Crystal Palace have appointed club legend Dougie Freedman as the club’s Sporting Director.
It will be the fourth different role the former Scotland international has had at Selhurst Park, having played for the club across two separate spells, before also being assistant manager and then manager.
Eagles chairman Steve Parish told the club’s official website that he had been wanting to hire a new Sporting Director for a while. The last person to undertake the role at the South London club was Iain Moody, who left in 2014 following the text scandal involving himself, Malkay Mackay and their former club, Cardiff City.
Freedman was manager at Palace until 2012, leaving for Bolton Wanderers in controversial circumstances and sparking a difficult relationship with Parish. He initially joined the club in 1995 and scored 108 goals in 368 appearances across two spells before leaving for Southend United in 2008.
Shrewd recruiter can help Palace
In his spell as manager, the Scot was credited for his ability to make a shrewd signing and develop youth. Wilfried Zaha made his Palace debut during Freedman’s reign and Yannick Bolasie, who was later sold for £22 million, was signed for a six-figure sum. Mile Jedinak, Jonathan Parr and Andre Moritz, who each went on to play crucial roles in Palace’s promotion in 2013, were signed on free transfers by Freedman.
It may be the eye for a bargain that Parish believes makes Freedman the perfect man to be Sporting Director. The pair seem to have patched up their rocky relationship and the Scot will work closely on all football matters with Head of Recruitment, Tim Coe, and first team manager, Frank de Boer.
De Boer told the club’s official website that he had “always worked” with a Sporting Director during his successful six years as manager at Ajax. The Dutchman continued, “I felt this was a position that the club needed and I am looking forward to working with Dougie in this transfer window and beyond.”
The Eagles have lost their opening two Premier League fixtures this season and a lack of transfer activity has worried fans. £8 million defender Jairo Riedewald is the club’s only permanent signing, joining loanees Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
Freedman previously worked with RB Leipzig winger Oliver Burke, who de Boer has admitted an interest in. Burke recently described Freedman as a “father figure” following their time together at Nottingham Forest and Freedman’s appointment could be vital in persuading the 20-year-old Scotland international to join.