Over 20 years of writing about my club in Barnet matchday programmes, which sold to about 500 souls on a good day, now with this Blog Site everyone can read my ramblings, memories, interviews, experiences, features, guides to away grounds and pure love of everything Barnet Football Club. Enjoy and digest and tell your friends.
Reckless - Potters Bar March 2014.
Oh Yes, thank you to"Al" without whom.......that is all
the spotlight is a Scot who made a massive impact at the club but in
a very short space of time.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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?
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.
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