Wolverhampton Wanderers were he spent a season before moving to Nottingham Forest in another big money deal (£950,000). Returning to Palace in October 2000 Dougie spent a further eight seasons honing his reputation, while winning two Scottish Caps, ultimately becoming an icon with the Eagles fans. A short loan period with Leeds followed before he finished his playing career at Southend, retiring in 2010.

After a 10 month assistant Manager position at Selhurst Dougie was appointed Manager in January 2011 after the sacking of George Burley. In November of 2012 he took the reins at Bolton Wanderers – will it be Scotland next?

My personal feeling is that it was not only Dougie's extraordinary ability, or his attitude that accounted for his popularity but also the fans needed an injection of charisma, a tonic. Dougie's timing was right - fortunately for him, the Barnet's supporters and ultimately the club.
I had the pleasure of talking to Dougie at great length at the Gary Phillips Testimonial match in 1995 while he was waiting to appear in the he second half of the game. He was very keen to know about the past players that were on view taking an interest in my thoughts about the club I love and those of others who joined in the conversation. Diplomatic or genuine curiosity? I made my mind up at the time.
Reckless and Dougie 2007

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